IRS commissioner John Koskinen said after a speech at the National Press Club that a Republican proposal to abolish the agency will not happen because the government needs a tax collector.
“You can call them something other than the IRS if that made you feel better,” he said on Tuesday following calls by Texas Senator Ted Cruz and other Republicans to eliminate the taxation agency.
In January 58% of House Republicans supported legislation to abolish the IRS and replace it with a personal consumption tax.
“The FairTax would repeal all federal corporate and individual income taxes, payroll taxes, self-employment taxes, capital gains taxes, the death tax, and gift taxes – and replace them with a revenue-neutral personal consumption tax. Overnight, the FairTax would allow individuals to keep 100 percent of their income without the government first taking a penny,” said Rep. Rob Woodall (R-Ga.), who introduced the FairTax Act.
Other Republicans are floating taxation reform. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Senator Mike Lee of Utah are pushing the Economic Growth and Family Fairness Tax Reform Plan.
Sen. Ted Cruz has suggested radically simplifying the tax process. “Instead of a tax code that crushes innovation, that imposes burdens on families struggling to make ends meet, imagine a simple flat tax that lets every American fill out his or her taxes on a postcard,” Cruz said in March during the rollout of his 2016 presidential bid.
Eliminating the IRS and simplifying taxation will likely be a hard sell for Republicans during the election.
According to a poll conducted by Pew Research Center in March, most Americans are not opposed to the federal government levying taxes on their income. 64% want the government to raises taxes on corporations and 61% say the feds should confiscate more money from the wealthy.
“Frustration with the feeling that some corporations and wealthy people do not pay their fair share of taxes is shared widely across demographic and partisan groups,” Pew notes.
“Overall, about half of the public (53%) say they are paying the right amount in taxes considering what they get from the federal government. Four-in-ten (40%) say they are paying more than their fair share while just 4% say they pay less than their fair share.”
According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 52 percent of U.S. households currently receive benefits from the government.
Most of the households receiving benefits are retirees. Nearly 30% of American households received assistance from a means-tested poverty program. The numbers have risen sharply since the financial crisis.
Due to the widespread belief by Americans that wealth confiscation is necessary and the perception corporations and the wealthy are not “paying their fair share,” the GOP proposal to eliminate the IRS or even substantially reform it will not play well during the coming election.
“The bottom line is that members of Congress need such a ruthless tax collection agency as the IRS because of the charge we Americans have given them,” writes Walter E. Williams. “We want what the IRS does – namely, to take the earnings of one American so Congress can create a benefit for some other American. Don’t get angry with IRS agents. They are just following orders.”