IRS

No Fat to Cut at the IRS? So Take a Chainsaw to the Rest of the Beast.

The IRS is never more dangerous than when it's answering the phone.

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Capitol
Logan's Run

Just before Christmas, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen called a press conference to complain that Congress just isn't giving tax collectors enough money to extract revenues from the American people. "We're well beyond cutting out any fat. And we're now into cutting, as people say, muscle headed toward bone."

Of course, Koskinen framed it in terms of customer service, and friendly media outlets immediately parroted the message that a $346 million cut, bringing the IRS budget down to $10.9 billion, inevitably means longer wait times on the phone for distraught taxpayers seeking answers for their pressing tax questions.

This is an all-hands-on-deck spin on IRS cuts, with National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson (who is theoretically on the victims' side, despite her government paycheck) recruited to caution that the IRS is "chronically underfunded" with unfortunate implications for taxpayer service and assistance.

Then again, that might not be so horrible an outcome, given that IRS assistance involved giving taxpayers bad advice 22 percent of the time back in 1987, 41 percent of the time in 1989, 22 percent of the time in 2002, and 43 percent of the time in 2003. And no matter the advice dispensed by the tax collectors themselves, taxpayers are on the hook for getting it right.

OMB

These days, the IRS focuses more on how few calls it has the resources to answer rather than the dangerous possibility that one of its employees might actually pick up the phone and speak into it. Still, maybe a few cuts to taxpayer service and assistance aren't such a tragedy if that thins the ranks able to mangle the response to an occasional query.

But it's not just the call center taking a hit. Koskinen warns that a leaner IRS will collect less revenue.

Well, cry me a river. While I have a dream that someday wind will blow through the broken windows of the Capitol Building and chase trash around the abandoned hallways, this minor budget trim is unlikely to do the job. Federal government receipts are currently at 17.3 percent of GDP (XLS), expected to rise to 18.3 percent next year, and 19 percent in 2018. The beast, it ain't starving—to the contrary, it's fattening up on us. A bit of a diet won't hurt.

Given the alternatives, a few cuts to an IRS that may be at its least dangerous when it's illegitimately targeting political groups isn't all that frightening a prospect.

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  1. If the IRS feels overwhelmed, there is another way to fix that besides giving it more money; reduce its enforcement burden by simplifying the tax code. If we had fewer and simpler tax laws, the IRS wouldn’t have to work so hard to enforce them.

    So have some pity on the poor underfunded bureaucrats at the IRS. If you are going to cut their budget, cut their responsibilities to go along with it. What is not to love?

    1. Yes. Make the tax system so simple that we don’t need them. Then they will have the opportunity to pursue more rewarding work elsewhere.

      1. You would still need some of them. There is always going to be a need to enforce whatever tax laws you have. But you would need a hell of a lot fewer of them.

        1. Hell, simplify the law, tell them “no more prosecuting people for following advice given to them by your agency, and anybody who has nothing to do gets to go home on full pay and benefits until retirement, we just don’t replace him”

          We’d still save a bundle.

          1. No, let them go find jobs when they are laid off… just like the rest of us do. I see no reason to provide a lifetime paid vacation to people who happened to get lucky enough to stumble into a federal bureaucrat job.

  2. I can’t imagine having to call the IRS for tax questions. I wonder what percentage of agents could even talk me through the cost basis calculations on my 1099s.

    1. Unless you run a large business or are trying to do something on the margins, taxes are not that hard. The IRS makes a manual for every subject and they are not that hard to read or interpret.

      Unless you are the victim of fraud, ie someone fling taxes in your name or your accountant robbing you instead of paying your taxes, there is really no excuse to get cross ways with the IRS. People have tax problems usually because they were lazy and didn’t keep the right records or really were doing something that was illegal and that they should have known was. People will do things like put their personal car in their business’s name and try to write off the cost and depreciation of it as a business expense or us it for both and not keep any records showing how much of it was personal and how much was business. Well, you can’t do that and it is obvious why and I have no sympathy for someone who does and ends up getting hammered in an audit.

      1. It’s the cost of compliance and the extra overhead that is the issue.

        I file sales tax, payroll tax, corporate tax, fuel tax, rental tax, property tax, machinery tax, business licenses, etc…

        1. I didn’t say it didn’t suck, I just said it wasn’t hard. And most businesses that get into tax trouble are business that are either failing or barely making it. They run out of money and try to skimp on the compliance costs to try and stay in business.

          The compliance costs kill businesses that are at the margin. That sucks of course but that is how it works.

          1. It’s a barrier to entrepreneurship and job creation. You had it backwards in your original post. Large businesses are able to shoulder the cost of compliance quite well. It’s a minor nightmare for new businesses.

            Additionally, the tax laws are structured to incentivize debt. If you attempt to build your business out of your cash flow, you can get hammered. Section 179 extensions notwithstanding.

            1. Absolutely. And it is not just that. They system is set up to encourage borrowing to purchase capital equipment rather than just renting it. If you borrow the money and buy it, you get to deduct the depreciation as well as the interest costs. It allows you to take the amount of the depreciation and turn it from taxable income into a deferred capital gain that you only have to pay if you ever sell the equipment. If you lease it, you can only deduct the cost of the lease, no fun and games with depreciation.

