Question to Ricochet: Is this a brilliant idea or what?

In Southern California for the Pacific Research Institute’s annual Baroness Margaret Thatcher Orange County Dinner last night, I had lunch shortly after landing with a veteran of political communications in this state.

Over our meal, he began to go on in the manner all of us go on about the cluelessness of Republicans in Washington. “In the course of one month,” he said, “Bengazi, the IRS scandal, and the tapping of the Associated Press all broke — and the GOP couldn’t do a thing with it.” I just listened. I thought he was being a bit harsh, but we all need to get these frustrations out now and again.

Then he said something that made me sit up, take note and, now, write this post.

“The GOP,” he continued, “should come out for a flat tax and announce that, thanks to all the administrative savings from so vastly simplifying the tax code, we’ll lay off half the IRS. Get rid of all those agents they hired for Obamacare and many more. Americans hate the IRS. The complexity of the tax code is a big reason for the agency’s corruption. And you get a tax code that is friendly to economic growth to boot. Tie the two issues — stagnation and corruption — together.”

“What a brilliant reframing of the discussion,” I thought. “And where better to test it out than Ricochet.”

So here is my question: What do you think?

  1. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    It’s good. They Republicans should lead with cutting the IRS.

  2. paulebe

    Brilliant, indeed!

    It would require incredible message discipline as I fear the McCain/Graham consortium would quail at the very idea of something so common-sense.   It would be delicious to watch the protectors of the “little guy” defend the monstrosity that is the IRS.  It would be something akin to defending the KGB, wouldn’t it? 
  3. flownover

    This is an old idea, but mostly promoted by Steve Forbes and others from the wings of the party, never center stage.

    Why only half the IRS ? Do we have any idea what the present staffing levels have climbed to, remember a number of 16,000 new agents to deal with Obamascare ? 

    Let’s eliminate the corporate tax at the same time.

    Humm… Ricochet sounds like Ted Cruz the other day .

  4. Hartmann von Aue

    As someone wrote here in different context “You had me at ‘abolish the IRS’”. 

  5. Severely Ltd.
    paulebe: Brilliant, indeed!

    It would require incredible message discipline as I fear the McCain/Graham consortium would quail at the very idea of something so common-sense.   It would be delicious to watch the protectors of the “little guy” defend the monstrosity that is the IRS.  It would be something akin to defending the KGB, wouldn’t it?

    Yes, a wonderful selling point that not even the RNC could screw up.

  6. Frozen Chosen

    I like it!

  7. Susan in Seattle

    Sounds good to me.

  8. Robert Ham

    In addition to a flat tax (or other, tax simplification), they should advocate to drop the Corporate tax to something more competitive with the rest of the world (down from our current 35% to 20%).   More jobs would stay in the US.   The calculus of where to manufacture would be more of a case of logistics, and customer-proximity.

  9. Paul Erickson

    Nice campaign idea, but remember there is no magic wand to make this happen.  We will be fighting the powers and principalities.  Figure on about 10 years to reach the goal of a flat tax.  

  10. Kay of MT

    I think it is a great idea.

  11. Pencilvania
    I like it too – who would oppose it? Federal employee unions.  Deep pockets, do you think? 
  12. Western Chauvinist
    Pencilvania: I like it too – who would oppose it? Federal employee unions.  Deep pockets, do you think?  · in 7 minutes

    Hugh Hewitt. He’s insistent that we must keep the home mortgage deduction.

    Timidity will keep us from even leaving the starting gate. Progressives have no such qualms. They’ve flipped the whole culture in about 10 years on such foundational institutions as marriage.

    There’s neither enough political courage in DC, nor enough common sense to get this done.

    Gah! Sorry, I’m so grouchy.

  13. Pelayo

    Do it.  No one likes the IRS.

  14. The Mugwump

    Simplifying the tax code is not enough.  When I worked for the IRS just out of college, the tax code was the size of three telephone books.  I understand the regulations have more than quadrupled since then.  Everyone of those new regulations was bought and paid for by special interests (as were the politicians who sponsored them).  Even if you could simplify, which I rather doubt given the influence of lobbyists, our representatives would return to business as usual even before the legislation had a chance to do its job.  The answer is a flat tax:  10% of everything right off the top, and a willingness by Congress to live within our means.      

  15. RufusRJones

    Reportedly, 25% of the income tax is compliance and collection. Getting rid of it would be one of the best things for getting GDP up at this point. There are ways to progressive-ize a retail consumption tax. 

  16. RufusRJones
    Western Chauvinist

    Pencilvania: I like it too – who would oppose it? Federal employee unions.  Deep pockets, do you think?  · in 7 minutes

    Hugh Hewitt. He’s insistent that wemustkeep the home mortgage deduction.

    · 28 minutes ago

    JMO, the inflated cost of housing due to government policies like this is killing the economy. It would be hell on the banking system and a lot of people’s wealth to get rid of them though. 

    We are in a very, very bad spot right now. 

  17. Ramblin

    Righteous, simple, and clear.

  18. Don Tillman
    Clark Judge:

    “The GOP,” he continued, “should come out for a flat tax and announce that, thanks to all the administrative savings from so vastly simplifying the tax code, we’ll lay off half the IRS…”

    Not half; remove 90% of the IRS.

    Sure.  Simplify the tax code from 80,000 pages down to 15.  

    Cast the IRS as evil.

    Point out that a flat tax is patriotic while the progressive income tax was introduced in a big way as the second of Karl Marx’s Ten Planks of Communism in The Communist Manifesto.

    A simplified tax code will also remove a lot of bribery from the system.  

  19. RufusRJones
    Nick Stuart: The GOP lacks the moral courage to do it. · in 6 minutes

    A big part of the problem is, Democrat / statist policies are almost always easier to explain or “sound” better. 

    People think that the cure for the problems caused by statism is more or better statism. This is false, but good luck explaining it. 

  20. Richard Finlay
    The Mugwump: Simplifying the tax code is not enough.  When I worked for the IRS just out of college, the tax code was the size of three telephone books.  I understand the regulations have more than quadrupled since then.  Everyone of those new regulations was bought and paid for by special interests (as were the politicians who sponsored them).  Even if you could simplify, which I rather doubt given the influence of lobbyists, our representatives would return to business as usual even before the legislation had a chance to do its job.  The answer is a flat tax:  10% of everything right off the top, and a willingness by Congress to live within our means.       · 24 minutes ago

    Aye, there’s the rub.

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