Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It'll take DNA - And (BTW) - Don't hold your breath on tax reform...

If you're a hardcore "progressive", you're with Washington Post's Dana Milbank who, in his column yesterday, chastised Republicans for accusing first---with regard to the IRS scandal---and asking questions later. 

If you're a hardcore "conservative", you're with the Wall Street Journal's Kimberley Strassel who, in her column yesterday, proves (in her mind) that the IRS scandal started at the top: being that President Obama has, for years, publicly accused conservative political groups of engaging in nefarious activities. Thus, if not directly calling the IRS hotline, he was calling all departments from the podium.

If you're neither---or either, but strive for intellectual honesty---perhaps you agree with me that the IRS's misdeeds could have been inspired simply by the survival instincts of those who survive by the grace of big government. 

Sure, Milbank makes a legitimate point. But he's way premature in his condemnation of the Republican's tactics. If they indeed prove that the President directed the assault on conservative groups---although nothing short of eye witnesses, pics, videos and DNA would convince him---Milbank will look the fool.

Strassel is by far the craftier of the two. Whether or not the IRS caught the alleged wink-wink from the President, her point sticks. And conservatives can go there if their leaders can't produce the DNA.

Here's another thought: what if the ultimate culprit here is the tax code---that 73,954-page cornucopia of opportunities for politicians and special interests---itself? Imagine turning the whole thing upside down --- no deductions, credits or loopholes, and no tax-exempt organizations whatsoever. Imagine cutting it by 73,953 pages to one spelling out---in language a first grader could interpret---a 20% flat tax. Of course there'd be no IRS as we know it today, and there'd be no tax-gimmics to be exploited by politicians and special interests. Which means, alas, there'll be no major simplifying of the tax code.

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