              We just need to get rid of business taxes altogether. Tax the income people take out of their businesses not the business itself. If I own a business, I pay personal income taxes on every ounce of value I take home from that business. Instead of keeping records about my business, I keep records about my personal expenses to show what money and value I paid myself out of the business. And with corporations, it would be even easier. You just tax dividends and other payoffs to investors. This would reduce the compliance costs and get rid of all of the distortions created by the business tax code.

              1. We just need to get rid of business taxes altogether. Tax the income people take out of their businesses not the business itself.

                I splooged myself just thinking about that possibility.

              2. John, as I’ve been saying for years, most of the complaints folks have about the US tax system and our ‘lovable IRS’ are the RESULTS of laws enacted TO create the distortions!

                BTW, notice how, in the chart, the ‘predicted’ percentage SUDDENLY goes up a few percent in the future? Any engineer worth a crap and a half looks at that and wonders what stupid assumptions are behind that ‘forecast’ (and pretty much is ready to bet that the forecasts will be off by a lot…)

          2. regulation always screw businesses that are ‘at the margin’.

            The response should be a careful look at the necessity of the regulation and not just shrug and say ‘that is how it works’.

            Coyote blog has a (somewhere on it) a good series of posts on the ridiculous stuff states require for ‘compliance’.

            Everything from pre-computing your taxes and pre-paying (quarterly! And don’t think about underestimating your tax liability – that has a whole separate series of penalties) to egg-selling licenses.

            1. This is why big businesses love regulation and big government. They can deal with the compliance costs and can pay off the Congress to get an exception if they can’t. All regulation does is insulate them from small competitors.

        2. What would be the cost of compliance on a National Sales Tax of 5% on all transactions, with an accompanying repeal of the 16th-A?

      2. The IRS makes a manual for every subject and they are not that hard to read or interpret.

        You have got to be kidding me.

        Here’s the manual for travel, entertainment, gift and car expenses.

        http://www.irs.gov/publications/p463/index.html

        1. I have read them. And I don’t find them difficult. I ran an entire tax center and did hundreds of people’s taxes back in the day, some of whom ran home businesses and had fairly complex returns. It is not that hard. It only becomes hard if you are trying to torture the regs to do something that is illegal. What the fuck is so hard about a “bone fide business expense”? That is only hard to understand if you are trying to figure out a way to write off your table dances and trips to the Cheetah club’s VIP lounge as a business expense. Otherwise, it just takes common sense and good records.

          1. Of course – ‘moral’ regulators have decided that alcohol and table dances can’t possibly be legitimate business expenses, limiting the scope of potential business models.

          2. John, you (and I) are professional bureaucrats. I wouldn’t underestimate how foreign this crap is for most people.

            The sheer length of that manual, and the fact that it is riddled with cross-references, is an indictment all on its own. Plus, its not exactly packed with EZ black-letter rules. Consider this:

            Lavish or extravagant expenses. You cannot deduct expenses for entertainment that are lavish or extravagant. An expense is not considered lavish or extravagant if it is reasonable considering the facts and circumstances. Expenses will not be disallowed just because they are more than a fixed dollar amount or take place at deluxe restaurants, hotels, nightclubs, or resorts.

            Yeah, now I know how to stay out of trouble on my taxes.

            1. That is not a problem of the rules being difficult. That is a problem of the rules being like all rules and allowing the government to fuck with people they don’t like.

              It is not hard to tell if a particular expense is “lavish” and to make a reasonable determination that will pass muster. It only gets hard if the IRS has for whatever reason decided to fuck with you and the examiner has decided to be unreasonable.

              That is a real problem. But it is a problem that would exist even if the tax code were simpler. It is a problem inherent to any bureaucratic scheme.

              1. It is not hard to tell if a particular expense is “lavish” and to make a reasonable determination that will pass muster.

                Really, John, read that sentence again and tell me exactly how you, the taxpayer, can prevail against an examiner who disagrees with you on this issue.

                Now that you don’t know what will be acceptable, how do you fill out your taxes?

                I’m not arguing that any rule can’t be abused. I’m just not agreeing with your assertion that, with access to IRS manuals, no one should ever have any problem filling out their taxes because “the manuals are not that hard to read or interpret”.

            2. John, you (and I) are professional bureaucrats. I wouldn’t underestimate how foreign this crap is for most people.

              ^This. The ability to fully comprehend bureaucratese has nothing to do with “intelligence” or “common sense”.

              1. Yes, it’s all about speaking the special language and being able to cut through the reams of boiler-plate to find the appropriate things that apply to your specific situation.

                The tax regs are written to fuck with the layman.

                1. Yes, it’s all about speaking the special language

                  How much will it take to satisfy your boss? Let me know and I’ll cut a check right now.

              2. Furthermore, that “lavish” expense would need to be different in cost (wildly different) depending on where you are in the country. So there IS no standard for “lavish” other than a regular tax professional knowing what others routinely get by with. This standard is impossible to fathom for a individual doing his own taxes.

            3. John, you (and I) are professional bureaucrats. I wouldn’t underestimate how foreign this crap is for most people.

              That’s right.

