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Originally published June 19 2013

IRS scandal revives talk of abolishing the IRS, shifting to simple, fair flat tax

by J. D. Heyes

(NaturalNews) The recent spate of scandals involving abuse by the Internal Revenue Service of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status has once again revived talk of repealing most of the current byzantine tax code and replacing it with a tax that is much simpler and fairer - a move that would necessarily take away much of the tax agency's power and reduce its size dramatically.

None other than Tea Party favorite Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is leading the charge, having tweeted out his desire to fundamentally reform the IRS shortly before the House Appropriations Committee held a hearing on politically targeting the agency. Cruz's solution, actually, is to get rid of the agency altogether.

"Mr. President, if your #1 priority is fixing the problem, let's abolish the #IRS and ensure it NEVER happens again!" Cruz tweeted.

Later, in an interview with Fox News, Cruz clarified his position somewhat.

"I think we ought to abolish the IRS and instead move to a simple flat tax where the average American can fill out taxes on postcard," he said. "Put down how much you earn, put down a deduction for charitable contributions, home mortgage and how much you owe. It ought to be a simple one-page postcard, and take the agents, the bureaucracy out of Washington and limit the power of government."

IRS has too much power - period

During the 2012 election cycle, Cruz proposed a flat tax, but he said he would keep a standard deduction for lower-income earners and the deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations, one because it rewards home ownership and the other because it encourages charitable giving.

"My obsessive focus would be using the levers of government to spur growth," he said in a candidate forum sponsored by the Dallas Morning News.

Cruz is just the latest in a small group of politicians who have called for either elimination of the IRS or dramatically downsizing it by greatly simplifying the U.S. tax code. The most recent advocate was former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas. He even advocated elimination of the income tax altogether, which would have required a repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment.

In most instances, Paul's position was ripped by both Democrats and Republicans alternately as impractical, silly, "extreme" or unreasonable, but looking back at why Paul felt the way he did makes him seem like a prophet, given all of the current scandals surrounding the IRS.

"The bipartisan tradition of using the IRS as a tool to harass political opponents suggests that the problem is deeper than just a few 'rogue' IRS agents - or even corruption within one, two, three or many administrations," Paul wrote recently in his weekly column, Texas Straight Talk. He should know: Paul spent decades in Congress watching his fellow lawmakers tinker with the tax code as a means of either rewarding key constituencies or punishing them, along with certain industries and businesses.

Plenty of hypocrisy

In fact, what Paul has warned about and what Cruz seeks to curb in the future are exactly the kinds of abuses the IRS heaped on conservative political action groups over the past few years, during the reign of imperial President Obama - all in an effort to limit their ability to criticize the president and challenge his policies.

And while he bears responsibility for the actions of all Executive Branch agencies (as head of the Executive Branch), what has been far less discussed during congressional hearings examining the scope of the IRS abuse is the fact that top Democrats in the House and Senate asked the IRS to single out the conservative organizations, a fact admitted by one of the Senate's senior Democratic members, Dick Durbin of Illinois. Retiring Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., though he is "leading an investigation" into the IRS targeting, himself requested the tax agency examine GOP-friendly groups in 2010. So there is no shortage of hypocrisy here.

Take all of this into account and add in the fact that under Obamacare, the IRS will become the chief enforcement agency regarding who has and has not purchased the mandated coverage and you can begin to really appreciate the position of those in Congress who want to take this mammoth, ill-conceived and out-of-control agency down several notches.

Whether you support a "fair tax" or a "flat tax" or some variation hybrid thereof, the fact is the U.S. tax code is far too complex and far too politicized and it needs to go away.

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