What Congress is doing to IRS is the epitome of political dysfunction

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It’s April 15 — Tax Day — and if an American taxpayer calls the IRS today for answers to a question or help on a return, he or she can expect to become extremely frustrated. Wait times will be extraordinarily long, and more than half of the calls into the IRS help center won’t be answered at all.

In fact, if someone were set out to create a situation that is guaranteed to make the American public angry at the incompetent, arrogant, unresponsive government agency that is the IRS, this is how you would do it.

More precisely, this is how Republicans in Congress did do it.

Since 2010, they have slashed the IRS budget by 18 percent adjusted for inflation, even as the agency’s burdens have increased. Compared to a decade ago, it processes 11 percent more returns from individuals, 18 percent more business returns and handles 70 percent more telephone calls. Our illustrious elected representatives like to tell us that they are “punishing” the IRS with such cutbacks, as if the government agency were some living, breathing creature. But who exactly is being punished by such actions? Who will feel its brunt?

It’s pretty obvious: The taxpayer who wants a simple answer to a simple question. The honest citizen who pays his or her taxes, while others cheat knowing that the odds of being caught are shrinking even as the agency’s enforcement budget shrinks. That’s who is being damaged here.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has warned Congress repeatedly that such budget cuts would reduce tax collections and end up costing the government far more than it would save, and that they would cripple its customer-service efforts. He has been joined in those dire warnings by the bipartisan IRS Oversight Board and by the IRS Taxpayer Advocate, both creations of earlier Republican Congresses intended to take the side of citizens, not the agency. But 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,” according to Taxpayer Advocata Nina Olson. In addition, it is “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, you get the strong sense that this is exactly the outcome that it hopes to create.

 

 

Reader Comments 0

1399 comments
stogiefogey
stogiefogey

It runs way, way deeper than just being unable to answer telephone calls and help people with their tax questions. If you only knew how much money that's owed to the government the IRS is not collecting. I do. 

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

"You mean the quote where you changed what Hillary said?"


One more time... I copied what was posted. I did not change one word of it.  Is there some part of that you don't' get?



_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

Was that Morgan Freeman spotted driving the Mystery Machine?

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

Here's the quote we were discussing, Paul.  "“There’s something wrong,” she told Iowans on Tuesday, when “hedge fund managers pay lower taxes than nurses or the truckers I saw on I-80 when I was driving here over the last two days.”


I notice you added the word RATES to it to try to defend your lost cause, but you unfortunately can't go back and modify other people's posts.  You've been busted for lying now, so give up the charade and move on.  And don't forget, Hillary is counting on you being too stupid to know she has no plans to change the RATE paid on capital gains while she whines about the taxes hedge fund managers pay.  Good to see you won't disappoint her.

Paul42
Paul42

@fiftythreepercenter

Diverting again.

You misattributed and would not even state if hedge fund managers have a lower tax rate than nurses or doctors.  That's the issue.

Weeeeeeeak.

LeninTime
LeninTime

Wow, you people sure can go on and on about these irrelevant campaigns.

It's almost like someone brought up abortion.

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

Dems want a choice?

No! Dems want a sacrificial lamb (D) to lay at Hillary's feet.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

@FIGMO2 @Numbers_R_Us No, from what I have seen of the Republican candidates such as Rubio, the D is short for Dumbass.  Then again, that might be what you guys find so appealing about your candidates.

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

Now if she had run over a few hedge fund managers when she was driving the Mystery Machine over to Iowa, that would be news.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

So.  Any Republicans proposed their solution to those 47% that pay no federal income taxes yet.  How about eliminating the personal exemption.  That one hits every single tax filer equally, right Republicans.  How about it.

Kamchak
Kamchak

HASN'TDRIVENINYEARSGHAZI !

TBS
TBS

@Kamchak


Maybe Trey Gowdy can take up that issue and convene a hearing. 

Democrats better get Al Sharpton or Jessie ready as the next possible candidate because Hillary wont make it out of 2015 before she quits her run for the WH

straker
straker

53% - "would you prefer I call Hillary"


That is not what I asked, tool.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

 Hillary hasn't driven in years.

Paul, I was wrong, it looks like this is a scandal!

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@TBS @Visual_Cortex

They might've imagined voting for a woman Democrat, but one who hasn't taken the wheel since 1996? Never! Deal-killer.

TBS
TBS

@Visual_Cortex


As one blogger mentioned several weeks back, she is DONE. 

