published Monday, March 14th, 2011

Do we need a bigger IRS?

It’s odd how lots of government spending is suddenly defended as a “good investment of tax dollars” the moment anyone mentions cutting it.

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Doug Shulman says the federal treasury will lose billions of dollars if Republicans succeed in cutting $600 million from the IRS budget this year. That lost money will be the result of fewer audits, liens and property seizures, he said. There are even estimates by some that the IRS brings in $10 for every $1 spent on tax-enforcement programs.

If that sounds strangely familiar, you’re not imagining it. Doesn’t it seem that every time somebody wants to reduce spending, defenders of the spending in question assure us that it “pays for itself.” Yet here we are as a nation, more than $14 trillion in debt. Plainly, a lot of federal spending isn’t “paying for itself.”

Alarmingly, President Barack Obama proposes adding more than 5,000 new IRS workers — including 1,300 to implement ObamaCare socialized medicine. Yet the IRS already has nearly 100,000 workers!

We don’t doubt that more taxes will be seized from Americans — sometimes justly, sometimes not — if the IRS keeps growing as it already has under the Obama administration. But that money will be diverted out of the productive private sector to fund even more government.

Are a bigger IRS and bigger federal government what we really need?

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