The Trouble with the Tax Code Is the Tax Code

Outside the Internal Revenue Service building in Washington, D.C. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

It’s not that the IRS enforcement budget is too small.


f you are reading this, President Biden, I’d like to make a bet with you: If the IRS does get that $80 billion bump in its enforcement budget you’re asking for, I’ll wager that the agency still won’t manage to collect that $700 billion in illegally dodged taxes you promise it will. The main change would be a much nicer charcuterie tray at the next IRS senior-staff retreat.

But even if the IRS hits that number, it won’t amount to much — which is a truly weird thing to write about $700 billion.

In one sense, spending $80 billion to collect $700

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