              I dare say that I’m no idiot, but every time I file taxes, something comes up where I have no idea what the right answer is, I can’t interpret the bureaucratese, and I can’t find online help. (Typically something to do with cost basis, foreign tax credits, or carryovers.) And I use TurboTax. So I make what looks like a conservative decision, and go on living my life.

              I ran an entire tax center and did hundreds of people’s taxes back in the day, some of whom ran home businesses and had fairly complex returns. It is not that hard.

              John, the fact that you had a job doing this at all is evidence that it IS that hard. If it were so easy, why were people paying you to do it for them?

              1. If it were so easy, why were people paying you to do it for them?

                Because they were convinced it was harder than it really is.

              2. One of the main reasons that people hire a good tax preparer is to get their expertise on what level of deductions will get you an audit (or further scrutiny).

                My mother who owned her own tax preparation business could tell you how much you should declare and what deductions were so iffy that they always got you audited.

                That was half of why people hired her. The other half was to have a professional deal with the IRS auditors. Just like you should never talk to the cops without a lawyer, you should never talk to the IRS. Have a professional do it for you.

          3. It only becomes hard if you are trying to torture the regs to do something that is illegal.

            I tell my tax attorney to torture, stretch, fold, and mutilate the regs to get my tax bill as low as possible, nothing illegal about it. I’ll take my chances with an audit.

            1. Bingo. There’s black, white, and grey. Give them the black, I’ll take all of the white and grey. We’ll argue about it later.

        2. My mom ran her own home tax preparation business for years.

          I can’t remember the specifics, but she told me that there was some expense that independent owner/operators (of trucks) could take or not take depending on which section of the regulations you read.

          According to her, she always told her clients that yes in theory you could take that deduction and there is something in the manual to back you up, but there is also something in the manual that says the exact opposite. And because she knew most of the local auditors, she knew they went with the “not allowed” reading.

          The problem (according to her) is that the tax codes get so mangled as the pols add exception after exception that there is no way one person can know the right answer and in many cases there is no right answer because when they added an exception in one area they forgot to clean up some other part of the manual.

          1. There is always that. But if you have something in the manual that backs you up, you are not going to get fucked if the IRS disagrees. Worst case, you just have your taxes adjusted without the deduction. People make mistakes on their taxes all of the time and the IRS just adjusts it without imposing interest let alone penalties. You only get into penalties and interest when you do things that appear to be fraud or you don’t file or pay on time.

            1. But if you have something in the manual that backs you up, you are not going to get fucked if the IRS disagrees.

              The process alone is punishment. The phrases “the IRS disagrees” and “you are fucked” are synonymous.

            2. You only get into penalties and interest when you do things that appear to be fraud or you don’t file or pay on time.

              This sentence leads me to believe that you’ve never done a tax return or represented a business undergoing an audit.

              1. Exactamundo! There will be both penalty and interest.

                John however, would get around this saying that if your simple addition error or wrongful decision on taxes causes you to underpay, that qualifies as his exclusion of “not paying on time” for that amount at least.

                Fraud or not paying on time can be stretched to cover 100% of errors, unless you are somehow audited before they send you a refund check and you have overpaid your taxes enough to cover that error. Quite a rare occurrence I assure you.

      3. Agreed that it is simple for most people. Once you actually are able to start saving and making money, though, the interaction between the income, gift and estate taxes are pretty complicated. And if you have any volume of after-tax trading in a year, then cap gains gets pretty complicated pretty quickly too.

        1. Even that is not hard, it just has a tremendous effect on behaviors and causes people to do things that otherwise make no economic sense. Cap gains and inheritance taxes distort the economy much more than people realize. All they are is a transaction tax. They change economic calculation of a given transaction.

          One of the reasons why trade is so beneficial is that it puts capital assets in the hands of those who will most productively use it. Cap gains and inheritance taxes prevent that from happening. There are tons of productive resources that could be in the hands of people who value them more and will use them more productively but are not because the tax on gains and inheritance cause the owners to keep the assets when otherwise they would sell.

          1. You’re right: it isn’t unduly hard to figure out how much you are supposed to pay, the trick is figuring out how to minimize that amount, and if it’s worth the effort to do so.

            1. Inheritance taxes drive me nuts. They do nothing but fuck the upper middle class and business class that has managed to make something for themselves. They have no effect on the super rich. If you have real money, like in the tens to hundreds of millions of dollars, you never pay a dime of inheritance taxes. You take your millions and put them in a trust for the benefit of junior that he is allowed to borrow against. Since the money belongs to the trust, not junior, you pay no taxes. Meanwhile, junior goes out and borrows whatever money he needs at prime rate using the trust as collateral. Since its borrowed money, junior pays no income taxes. When junior finally finally ODs himself at the brothel in Thailand, the trust pays junior’s debts and the remaining millions go tax free to junior junior’s trust fund and the process starts all over again. And since the trust is being invested and earning interest, the small interest costs on junior’s borrowing are not a problem.

      4. I live in one state and work in another. There is no manual for that, or what information I could find was grossly insufficient; the first time I did it I saw that the W2 forms made no sense so I just made some guesses and crossed my fingers. The online service I file through handles it now but cautions that NJ still fucks it up if you don’t do so-and-so manually.

        So… no it is not “easy” and my situation is nothing compared to some of the other things mentioned here.

