Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The Arizona Republic(an)'s columnist Robert Robb had a column yesterday about the IRS "scandal" that left me wondering, "Where the hell did that come from?"
The real scandal with the IRS review of applications for 501(c)(4) tax exempt status from political organizations is that political organizations do not qualify — and should not recieve 501(c)(4) tax exempt status. Period. The real IRS scandal: the ease with which political organizations have been abusing the 501(c)(4) tax exempt status.
The thousands of political organizations that have wrongly recieved this tax exempt status should lose it, and Congress should enact new legislation to make certain of this. While Congress is at it, the law should require transparency — no anonymous donors, their identities and the amount of their contributions made publicly available in a financial disclosure statement. Problem solved.
But Robert Robb uses the IRS "scandal" to argue for a consumption or flat-income tax as a means of eliminating the IRS all together, asserting that there is a "liberty dimension at stake." How
to keep IRS out of politics. This "scandal" is seen as an opportunity to argue for more income redistribution upwards to the über-rich plutocratic elites for whom Robb has spent his life as a lackey.
This idea did not originate with Robb. It is part of the latest talking points from the right-wing noise machine. Ed Kilgore at the Political Animal blog explains.
Whatever else comes out of the “scandal” over IRS scrutiny of
501(c)(4) applicants (and it’s already clear it will be harnessed to the
GOP’s Great White Whale obsession with repealing Obamacare, on which
the House will hold its 37th vote this week),
one byproduct is certain. Sooner probably than later, we will see a
resurgence of “flat tax” proposals, which have always advertised the
abolition of the IRS as their most attractive feature.
Indeed, the conservative “base” may be ahead of the pols and
bloviators on this one. If you Google “IRS Scandal Flat Tax” right now,
you mostly turn up letters-to-the-editor and Freeper commentary (though
the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s conservative columnist Kyle Wingfield briefly mentioned it).
But it’s going to be a bottomless crack pipe for talk radio types (who
have always been the bedrock of support for flat-tax schemes, and will
probably continue to be so now that Herman Cain is among their ranks)
who view progressive income taxation as the ultimate enemy.
* * *
The peril with “flat tax” schemes (or for the closely related
“consumption tax” schemes), of course, is that they typically rely on
significantly higher taxes for the poor and the middle class. They are
ultimately not that different from the state-level GOP “tax reform
initiatives” involving higher sales taxes combined with much lower or
abolished income taxes that have gotten Bobby Jindal (and to some extent, Sam Brownback) in political hot water.
So federal-level conservatives may regret re-embracing “flat taxes” generally or some version of the “Fair Tax” specifically. But they probably won’t be able to help themselves in the current environment.
Robert Robb, just another cog in the right-wing noise nachine.