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?  

There are 105 comments.

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  1. Profile Photo Contributor
    @PaulARahe

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

    • #1
  2. Profile Photo Inactive
    @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? 
    • #2
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    @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 .

    • #3
  4. Profile Photo Member
    @HartmannvonAue

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

    • #4
  5. Profile Photo Inactive
    @SeverelyLtd
    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.

    • #5
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    @FrozenChosen

    I like it!

    • #6
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    @SusaninSeattle

    Sounds good to me.

    • #7
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    @RobertHam

    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.

    • #8
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    @PaulErickson

    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.  

    • #9
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    @KayofMT

    I think it is a great idea.

    • #10
  11. Profile Photo Inactive
    @Pencilvania
    I like it too – who would oppose it?Federal employee unions.  Deep pockets, do you think? 
    • #11
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    @WesternChauvinist
    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.

    • #12
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    @Pelayo

    Do it.  No one likes the IRS.

    • #13
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    @TheMugwump

    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.      

    • #14
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    @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. 

    • #15
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    @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. 

    • #16
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    @RamblinLex

    Righteous, simple, and clear.

    • #17
  18. Profile Photo Member
    @DonTillman
    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.  

    • #18
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    @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. 

    • #19
  20. Profile Photo Inactive
    @RichardFinlay
    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.

    • #20
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    @NickStuart

    The GOP lacks the moral courage to do it.

    • #21
  22. Profile Photo Member
    @RufusRJones
    Richard Finlay

    The Mugwump: a willingness by Congress to live within our means.       · 24 minutes ago

    Aye, there’s the rub. · in 1 minute

    This can’t be done with their will or good judgment. The Fed has to stop goosing the economy. Hard money policies. Very hard. 

    Fed easy money either creates the illusion of a good economy and a full treasury so they can spend, or genuine suffering that the state is asked to “help.” 

    This has been going on for a 100 years in aggregate. The Fed needs to be run WAY differently, or they should just get rid of it. Ron Paul is way more right than he is wrong. 

    • #22
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    @user_646399
    Severely Ltd.

    paulebe: Brilliant, indeed!

    Yes, a wonderful selling point that not even the RNC could screw up. · 1 hour ago

    You overestimate the competence of the RNC. In their defense, however, no matter how rational and clearly-presented the proposal, the MSM will do its part to sabotage anything which might go in favor of Republicans. One small example: remember the hype surrounding the Bush “jobless recovery” at 4.5% unemployment vs. the constant “improving growth & employment” for the past five years under The One.

    • #23
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    @JohnnyHammerstock

    Throw in taking down all of the cameras at intersections and it could work.

    • #24
  25. Profile Photo Member
    @RufusRJones

    This is a great, short, integrated discussion of what is happening. Must read. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-03-02/guest-post-why-keynesian-political-economy-theft

    Romney / Ryan was the last chance to undo all of this crap safely. 

    • #25
  26. Profile Photo Member
    @AUMom

    I could go with abolishing the IRS and having a flat tax. Sounds like a plan.

    • #26
  27. Profile Photo Inactive
    @HVTs
    The Mugwump: Simplifying the tax code is not enough.  …

    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. 

    This is the dirty little secret that everyone knows but won’t talk about: complex taxation serves the Incumbency Party, both its Democrat and its Republican Wings.  It is the means by which incumbents legally extort campaign contributions . . . a slight word change in the fifth codicil under the second sub-heading to the 39th paragraph of Rule #4,289,061 and suddenly a donor has million$ from which to slosh contributions toward Senator X or Congressman Y.  So, the most self-interested people on the planet would have to agree to reform away a major source of their power. Good luck with that!

    We need additional, fundamental reforms in conjunction with tax simplification . . . like term limits.

    • #27
  28. Profile Photo Inactive
    @SeverelyLtd
    civil westman

    Severely Ltd.

    paulebe: Brilliant, indeed!

    Yes, a wonderful selling point that not even the RNC could screw up. · 1 hour ago

    You overestimate the competence of the RNC. In their defense, however, no matter how rational and clearly-presented the proposal, the MSM will do its part to sabotage anything which might go in favor of Republicans. One small example: remember the hype surrounding the Bush “jobless recovery” at 4.5% unemployment vs. the constant “improving growth & employment” for the past five years under The One. · 9 minutes ago

    I was overcome by an irrational wave of optimism. Don’t worry, it passed, I’m better now.

    • #28
  29. Profile Photo Inactive
    @EPG
    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.

    Love Hugh’s show, but he is so in the pocket with the real estate and building industries on this one. 

    Flat means flat means flat.  And if that means that we have to give up features of the Code that we happen to like, so be it.

     

     

    • #29
  30. Profile Photo Member
    @RufusRJones
    EPG

    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.

    Love Hugh’s show, but he is so in the pocket with the real estate and building industries on this one. 

    Flat means flat means flat.  And if that means that we have to give up features of the Code that we happen to like, so be it.

     

      · 3 minutes ago

    I think the problem is, it really would destroy a lot of wealth even though it would be the right and fair thing to do.  Our housing policy screws the poor and creates huge misallocation of capital. It’s mostly a bad thing, but hard to undo. 

    • #30

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