Five biggest reasons to hate the IRS tax code
The mammoth amount of taxes paid is followed by the unnecessary complexity of tax forms
President Donald Trump has proposed what he calls “the biggest tax cut since Ronald Reagan.” He also wants vast simplification so that Americans can fill out their taxes on a postcard return. Let’s hope that part of this reform package will be to defang the IRS, which treats Americans as if they are guilty until proven innocent and invades the basic privacy rights of citizens.
Meanwhile Mr. Trump’s critics on the left seems to think the tax code is just fine the way it is — although some, like socialist hero Bernie Sanders, want tax rates to go much higher.
So as a primer for why Americans deserve genuine tax relief and reform, here are five reminders of how badly our tax system is broken:
This year businesses and families will pay an all-time record high $6,000,000,000,000 in federal, state and local taxes. That’s more than the GDP of all but a handful of countries. For millions of Americans, taxes are now the single largest expenditure item in the family budget.
All of this revenue flows into the government’s coffers through an endless pipeline of extractions: income taxes, payroll taxes, import taxes, gasoline taxes, cigarette taxes, state income and sales taxes, property taxes, food taxes, beer taxes, soda pop taxes, sewer taxes, water taxes, investment taxes, hotel taxes, stock taxes, energy taxes, health care taxes, prescription drug taxes, airline ticket taxes and more. Then after all of that, when you are laid in a casket, you pay a tax for the privilege of dying.
America is supposed to be the land of the free and a paragon of free markets and free enterprise. Yet today the U.S. 40 percent tax rate is the highest in the world. Yes, higher than socialist Sweden. Higher than former communist countries like Russia 11 and China. Our combined federal and state tax rates are almost twice the rate of the countries we compete with. It’s almost as if the system were designed by the countries that we compete with so they could steal our jobs, factories and businesses.
These high tax rates put American companies at a 20 percentage point disadvantage in global markets. Mr. Trump is right when he says the rest of the world is laughing behind our backs.
The first income tax was just four pages long (see chart). Today the code is 10 times longer than Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” and 1,000 times doesn’t like. Today because of the complexity of the tax system, the IRS employs 82,000 snoopers. It now costs our federal government $12 billion a year just to administer this Byzantine tax system. It costs families and businesses at least this amount just to figure out how much taxes they owe.
1. $6 trillion of taxes paid … and counting
2. We punish our businesses with the highest tax rates in the world 3) An 82,000 page monstrosity 5) Tax loopholes are rigged for the rich and politically powerful