I ran across an older Freakonomics post today that talks some more about one of the consequences of vilifying the IRS – and a less outdated article from the Washington Post showing this problem hasn’t stopped since. The IRS has given tons of outstanding tax liabilities to private collections agencies, who get a hefty cut of around 22%. According to the Freakonomics post, the IRS could collect on this for as little as 3% of the cost if they could hire more employees. But politics and public opinion are such that the IRS cannot get a proper budget to hire actual employees.
As you saw in the John Oliver video last week, we need the IRS to run efficiently. We need service to be low-cost and quick so that this part of having a government is relatively pain free. Privatizing core government functions is nonsensical, expensive, and benefits only the private company. It’s not good for other governmental functions, nor is it good for the citizens who have to deal with it.
So why do we continue to vilify the IRS? They’re not the problem. They’re pretty much never the problem. Who do you think made taxes so complicated, and who do you think is keeping the IRS’s budget low? Congress writes the tax code. Congress writes the budget. WTF, Congress? Do you have any idea what you’re doing to us?