When Big Ideas Go Bad

8.14.19_When Big Ideas Go Bad_IMAGE.jpg

By Bill Maher

We used to dismiss fringe Republican presidential candidates who ran on big economic ideas. Like a flat tax, or a national sales tax, or getting rid of the IRS. “Nine, Nine, Nine!” “It fits on a postcard!” “Let’s go on or off the gold standard and stop the Fed from doing whatever it is Rand Paul thinks it does!” But think about this: We really have changed the way America collects taxes since 2010. And now Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell are supercharging that. 

The Tax Policy Center pored over the latest IRS statistics and found that, between 2010 and 2018, corporate audits fell by nearly 50 percent and individual audits are down 42 percent since 2010. Newsweek points out that “top earners hide about $50 billion a year from the IRS” but filers making less than $25,000 now have a higher chance of being audited than filers who make between $250,000 and $500,000. Basically, we’re running the high end of the tax system on the honor system. According to the Center, only seven percent of IRS revenue came from corporations last year. That’s the lowest proportion since 1960.

What if Trump announced he was getting rid of the corporate income tax all together and just collecting tariffs? We’ve done it before. When America was great. What if he announced that we were going to cut out all the bullshit of “trusts” and “charities” and rich people weren’t even going to pretend to pay taxes? It worked in France until it didn’t.