Ever since Biblical times, very few people have openly liked the tax collector. The same can be said by the modern right’s aversion to the Internal Revenue Service, otherwise known as the IRS. Unfortunately, this dislike has been sanctioned by the Republican National Committee and by Ted Cruz, before he ended his presidential ambitions last week. Of course, the chances of the Republicans abolishing the IRS is just as likely as Ted Cruz voting for Hillary Clinton.
In a way, conservative sentiment against the IRS is justified, as the agency has unfairly targeted Tea Party groups, as we discovered in 2013. The conservatives, understandably, were angered by their discrimination by a government agency. But in their anger, they cut the IRS budget, leaving the agency unable to provide assistance to taxpayers, as many undoubtedly felt last April. Now, the GOP is condemning the IRS for the way they handle illegal immigrants’ tax returns due to concerns of fraud. Right now, congressional Republicans haven’t done much besides publicly decrying the organization but many grassroots Republicans, as Ted Cruz has shown, have a strong opinion against the IRS that is not going away anytime soon.
No one believes that the IRS is a model of good governance. The agency, quite frankly, operates with outdated equipment manned by aging bureaucrats unable to keep up with changes in the tax code. Yet our party’s solutions are merely exacerbating the situation, as the IRS is necessary for the government to obtain revenue. If it weren’t for the IRS, the US government wouldn’t be able to effectively collect taxes in order to pay for the public goods Americans enjoy. Instead of calling to abolish the IRS, the government should restructure and modernize the department, which in the long term would be a solid public investment. One can only hope that the GOP can provide that restructuring, but for the moment, the party prefers to pander to those unwilling to consider better options.