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Obamacare Still Raises Debt by Trillions

Posted by Michael Smith on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2014, 2:18 PM PERMALINK

It would seem like members of the Obama Administration will find anything they can to celebrate when it comes to the Affordable Care Act.

What’s the Administration parading about now? According to  White House spokesman Jay Carney, the new Congressional Budget Office report  “demonstrates the Affordable Care Act is working.”

Slow your roll, Mr. Carney.  Not too long ago the President prematurely boasted Obamacare as a success due to hitting the targeting goal of 7.1 million sign-ups. What that 7.1 million figure fails to mention is how many people were previously uninsured, lost coverage due to Obamacare, and how many people have begun and will continue to pay for their new healthcare plans. Before that, the Obama Administration was quick to dismiss CBO reports that said the ACA would kill 2.5 million jobs and create a disincentive for people to work.

So why is the President so giddy about the new CBO report? Because it projects slightly less deficit estimates as if it were a good thing. According to the report, the federal government has a projected net cost of $36 billion for 2014, $5 billion less than previously projected while projecting a net cost of $1,383 billion for 2015-2014, $104 billion less than February estimates.  Time to pop the champagne in the Oval Office, right?


The ACA is still going to cost taxpayers, a lot. According to Billy House of the National Journal, “the nation is doomed to return to trillion-dollar shortfalls by 2024 if lawmakers don’t alter existing tax and spending policies…the rising debt [will] have serious consequences.” How has President Obama addressed the nation’s bleak financial future? By creating an unsustainable healthcare program and no original framework to help alleviate the nation’s financial woes as evidenced by the 442 tax hikes Obama has proposed since taking office.

Although the Affordable Care Act was intended to provide affordable healthcare for all, the middle class is paying far too much out of pocket costs to fund Obamacare. While new tax hikes plague average income earners in America, others are losing coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Furthermore, the ACA will kill part-time worker's healthcare coverage and small business owners cannot hire more employees because of Obamacare’s mandates. If the President wanted to properly address healthcare concerns for the middle class, he need only look to healthcare plans proposed by House conservatives Rep. Steve Scalise and Rep. Tom Price.

According to a new Gallup Report, 55 percent of Americans see the writing on the wall and believe the economy is getting worse. The need for responsible spending and practical tax reform is evident, and unless the President and his Administration realize that fact, the American people and the economy will continue to suffer.

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Nepal Heritage Tour

The president insisted — repeatedly — that his party's health
care overhaul would roll back spending. Skeptics, of course, knew
better. But we wonder how many realized just how costly the reform would

President Obama promised the Democrats' health care legislation would
both "bend" the health care cost curve downward and "cut the deficit by
a trillion dollars."

Critics said hogwash and pointed out that government programs,
particularly signature initiatives, always cost far more than the
bureaucracy projects. Despite promises that ObamaCare would be
different, it turns out that it won't.

Read More At Investor's Business Daily: http://news.investors.com/ibd-...

Follow us: @IBDinvestors on Twitter | InvestorsBusinessDaily on Facebook

Has President Obama Really Proposed Over 400 Tax Hikes?

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014, 4:51 PM PERMALINK

It's pretty bad when the liberal bias of a "fact check" site is such that it requires its own conservative watchdog, but that's sadly the case with Politifact. This week, and not surprisingly, they rated our claim that President Obama had proposed to raise taxes 442 times as "mostly false." Below is our response to their "fact check" which they refused to print:

Objection #1: Politifact didn't like that we counted Obama budget tax increase proposals each and every time they were put in a budget.

Our response: It is not misleading to count each time Obama proposed a tax increase. The stated goal of ATR’s effort was to total the number of tax increase proposals formally written down by President Obama in his six annual budget proposals.  The goal was not to count each type of tax increase proposed, an arbitrary metric created by Politifact.

If someone commits five counts of the same crime spread out over five years, he is not simply charged for one count of the crime. If a driver gets caught speeding five times over five years, the driver can’t tell his insurance company he only received one speeding ticket. But that’s the logic Politifact used to determine their “mostly false” ruling.

