FILE - In this June 10, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gives a thumbs-up while addressing the Faith and Freedom Coalition's Road to Majority Conference in Washington. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump boils down his foreign policy agenda to two words: “America First.” For students of U.S. history, that slogan harkens back to the tumultuous presidential election of 1940, when hundreds of thousands of Americans joined the anti-war America First Committee. That isolationist group’s primary goal was to keep the United States from joining Britain in the fight against Nazi Germany, which by then had overrun nearly all of Europe. But the committee is also remembered for the unvarnished anti-Semitism of some of its most prominent members and praise for the economic policies of Adolf Hitler.(AP Photo/Cliff Owen, File) (AP)

Robert Reich: 4 reasons why Trump's plan to strip the IRS is incredibly dumb

The president is exploding the Federal Budget Deficit and giving another windfall to the rich


Robert Reich
April 19, 2017 3:59PM (UTC)
This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog.

President Donald Trump is proposing a 14.1 percent cut in the IRS' budget next year. This is incredibly dumb, for four reasons:

1. It won’t save money. To the contrary, this move worsens the budget deficit. That’s because every dollar spent by the IRS to collect taxes generates $4 in unpaid taxes.

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2. It worsens the federal budget deficit. The current estimate of unpaid taxes per year is almost as large as the federal government’s annual budget deficit.

3. It widens inequality. Since most IRS audits are of high-income people, the real beneficiaries of Trump’s move are the wealthy, more of whom will now be able to skirt their duty to pay taxes.

4. The IRS is already understaffed. The number of individual tax return audits fell last year to its lowest level since 2004, and enforcement levels were already down by nearly 30 percent from 2010.

Donald Trump hates the IRS and has spent years battling it. There’s reason to think he doesn’t even want to pay his own taxes. But this is no reason to explode the Federal Budget Deficit and give another windfall to the rich.


Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 15 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's also co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism."

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