        1. It’s pretty easy if you have the right paperwork. What’s fun is when the large and faceless HR bureaucracy of your employer screws up your W2 and you end up owing the state of New York a whole year’s worth of taxes when you only worked there for a third of it.

        2. Oh, the manual for that is pretty small.

          It basically says – pay full taxes in both jurisdictions and comply, fully, with the tax regulations of both.

          One of the key things to understanding government is that it is about *control* and that control can’t be exist without knowledge of what’s going on.

          Since the normal way of doing things is to let a million flowers bloom and see what survives, well you can’t understand that system well enough to ‘control’ it.

          So governments force everything into nice little pigeon-holes – force them into the pigeon-holes even to the point of destroying economies – so they can maintain that control.

          1. pay full taxes in both jurisdictions

            Heh I’m not THAT stupid.

            1. My wife used to work in a different state than she lived, and she had to pay income taxes to both states. Massachusetts sucks like that. If you work there but don’t live there, they get you anyway.

      5. Unless you run a large business or are trying to do something on the margins, taxes are not that hard.

        And once your business gets large enough you are perpetually engaged in audits. My guess is that’s where most of the IRS’s enforcement dollars are spent.

        1. And once your business gets large enough you are perpetually engaged in audits. My guess is that’s where most of the IRS’s enforcement dollars are spent.

          My guess is most of the IRS’s enforcement dollars are spent at brothels and strip clubs and on other things they would never get away with if they were a legitimate business.

      6. Unless you run a large business or are trying to do something on the margins, taxes are not that hard. The IRS makes a manual for every subject and they are not that hard to read or interpret.

        As a fairly literate math major, let me call complete and total bullshit here. I have been confused and stuck in loops trying to do the 1040EZ myself. The only thing I took away from the “manual” was that I could become even more confused and stuck.

        I eventually just settled for the interpretation that made the most sense to me and hoped that what little income I had at the time would keep me below suspicion. Cue a love letter from the IRS 2 years later about a failure to pay $200 in taxes.

        Now that I am in 1040A territory, I just pay TurboTax to do it for me. My time now is worth more than the $40 or whatever it costs. I’m not going to spend hours trying to interpret the most opaque wording I’ve ever seen just to be told I got it wrong and owe money at some random date in the future.

        Now I may just be a moron, or else “too smart for my own good” (i.e. the simplest meaning eludes me), but as a non-lawyer I respectfully disagree with your description of the tax filing experience for the average person.

        Of course, I also think you’re right, from a certain perspective. The other aspects of the tax code are so ridiculously complicated that the simpler parts appear easy by comparison. Really, the tax code just starts at “Very Hard” and graduates to “Impossible”.

        1. Maybe I should have gone into accounting, but I have never found it hard. It always made sense to me if I just thought about it. What is hard about a 1040 EZ? You have your income, minus your standard deduction and exemption that gives you your taxable income. Take that figure, look at the tax tables and figure out how much taxes you owe. Then compare that figure to the taxes you have paid as reported on your W2 and that is it. You are done. That is it. I don’t see how that could ever be hard.

          1. I can program an insurance policy management system but I can’t figure out the simplest goddamn tax forms either. The EZ was one exception. Everthing after that – forget it.

            1. I couldn’t program something to save my life. I guess everyone’s brains work differently.

              1. See, above:

                John, you (and I) are professional bureaucrats. I wouldn’t underestimate how foreign this crap is for most people.

          2. The tax forms, and their associated manuals, do a horrible job of explaining the high-level purposes. What the fuck is a standard deduction, how does it relate to an exemption, and why should I care?

            I know these answers now (I think…) but it confused the hell out of me at first. Also, their explanations for basic arithmetic just add confusion. I can add/subtract/multiply/divide in my head, but if you make it so obtuse that I can’t tell what I’m supposed to be doing, then I might as well be innumerate for all the good it does me.

            Like I said, it might just be a personal issue. But there are a lot of things in other aspects of life I’ve had no trouble figuring out (opening a bank account, buying and financing a car, renting an apartment, etc.), and I am the sort of person who will read every word of a contract before signing it.

      7. there is really no excuse to get cross ways with the IRS.

        unless you’re doing things that some rogue bureaucrats in the Cincinnati office don’t like.

      8. I should point out that one of the things you should do is pay some taxes and the first thing you shouldn’t do (especially as a rich CEO) is become a tax protester.

        http://www.startribune.com/loc…..16286.html

        Full disclosure, I worked with this guy’s company on a few joint projects. His going off the deep end didn’t surprise me a bit.

  3. I spent a few minutes poking around one day and found that total local, state, and federal expenditures (not taxes) com to around $6.5T a year.

    When you consider how much of that is thrown away in inefficiency, duplication, cronyism, and other sheer waste, not counting programs that don’t belong in government at all like occupational licensing and other victimless crimes, it almost makes me cry to imagine how fast society would be booming along without that drag.

    Our economy would be the 8th wonder of the world, everyone else would be shitting their pants trying to copy us, poverty would drop down to the natural levels of people who don’t want to work and people who can’t work, and personal charity could easily take care of those.

    I really hate statists for being too damned intrusive and snotty, but even more so for their crimes against humanity for holding back progress in the name of equality.