Objection #2: Politifact thinks we should have also listed President Obama's tax cut proposals in his budgets.

Our response: ATR’s press release was purposely and transparently not a comprehensive tax policy analysis of the Obama administration’s tenure. ATR was quite clear in this respect. ATR is under no obligation to account for tax relief in a study that merely seeks to count the total number of tax increases listed in formal budget proposals in black and white.

Politifact also failed to mention that ATR, in its release, clearly stated that it was not counting the 20 tax increases in Obamacare, which alone amount to a ten year net tax increase of over $1,000,000,000. Again, the simple intent of the ATR study was to find the total number of tax increase proposals formally written down by President Obama in his six annual budgets.

Objection #3: A liberal tax expert (Eric Toder of the Tax Policy Center) didn't like ATR's tax research because it didn't distinguish between large and small tax hikes.

Our response: Is this a joke? Politifact fancies itself as a neutral arbiter acting in the public interest. Eric Toder is an employee of a far-left think tank. We can’t recall Politifact ever calling upon Americans for Tax Reform to check on the work of Mr. Toder or any of his colleagues. Besides, the criticism invents a new standard (i.e., the "dollar amount test") arbitrarily foisted upon ATR after the fact. Again, the simple intent of the ATR study was to find the total number of tax increase proposals formally written down by President Obama in his six annual budgets.

That said, if Politifact and Toder want to assign dollar values to these tax increases, they will find them to be far more than pennies. The latest Obama budget raises net taxes over the next decade by hundreds of billions of dollars. As did the first five Obama budgets.

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Nevada's Education Initiative A Massive $750 Million Annual Tax Increase

Posted by Paul Blair on Monday, April 21st, 2014, 4:16 PM PERMALINK

This November, Nevada voters will have the ability to reject a teachers union-led effort to impose a new margin tax on all Nevada businesses that gross more than $1 million per year. Commonly referred to as the "Education Initiative," Question 3 on the ballot this year would impose a 2 percent margin tax on all businesses in Nevada. If approved, Nevada would jump "from a state with one of the lowest business tax burdens in the nation into the top five." 

Thomas Mitchell from Watchdog Nevada points out that, "When added to the current Modified Business Tax, which is a 1 percent tax on businesses’ payrolls, the 2 percent tax on gross receipts, because of limited deductions for expenses, would give Nevada an effective corporate income tax rate on profits of 15 percent — the highest in the West and nearly double California’s business tax rate of 8.8 percent."

According to an analysis conducted by Jeremy Aguero of Applied Analysis, "nearly every business analyzed bore significantly higher business tax liability under the proposed margin tax." The initiative would increase the average tax rate on Nevada businesses by 450 percent and would be four times larger than the Texas Franchise Tax, a commonly referred to example for precedent on this type of business tax. The analysis concludes that while a majority of Nevada businesses would not pay the tax because they do not meet the $1 million gross revenue threshold, businesses who employ a majority of Nevada's workers and account for most of the state's economic activity would bear increased liability. 

This will increase the cost of countless goods and services provided by Nevada businesses, including groceries, electricity, and health care. It would do this without any guaranteed improvement in the quality of education provided to Nevada public school students. 

That's because while money generated by the measure will be put into the "Distributive School Account," nothing would prevent the legislature from taking general fund education dollars and spending it on other budget priorities. The simple appropriations process could result in less education dollars, according to a 2012 District Court judgment, even after imposing hundreds of millions of dollars in higher taxes for an "Education Initiative." 

And of course, increasing money "for education" is in no way a guarantee that anyone's quality of education or learning will actually increase as well.

Visit www.stopthemargintax.com to learn more. 

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UAW Drops Election Challenge

Posted by Matt Patterson on Monday, April 21st, 2014, 2:48 PM PERMALINK

ATR’s Center for Worker Freedom was happy to learn that the United Auto Workers has finally dropped its frivolous challenges to the results of February's election at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, which the union lost 712-626.

