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  • Sympathy for the IRS

    Posted by David Foster on January 2nd, 2011 (All posts by )

    (well, just a little bit)

    Imagine being in a management position at the IRS. Your job is to implement and enforce the tax laws, as enacted by Congress.

    As anyone who has ever run anything knows, actions in the real world involve lead times. In the case of tax law changes: forms must be designed and printed, instructions for those forms must be written and distributed, and computer systems must be programmed and/or reprogrammed.

    Due to the irresponsible screwing around of our CongressClowns, tax-law changes were made late in the year, with inadequate provision for the lead-time requirements of the IRS. As a result, many taxpayers will see delays in their ability to file their returns and get expected refunds.

    The main issue here, of course, is the inconvenience and financial impact on taxpayers. But also, imagine how much (not) fun it must be to work at the IRS and have your professional life dependent on rulers who show no recognition or appreciation for the realities of your work.

    Now just think…as government becomes more and more controlling of all aspects of the American economy, the same kind of problem that afflicts the IRS and taxpayers today will increasingly afflict all industries, their customers, and their suppliers. In a limit case, with a highly socialized economy, you can imagine farmers being delayed in their planting decisions while Congress debates what the appropriate mix of crops should be…widespread hunger soon to follow.

    If Congress can’t even show a reasonable level of responsibility in managing the administrative aspects of a traditional government function such as taxation, why would anyone think they are able to intelligently micromanage a vast array of industries, many of which are extremely complicated?

    (Link via Instapundit)

    Related post: Be afraid

    Update: Thanks for the link from Instapundit, who says:

    Nobody in their right mind would trust these clowns to babysit their cat. Why on earth would we give them control of the economy?

     

    9 Responses to “Sympathy for the IRS”

    1. Lgbpop Says:

      Feel sympathy for the IRS? Trust me, they don’t care one way or the other. They will – pardon the expression – pass the buck if pressed for any explanation for such a delay. I do sympathize with the taxpayers who itemize, as I do; it takes long enough to wade through this Goldbergian process as it is, without having 8-10 weeks of prep time removed.

      I feel nothing but contempt for the Democrats, and it sure seems to be requited. Who else would have deliberately delayed performing their constitutionally-mandated role of writing the 2011 budget on time? They deliberately put it off until after the midterm elections, assuming they’d be re-elected after which point they could wreak havoc upon us. Then, after being told by the voters in no uncertain terms that their aegis was to end, they persisted in calling the lame-duck session to pass all manner of travesties while STILL ignoring their duty to write the 2011 budget? We got (I think) a continuing resolution.

      Guess who’ll be the first to complain about the shape of the 2011 budget, when the Republicans finally write the one the Democrats were SUPPOSED to write?

    2. Bruno Behrend Says:

      We have a 2 to 3 election cycle window to utterly destroy and rebuild the tax code.

      We need to get rid of all taxes on income and production, and start taxing consumption.

    3. Carl from Chicago Says:

      I try to post on our tax system but it just is too sad.

      The system as it currently exists makes it virtually impossible to plan and difficult to implement. I am shocked at the deductibility of capital expenditures this year; that is a “new” wrinkle in the code because the old 1031 deduction was for small businesses – this is for everyone.

      Don’t forget the maze of state tax regulations that need to go, and sales taxes are very complicated and a mess as well. And try to explain property taxes to most people.

    4. Anthony Parent Says:

      The income tax has always been a power grab…for those in power, to grab more. Revenues are entirely incidental.

      A constitutional system for taxing to raise revenue: 0% tax on personal income; 15% of income from limited liability entity (whether pass-through or not). But not enough opportunity for graft, eh?


      More on the true public policy of the IRS

    5. Firehand Says:

      If I didn’t have to see the examples of Geithner cheating on taxes, getting a pass and becoming head of the Treasurey, Rangel cheating on taxes and getting a really nice deal, and average taxpayers getting screwed to the wall for much less, it would be somewhat easier to have sympathy for the IRS.

    6. David Foster Says:

      In a comment (#20) at this post, an engineer with 40 years experience with nuclear and fossil-fuel power generation plants says the following:

      “America probably will fail, due to our energy hiatus. The only technologies that can sustain our economy, nuclear power plants, and fossil (hydrocarbon fueled )power plants, comprising over 2/3 of our electric generation, are de facto illegal. We may not use our centuries of coal supply, and we are choking on spent fuel. This is purposeful. Dominant politicians, ignorant of technology and commerce, are driving us to cost levels which will make their favorite green technologies competitive. However, our economy will bankrupt before we get there.”

      In my IRS post, I mentioned the unwillingness of Congress to deal with the realities of **lead times**. This is a particular issue with power generation and delivery. The construction of generation and transmission facilities cannot be done overnight. Once we have dug ourselves into a deep electricity hole, the process of digging out will not be doable overnight.

      We desperately need more people in Congress who have experience in fields other than law, government, and lobbying.

    7. bill Says:

      We desperately need more people in Congress who have experience in fields other than law, government, and lobbying.”

      Very true … and people that care about being public servants rather than using position for power and profit.

      Engineers tend to think in terms of making things work, politicians tend to think in terms of leveraging their position for gain. eg. Obama’s “you want border security, better give me amnesty” He fights Arizona, and doesn’t want to give in because it might cost him leverage in his fight for “open borders”.

      What ever happened to the openness to more nuke plants? Or why no drilling for natural gas? And why won’t California drill for oil off its coast before facing insolvency? Incompetence is only part of the problem, there seems to be a more devious somewhat hidden agenda.

    8. sol vason Says:

      In all of recorded history there is only one time period (about 400 years) in one isolated country where ordinary people were able to live their lives without day to day rule by some government authority. There is only one recorded instance when ordinary people made all their decisions themselves without any interference from a central government.

      There was local government but nothing higher. And if local government became obnoxious, people changed it or voted with their feet.

    9. tomw Says:

      I have no sympathy for the IRS complaining about their ‘lead time’ requirements.
      If they had made an image of their software as it existed, and put their proposed changes in proper software control systems, they could roll back to development at any point in time at their leisure. It is just paraded incompetency that they have ANY complaints about Congrefs’ delay and tomfoolery. The IRS should have been prepared for the vote to go either way.
      That said, Congrefs was unwilling to even pass a budget, so maybe we should be similarly unwilling to pay taxes.
      Use the W12 to declare a proper number of deductions. Cloward and Piven would approve, no?

      t