    1. poverty would drop down to the natural levels of people who don’t want to work and people who can’t work

      So the 20 million+ current local/state/federal government employees would be destitute and begging for change on the corners of my fair city? I could live with that.

      1. Even better, they would be out doing productive jobs. You know what would probably happen if we ever went back to a reasonable sized government? Women would go back to staying home and raising children. The taxes would go down such that you wouldn’t need two incomes anymore to live a nice life. And a large percentage of the welfare and bureaucratic state jobs are held by women. A lot of those women who lost their jobs would just say fuck it and stay home with their kids. And a lot of other younger women, seeing the job prospects in the fields they prefer drying up would not even bother going to work in the first place.

        1. This is one of the big reasons why it won’t happen in the absence of a cataclysm. HR departments are womens’ job programs in businesses run by engineers and programmers and black unemployment would be even more horrific without the government agencies.

          1. We fucked our kids from being raised in two parent families and being home with their moms instead of being raised in an institution so that a bunch of bitter feminist hags could have careers in the HR department.

            1. Why do you hate the women and children?

              1. cause it’s way more fun than hating kittens & puppies?

            2. I don’t believe the two parent family has been nearly as common as you think. Death rates being what they were even a century ago, a lot of marriages ended in death during childbirth instead of divorce, and surviving farm wives didn’t exactly have a lot of spare time to mind the kids, who were more likely working around the farm and house than getting much schooling.

              1. The statistics say otherwise. Most people who lost their wives or husbands got remarried. And while farm wives were not helicopter parents, they sure as hell raised their kids and sent them to school and such. Yes, kids were free farm labor and still are to some degree.

                The thing that changed that allowed women to work at all was the invention of household appliances. Before them, it was a full time job to even have a home.

                So women would not as a rule go back to being pure housewives, though some would. What a lot of them would do would be stay at home moms who ran small home based businesses. Get rid of the government regulation of small business and a lot more women would go into business at home.

                1. No John, statistics can’t say that most people who lost their wives or husbands got remarried, because far more wives died than husbands.

                  Try again. Engage your brain this time.

                  1. No John, statistics can’t say that most people who lost their wives or husbands got remarried, because far more wives died than husbands.

                    Discounting bigamy, this would be possible if child mortality was higher for boys than girls. In other words, the population pyramid could be skewed e.g. 60-40 female-male at the bottom but thin out to 50-50 at the top.

                    Of course, that’s just a possible explanation, not a definitive analysis of historical data.

                    1. Or men could be more likely to die from causes not related to child birth, like work accidents, war, drunken brawls, shipwrecks etc.

                  2. Sorry Dude, John is right.

                    And males didn’t die in childbirth, but the single male death rate was always high.

                    1. No, John is not right. [citation needed] for this skeptic. He wants to assert it, he can cite it.

      2. John, below, has it partly right — those government employees would have to find productive jobs. Some of the FDA inspectors would find jobs doing the same thing — but by contract and more efficiently. Or some would work for Consumer Reports types of organizations, supported by memberships and/or donations.

        But go back to the false stereotype of the two parent nuclear family? No, those women like having jobs and most will continue in them. Considering what death rates were up until 1900 or so, I really doubt the two parent family was any kind of normal.

        Poor people and low-skills people could do all sorts of work to keep themselves in food and shelter — barbering, home-cooked meals, daycare for neighbors, and even pick up a few bucks evenings playing taxi or Uber or Lyft. The “need” for government welfare would drop like a rock.

        And of course the War on (Some) Drug Users would vanish, the prices would drop, the cartels and gangs would run out of cash, at least here, and go away.

        1. Oh well, John, *above* ….

        2. Not every woman would quit, but a lot would. Some like working but a lot don’t and only do so to effectively pay their taxes. The government has made war on two person one income families for fifty years now. Get rid of government and you would end that war and a lot of people would go back to being that way. Two parent one income families didn’t arise because of some plot by the patriarchy. They arose because they worked for people and still do. People just don’t get to have them now thanks mostly to government intervention.

          1. My mom really thought she liked working. Until she was out of work for six months and got to stay home with my brothers. Only reason she went back is because they couldn’t pay the mortgage+private school tuition+ taxes on my dad’s income.

            But think about the female working population right now. How many work directly for the government or work in the private sector in jobs that only exist because of government(HR, gender studies professors etc.)? A lot. How many working class women work marginally productive jobs like retail sales or day care just to pay the taxes on their husbands income. A lot. If you put those two groups together, I’d bet you’d have a majority of the current female workforce.

            1. [citation needed]

              I work in a private technical company with lots of bright women who want to work. Is that any more valid that your citation-free claim?

              Go ahead, get some stats on the proportion of men and women in government.

              1. I work in a private technical company with lots of bright women who want to work.

                And they make up what proportion of your workforce? I’m going to guess 10, maybe 20%. In the government (and associated contracting businesses), the proportion is skewed higher than that. According to this report, almost 40% of the government workforce is female.

                There’s nothing wrong with that distribution per se, but absent the government as a major employer and a lot of regulations encouraging 2 working parents, it’s conceivable that the female proportion of the workforce will fall somewhat.

                1. You guess 10, 20%?

                  Wrong again. More than half.

