It is a matter of simple, incontrovertible math. Every dollar of legally owed taxes that goes uncollected results in one of two things:
- Higher taxes for those who do pay, or;
- A higher federal deficit.
I thought conservatives opposed both those things, but apparently not.
Again, none of this is secret. IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has warned Congress repeatedly that such budget cuts would hamper tax collections and end up costing the government far more in unpaid taxes than it would save. He has been joined in those dire warnings by the bipartisan IRS Oversight Board and by the IRS Taxpayer Advocate, both of which were created by earlier Republican Congresses to take the side of citizens against the agency.
Yet even they can’t help but see who is really being harmed by such cutbacks.
“The budget environment of the last five years has brought about a devastating erosion of taxpayer service, harming taxpayers individually and collectively,” Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson concluded in her annual report. Such cutbacks, year after year, are “reshaping U.S. tax administration in ways that are not positive for future tax compliance or for public trust in the fairness of the tax system.”
But Congress doesn’t care. To the contrary, because it provides fuel to the adolescent cries of “Abolish the IRS!”, you get the strong sense that this is exactly the outcome that it hopes to create. This isn’t a mistake; this is a plan coming together.