Newspaper article Roll Call

What 'Abolish the IRS' Really Means

Newspaper article Roll Call

What 'Abolish the IRS' Really Means

Article excerpt

"Abolish the IRS" is a popular Republican refrain, getting time on the campaign trail and promotion from the Republican National Committee. But don't take the catch phrase literally.

Sen. Marco Rubio, the Floridian who aims to be the party standard- bearer in the 2016 presidential contest, effectively conceded Wednesday there's a bit of hyperbole involved.

Rubio's partner on a tax code overhaul proposal, Sen. Mike Lee, R- Utah, said what conservatives really want is a significantly simpler tax code that would dial back the kind of power the IRS has accumulated.

"The power of the IRS is directly related to the complexity of the tax code. The more complexity we build into the tax code, the more power we give government to collect taxes or administer laws, the more powerful all bureaucratic agencies become, especially the Internal Revenue Service," Rubio said during a tax day event at the Heritage Foundation. "Obamacare has forces the IRS to add additional employees just to enforce that law."

"Love the idea of abolishing the IRS. Whenever we talk about that, a lot of what we're referring to is the complexity of the tax code and the corresponding discretion that we give the IRS along with that complexity," Lee said, recalling a story of a gentleman who testified at a Joint Economic Committee hearing who, despite having written a dissertation about the U.S. tax code, did not complete his own tax return.

Lee also weighed in on conservative hopes for a single-rate flat tax, rather than the two-tiered system in the proposal he has drafted with Rubio.

"If we were starting from scratch, I think that would make an enormous amount of sense. But we do however have to start with the system that we have, rather than the system that might have been had we followed a different course in decades past," Lee said. "I can't find an effective way to move us to a single-rate system that protects America's middle class. …

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