                  You suck at guessing. Might want to try for some actual stats. You know, [citation needed]

                  1. You suck at guessing. Might want to try for some actual stats. You know, [citation needed]

                    I don’t know what technical field you work in. If women comprise a greater percentage of the workforce in your field, then bully for you.

                    According to the Census, women compromise 20-30% of computer workers and 10-15% of engineers. Those two professional groups account for one-half and one-third of STEM employment, respectively.

                    Now, from the same report, STEM employment makes up only about 6% of the overall workforce. From other sources, it looks like federal employment is 4% of the overall workforce. Since women make up 45% of the overall workforce, 37% of the federal workforce, and 25% of the STEM workforce, eliminating federal employment altogether would basically have no net effect on the proportion of women in the overall workforce.

                    However, the broader contention about regulations is impossible to measure given the statistical information available. It is an hypothesis not a definitive statement.

                    1. women compromise 20-30% of computer workers

                      I blame John. Women comprise 20-30% of computer workers…

              2. I too work in a private technical company, and there are lots of bright women who work here.

                That said, labor/education stats show that women pursue “soft skills” careers rather than technical fields at rates FAR above men.

                Women overwhelming work in education, Federal government (other than military), and state government.

                For those that find Department of Labor statistics difficult to locate and interpret, I suggest “Stealing From Each Other” written by an ecomomist from Texas A&M.

          2. You’re showing your bias. Why concentrate on women? A lot of women LIKE working, not just a few, a lot, and they like the independence of supporting themselves. What makes you think a lot of fathers wouldn’t like to work part-time from home?

            Your bias is clouding your judgement and your argument.

            1. Sure a lot do. But most don’t. The idea that women all want this big career is nothing but upper class bias. Most poeple’s careers suck and staying home and raising kids is a better option.

              Your bias is showing. You think every woman went to Smith and is on the executive track. Some are and good for them. But a lot more women have shitty jobs they only work because they have to to pay the taxes on their husband’s salaries.

              1. No, I’m saying [citation needed] for your bias.

  4. They must’ve watched Nick’s video from five years ago about collecting a maximum of 19% of GDP considering they’re targeting that level of collection for 2018 and 2019.

  5. Big fan of Logan’s Run. Farrah Fawcett in 1976 was just diabolical.

    1. Jenny Agutter was spectacular back in the day.

      1. +1 Werewolf

      2. My first masturbatory crush.

        1. You’re doing it wrong. There should be no crushing.

        2. I’m too young to have ever had sex with a woman with a bush, but I would make an exception for 1970’s vintage Jenny Agutter.

          1. Oh I would make a lot of exceptions. And such women do exist, especially in winter.

          2. Go to China.

      3. Last time I checked, she’s still holding up pretty well.

  6. Koskinen reminds me of Gollum.

  7. While I have a dream that someday wind will blow through the broken windows of the Capitol Building and chase trash around the abandoned hallways,

    You left out the critters nesting in the pile of skulls on the Mall. Originally 546 skulls (reaching this total after the fleeing Vice President was picked up trying to cross into Mexico dressed as a day laborer), souvenir hunters have since reduced it somewhat.

  8. A liberal columnist was whining in the local paper on Sunday that the conservatives had cut the IRS audit budget, thus putting a greater burden on the backs of those who paid their “fair share.” However, the twit once supported trillion dollar deficits as “not mattering.”

  9. Koskinen warns that a leaner IRS will collect less revenue.

    Other than being a bogeyman to scare taxpayers into compliance, how much revenue does the IRS actually *collect* compared to the amount that is ‘voluntarily’ paid through withholding or other pre-payments (businesses)?

    Plus, the smaller the IRS, the less money the IRS costs – at a minimum we should be looking at how *those* numbers play out. A 10% budget decrease could end up *increasing* net revenue.

    Of course that leads to the nightmare scenario – a simplified tax code where the costs of compliance are simply not worth dodging, leading to a minimal staffing (and power of top IRS officials), the inability to use it as an attack dog by politicians, and the near removal of the ability to use the tax code for ‘social engineering’ support for favored boondogles.

    That way lies Somalia.

    1. Koskinen warns that a leaner IRS will collect less revenue.

      What do you mean “warns”?

      1. What do *you* mean ‘you mean’?

        1. What do you mean, *you* mean ‘you mean’?

          [sticks tongue to frozen flagpole, misses class]

          1. I yam what I yam and that’s all that i yam…

    2. The government and big business have fallen into the “data-driven” trap. They think that, by tracking every little detail more closely, they can find little pockets of money here and there to recoup. Of course, while it has fancy modern trappings, it’s really the old “penny wise and pound foolish” mentality. To a man like Koskinen, more money = more people = more eyes = more money. What this really means is that he has far too much money to work with in the first place. Real businesses (and leaner government agencies) don’t have the money to throw around chasing phantoms.

  10. Back in the early 90’s I worked as a repairman for IBM in Memphis. One of the big accounts was the big regional processing center the IRS runs there.

    As a with a wife and kid and trying to finish up my degree, it was infuriating to go to the IRS to repair something because of the general laziness and sloth that was on display there every time I went.

    This was way before business casual was even a concept, but all the employees would be wearing raggedy sweats while I hauled my tools around in the IBM uniform (white shirt & tie).

