We talked about this yesterday, and we’re not alone. Sen. Ted Cruz is now actively pushing the abolition of the IRS in favor of a simple flat tax.
Cruz is out in front of something everybody in the GOP needs to get on board with. Replacing the tax code and junking the IRS needs to be the central push for the Republican Party heading into the 2014 elections.
This is the case for a number of reasons.
First, Democrats mobilize their base by advocating grand socialist utopian programs that will happen if only they can get majorities in both houses and the White House. Those ideas are usually either highly unpopular or only marginally favored by the public, but Democrats press them on a constant basis and never stop looking for news items they can exploit into a “crisis” which necessitates the kind of growth in government they seek.
But Republicans almost never do anything of the sort. Republicans content themselves with playing defense in the political game, never seeking to roll back any of the Left’s largest abuses or knock down their foundational structure the way the Left attacks the private sector. This makes the conservative base suspicious of Republican politicians and it produces the perception in the country as a whole that the GOP is out of ideas.
By going after the IRS and targeting it for extinction, Cruz is blowing that reality away. He’s making the GOP the party of change and giving the conservative base something to rally around. Moreover, he’s offering the kind of structural change that most of the independents – the largest group of which are disaffected conservatives who don’t think there is any functional difference between Democrats and Republicans – will find interesting if not downright attractive.
Next, by going after the IRS you’re imposing some real, actual consequences to bad government behavior. A private company engaged in the kind of behavior that agency engages in would suffer annihilation at the hands of the marketplace amid cheers from the crowd, and it’s the knowledge of that reality which keeps private companies from committing abuses on the scale of the IRS. Making a real run at eliminating that agency would, as we said yesterday, serve as an example to, say, the EPA or the NLRB that the political marketplace can practice as much creative destruction as the economic marketplace can. It’s only through the real perception that widespread abuse will lead to the death of the agency for which one works that we can expect actual accountability.
Democrats seek to isolate the government from the marketplace. It’s a mistake to let them. Focusing on the worst agency in the federal government and targeting it for extinction is akin to capturing the flag.
We saw Barack Obama and his stooges assault one-sixth of the American economy and impose upon it the most tyrannical and nonsensical regulatory regime in the history of the country just three years ago. They knew doing so would cause grave electoral consequences on them, and yet their commitment to the ideological cause was such that they were willing to lose the 2010 elections – a small price to pay, in their minds, for the erection of government-run health care in this country.
That’s atrocious, to be sure, but on another level it’s admirable. The will to use, or even abuse, political power to achieve a public-policy end is something the GOP has almost never shown, and that is a major source of irritation to a large segment of its base constituency. Particularly given the fact that the Republican Party and the conservative movement is dedicated to the principles enshrined in the constitution – raw, courageous use of political power in the face of potential negative electoral consequences to achieve lasting public-policy ends should be even more a part of Republican politics than it is Democrat politics because there are a lot more conservatives than liberals in this country and if the conservative base is energized at the same level the Left’s base is, the Left cannot win national elections.
And what’s more, breaking down the Left’s governmental institutions, particularly those offensive to the Constitution or the principles of federalism, will do more damage to the Left’s ability to grow government than the Left can do to the private sector or civil society by building governmental institutions the public will tolerate.
Of course, the idea of abolishing the IRS will be castigated by the legacy media as crazy. It is anything but. The IRS is the most hated institution in America, and the current round of scandals – which is only beginning to unwind – will only intensify that fact. And it’s practicable to wipe out the IRS if you replace the current tax code with something extremely simple like a flat tax; after all, every state has a department of revenue, and those are all capable of administering a code which is a good deal simpler than their current state tax codes. If it’s necessary to have a new, smaller and less coercive federal agency to administer a flat tax that might be an acceptable compromise, but the GOP needs to demand the IRS’ skin on the wall next to slavery, Jim Crow laws and the Soviet Union.