He keeps whining about her all day, every day he claimed she is done. 

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@TBS @Visual_Cortex Well, not as long as she has the support of Grubers, like you!

I may have underestimated the stupidity of the dems.

Paul42
Paul42

@Visual_Cortex

Congressman Issa's announced hearings and has called Hillary to testify.

TBS
TBS

@DownInAlbany @TBS @Visual_Cortex


Was it you that said it?

I could hear a guilty chihuahua yapping before any comments were posted but wasn't sure it was you..

Thanks for the acknowledgement

TBS
TBS

@Visual_Cortex @TBS


She is done man.

Emailghazi didn't do it but her lack of driving and the video clip of her announcement to run killed her chances

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@Visual_Cortex @DownInAlbany @TBS I suppose there are various definitions of "Gruber."  Mine refers to his statement that "...Obamacare would not have passed, but, for the stupidity of the American voters..." thereby reflecting on the Obama supporters.

It's blog chatter, not much more.

TBS
TBS

@DownInAlbany @TBS @Visual_Cortex


You were the one who claimed she was done yet keep yapping like a chihuahua about her all day, every day.  

I've stated she is beatable but you are welcome to keep spewing your daily stupidity.

Carry on

TBS
TBS

@Kamchak @TBS


Wonder if she had a dog on the roof when she claimed to be driving

Paul42
Paul42

Paul42:  "Is that an accurate statement or not?"

53%:  "
Are you really not smart enough to know the truth of that answer? "

(Avoiding answering with the insult diversion) followed by

"
Let me ask you this, Paul"  


(Avoiding answering by asking a question)

and "
Hillary is LYING to people she's counting on "

(Avoiding answering with a change of topic)

Really, really pathetic, 53%.

Maybe someday you'll actually think things through before reprinting stuff.

So.... are hedge fund managers taxed at a lower rate on earnings than nurses and truck drivers, or not?

Paul42
Paul42

y'know, when you diagram many of the responses to questions asked about earlier statements, the same patterns emerge.

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

@Paul42  "So.... are hedge fund managers taxed at a lower rate on earnings than nurses and truck drivers, or not?"


You and I both know that is NOT what Hillary said.  The RATE they pay was never mentioned on purpose.  And she has absolutely no plans to change the RATES they pay.  

Paul42
Paul42

@fiftythreepercenter

I guess it's understandable you got it wrong if you pulled from the usual right-wing sources.  When are you going to stop trusting sites that are so consistently wrong?


Clinton, who launched her 2016 White House bid on Sunday, held a roundtable discussion with a small group of students and educators and said she wants to "begin a conversation" with Americans on the road to the election.

"There is something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses or the truckers that I saw on I-80 as I was driving here over the last two days," Clinton said, perched on a stiff metal chair in the automotive shop of a community college.


http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/04/14/us-usa-election-clinton-idUSKBN0N52FI20150414

Paul42
Paul42

So tell us, 53%, just where are you pulling earned income numbers for hedge fund managers?  Their second job at McDonalds?  Because we all know their hedge fund manager earnings do not count as earned income, so any earned income is taxed separately.

Paul42
Paul42

"Would you prefer I call Hillary a lying witch for claiming hedge fund managers pay lower taxes than nurses or truckers when we both know they pay a significantly higher earned income tax rate "

You're dancing, 53%.

Is the rate on the majority of  hedge fund manager income higher or lower than the rate on the majority income for nurses and truck drivers?

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

@Paul42 Oh, now you want to talk about the RATES they pay, not that the hedge fund manager pays higher or lower taxes.  You know that game only works on morons, Paul, so you might leave that on the bench today.


I asked you this below.... Does Hillary's platform include a tax increase on capital gains to level above that of earned income? Yes or no?  If the answer is NO, which it is, Hillary is LYING to people she's counting on being too stupid to know the difference and If you don't get it, she's counting on YOU.

Paul42
Paul42

@fiftythreepercenter

"Oh, now you want to talk about the RATES they pay, not that the hedge fund manager pays higher or lower taxes."

Well, considering 'rates' is what Hillary said ""There is something wrong when hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates than nurses or the truckers" then, yeah.

Unless you weren't being truthful about what she said?

Paul42
Paul42

@fiftythreepercenter

"Would you prefer I call Hillary a lying witch for claiming hedge fund managers pay lower taxes"

Doesn't seem it's Hillary with the truthiness problem.

Does this fall under that 'thou shalt not bear false witness" thingie?