    It was also axiomatic that once I had fixed a PC there, the employee would not be around to verify that it worked. They had taken the opportunity to go on a 4 hour break. That meant I had time to sit around and watch my tax dollars be wasted.

    It is 20+ years later and I’m still pissed about all the sloth I saw there.

    1. Well, today at least they are probably occupied surfing pr0n.

      1. -1 sticky keyboard.

        One of the other things that pissed me off so much was how many visits I made there that were for things that the employee had caused because of negligence.

        Soda in keyboards. Monitor knocked off desk. Cable broken from being repeatedly rolled over by chair.

        Shit that normally isn’t covered by IBM’s warranties. However, my boss told me to let it slide because the contract was so lucrative, we weren’t going to risk anything by carping about having to replace a $15 keyboard full of grape soda.

        1. That’s not something unique to the public sector.

          I had some rage-inducing call outs during my steel mill days. The best was the 2AM call about a control terminal system that was locked up for no discernible reason (“nuthin happened, it jes stopped workin”), driving to the mill, trouble-shooting for half an hour, discovering it worked if I substituted a new keyboard, picking up the keyboard and tucking it under my arm to walk away, and feeling the wetness of the cold coffee pouring down my side.

          To my satisfaction, in that incident the foreman lost his shit, reportedly kicking a trashcan into the operator’s crotch as part of his lecture on how to interface with the process control department.

          1. The other account I had in Memphis like that was for the big rail yard there. They have a big tower (like an airport) where you have a bunch of old crusty guys who direct rail traffic.

            At least 3 times I had to replace a keyboard because one of the crusty old farts had put his lit cigar down just above the function keys and it had burned down to where it melted the keyboard.

            I didn’t mind those call outs because the crusty fuckers were fun to be around. It was sort of like the 50’s a bunch of guys who swore and smoked in the work place.

            And what is up with people not admitting they spilled something in their keyboard? Do they expect to get away with it?

    2. My job takes me into a federal building from time to time, and yeah the waste is amazing. It seems that most of the people there have some (in their mind) incredibly important duty that take five minutes of their day, and the rest of the time is spent chatting and Facebooking and napping…

      1. audited federal capitol projects for a time as part of an efficiency drive…laugh my fucking ass off…90% of those clowns could not find their ass with two hands, a headlamp and a map.

  11. The problem with the IRS is the same as every other bureaucracy that government creates. The moment they are created, they have one goal and that is to make themselves more important and grow bigger and get a bigger budget.

    1. Pournelle’s Iron Law

  12. OT:
    A New Video Tells the Truth About Guns and Some Folks Don’t Like It

    Truth, you keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means

    1. There is only the revolutionary truth Steve.

    2. I don’t have time to read the article: do they address how Johnny evades the 0 tolerance policies against no weapons at school?

      My guess is that the administrators’ orgasms as they handed out an expulsion and summoned the cops to haul the kid out of the school in handcuffs would damage the ceiling tiles.

      1. But Johnny has goodthinkful attitudes toward guns (evil) and ratting out his parents (doubleplus good). They’ll give a gold star. And then summon the cops.

    3. Truth? Guns lead to the Somalia condition.

      OT: The Yemeni’ s have way more guns and are also in possession of a third world shit hole. Why do we hate them so much we don’t give them some more credit?

      1. Somalia proves one thing, anyway:

        Adding guns to a failed state doesn’t make it stop failing.

        1. All states are failed states. All that differs is the degree of malignancy.

  13. Need to save money? There is a position, held by IRS Commissioner John Koskinen that is superfluous and could be eliminated immediately to save money.

  14. The great thing about Congress fucking the IRS is that they can’t use the usual “we will punish the public severely by closing down everything they like” method of retaliation. At most they can delay people’s tax returns but they can’t do that for long, since most individual returns are done electronically and are never examined by a person these days. If the IRS wants to slow down, it means they will no longer be auditing people or going out and fucking with people as much. Yeah, that is going to get people to want to fund them a lot more. Please IRS, have a work slow down to show your outrage over this.

  15. my friend’s half-sister makes $83 /hr on the internet . She has been out of work for 10 months but last month her paycheck was $14066 just working on the internet for a few hours. go to this site…………
    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  16. I’ve spent my entire adult life in the DoD. Given what shitty job we do with money I’ve come to two conclusions:

    1) The govt is going to fuck away your tax dollars. They aren’t good stewards in any way, shape, or form. The less they have the less they can waste.
    2) The govt is going to try and convince you that money is the root of all governmental success and happiness. They don’t have any real metric, but just $2 dollar will: cure poverty, stamp out drugs, win hearts and minds … etc,etc.

    1. All bureacracies are rule driven, inefficient and suck. They are never going to be efficient. There is no point in trying to make them that way. It is a limitation inherent to the system.

      One of the more idiotic things liberals do is point to DOD as some example of how government can work. DOD is a morass of insanity, inefficiency and corruption. It always has been. Every Army back to Hannibal has been in many ways the same sort of lumbering wasteful machine.

      That doesn’t mean DOD is any better or worse than the rest of the government. It just means that you have to understand the inherent limitations of government and only have it do the very few things that only government can do. Government is like a giant, lumbering, unpredictable golem. There are certain things only it can do, smash things and people, pick up really big things and such. Nice to have around sometimes, but not something to be used outside of very specific circumstances. People refuse to understand that.

      1. Hell, when you get down to it an efficient Government is an authentic menace. The mongols were very efficient. Protectors of human rights? Not so much.

    2. of course, govt is going to be a sinkhole of money. No one sees it as his/her money. And there is no accountability for fucking up. Hard to imagine that such a system would be problematic.

  17. my friend’s half-sister makes $83 /hr on the internet . She has been out of work for 10 months but last month her paycheck was $14066 just working on the internet for a few hours. go to this site…………
    ????? http://www.netjob70.com

  18. If I became Emperor tomorrow (gods help us!) I would give the head of the IRS 6 months to come up with a practical plan for simplifying the whole mess, with the spur being “And if you can’t do that, I’ll hand over tax collection to whatever is left of the Gambino operation; they’d be more fair”.

    1. somalia just proves thugs will get guns regardless of how many rules or laws you make up

  19. my roomate’s mother makes $71 /hr on the internet . She has been laid off for 7 months but last month her payment was $12827 just working on the internet for a few hours. this link…..
    ?????http://www.netjob70.com

  20. my roomate’s mother makes $71 /hr on the internet . She has been laid off for 7 months but last month her payment was $12827 just working on the internet for a few hours. this link…..
    ?????http://www.netjob70.com

  21. my neighbor’s step-aunt makes $80 an hour on the internet . She has been laid off for five months but last month her payment was $12901 just working on the internet for a few hours.
    website here……..
    ???????? http://www.paygazette.com

  22. You can’t handle the truth!
    The US individual income tax is a classical liberal tax on public offices.It is in essence legally a way to track expenditures of federal agencies and instrumentalities and put some of the money back in the treasury. The taxing clauses of the US Constitution were not overthrown by the 16th amendment. There are only two classes of tax: direct and indirect. The income tax has to be an indirect tax because a direct tax (capitation) cannot be levied without apportionment. An excise tax (indirect) is not on the income at all, but is a tax on a privilege that is merely measured by the income. What federal privilege or function of a public office did you engage in this year? If none you have no federal income tax to declare.
    I am not saying do not file, what I am saying is stop talking about IRS manuals, about the flat tax and the fair tax, and do some research, for pete’s sake. Do not support tax simplification, support tax honesty. Let’s have some real tax reform!

    1. . The taxing clauses of the US Constitution were not overthrown by the 16th amendment.

      Yes they were. Which part of

      The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

      Is difficult to understand? You always read the amendment as taking precedence over any conflicting part of the document it is amending. If it conflicts, the amendment is considered to have repealed it.

      1. So that explains why there are no longer any Excise Taxes, or Tariff Duties./s

        What a Maroon!

  23. No Justice….No IRS!

  24. Why does the IRS have Deputy Agents that go out and arrest folks who will not turn themselves in for a tax issue? There are several layers of law enforcement that serve warrants daily. But, instead the IRS gives a pay raise of $30,000 a year…which takes some to $110,000 or so a year.So, please don’t say there is no fat to cut….you just don’t want to cause the elite to live like those they hound….

  25. Abolish the IRS and the 16th Amendment, stop the self-imposed insanity.

    Do you like jumping through tax code hoops, do you like missing 33% of your paycheck every payday, do you like hiring an accountant, do you like worrying about an audit, do you like figuring out what you can legally invest your money in every year, do you like being manipulated by the tax code?

    If your answer is yes do nothing, if it is no; start voting for people who pledge to abolish the IRS and the tax code, who will support the repeal of the 16th Amendment and who support the Fair Tax.

  26. Abolish the IRS and the 16th Amendment, stop the self-imposed insanity.

    Do you like jumping through tax code hoops, do you like missing 33% of your paycheck every payday, do you like hiring an accountant, do you like worrying about an audit, do you like figuring out what you can legally invest your money in every year, do you like being manipulated by the tax code?

    If your answer is yes do nothing, if it is no; start voting for people who pledge to abolish the IRS and the tax code, who will support the repeal of the 16th Amendment and who support the Fair Tax

  27. Given that most of the increase went to the top end incomes, the receipts should be over 30%.

  28. The number of people, man-hours and dollars occupied in tax compliance should tell you all you need to know.

  29. Just before I looked at the check that said $4396 , I accept …that…my brother woz like they say actualie making money parttime from there pretty old laptop. . there best friend started doing this for under 11 months and by now cleard the mortgage on there villa and got a great new Cadillac .
    learn the facts here now —— http://www.jobsfish.com

  30. I make up to USD90 an hour working from my home. My story is that I quit working at Walmart to work online and with a little effort I easily bring in around USD40h to USD86h Someone was good to me by sharing this link with me, so now i am hoping i could help someone else out there by sharing this link Try it, you won t regret it! …
    ==……………… .. http://WWW.MONEYKIN.COM

  31. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260……0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
    Here is what i did
    ?????? http://www.paygazette.com

  32. I Got Hooked On Having An Online Business Almost A Decade Ago When I Created An Online Course And Made My First.
    —–http://tinyurl.com/cashclick1

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