The union had challenged the election outcome in an appeal to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), claiming "outside interference" had tainted the election.  CWF's Matt Patterson, Tucker Nelson, and ATR President Grover Norquist had all been subpoenaed in connection with the NLRB hearing set for Monday, April 21st.  

However, Monday morning the union announced that they were dropping their objections, and the NLRB has officially certified the election results.  The UAW has lost.

"We congratulate the workers in Chattanooga for standing firm against union propaganda, and we applaud the community for rallying around them as the union launched this outrageous challenge, which amounted to nothing less than a full-scale assault on the First Amendment," said CWF Executive Director Matt Patterson.

“The workers of Tennessee won and they chased the outsider union bosses back to Detroit. But make no mistake, if the union bosses can smell the union dues they just lost then they’ll be back to get them in the future,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

Patterson detailed in a column for the New York Post on Monday how the UAW challenge to the election results constituted an assault on the freedoms of press, association, and speech. "[The union] needs new dues-paying members. It needs them at any cost, even if that cost is our freedom. It’s willing to ignore the expressed wishes of workers, even as it claims to speak for workers. " Patterson wrote.

Patterson warned that Chattanooga may not be out of the woods entirely.   "Assuming that Volkswagen doesn't find a way to get them in there anyway, the union will try again as soon as it legally and possibly can."

Patterson warns that the UAW will also continue its aggressive organizing drives in other Southern communities, like Mercedes in Tuscaloosa Alabama, and Nissan Canton, Mississippi.  "We'll be there, too," Patterson vowed.

The Center for Worker Freedom is a special project of Americans for Tax Reform, dedicated to warning the public about the costs and consequences of unionization. 

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Affiliates and Friends News Roundup for April 19, 2014

Posted on Saturday, April 19th, 2014, 12:12 AM PERMALINK

Cost of Government Center: On Tax Day ATR Explains the Complexity of the 70,000 Page Tax Code READ

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How the IRS Took 27 Hours from Your Life This Year

Posted by Economics21 on Friday, April 18th, 2014, 11:30 AM PERMALINK

Today, Tax Day, everyone understands that it is not just paying the taxes that is painful, it is getting together all the information and filling out the forms. The cost is time as well as money, time that could be far better spent.

This is not just an upper- or middle-income problem. Low-income individuals who expect an Earned Income Tax Credit have to file to receive it.

In May 2013, scholars at the Mercatus Center estimated the costs of tax compliance to be at least $215 billion a year.

A 2008 study by the Taxpayer Advocate Service at the IRS estimated that Americans spend 3.5 billion hours a year preparing their individual income tax returns. With 134.6 million filers at the time, this averaged to each individual spending 26.4 hours complying with the tax code.

Since the Taxpayer Advocate study was conducted, the tax code has only grown more complex. Wolters Kluwer, the global information services and publishing company, estimated the length of the U.S. tax code to be 67,204 pages in 2007. Their 2013 estimate showed 9 percent growth, to nearly 74,000 pages.

Because of the growing complexity of the tax code, taxpayers likely now average more than 27 hours on their individual income tax returns per year.

Here are twelve things you could do with 27 extra hours of free time:

Drive the entire length of Interstate-95, from Miami, Florida to the Canadian border at Houlton, Maine.

Watch all eight Harry Potter movies.

Play 117 holes (6.5 rounds) of golf with 2014 Masters Champion Bubba Watson.

Watch 13 movies on your Netflix list. Or, just browse Netflix for 27 hours and add a hundred new ones.

Watch the longest tennis match ever, twice (Isner vs. Mahut at Wimbledon 2010).

Take the SATs (3.75 hours), the GREs (3.75), the DATs (4.5), the MCATs (4.5) and the LSATs (3.5), all in one sitting, plus have 7 hours for breaks.

Read Game of Thrones, the 694 page novel by George R.R. Martin. Or, watch the first three seasons of the HBO series of the same name.

Ride the entire length of all five WMATA Metrorail lines more than five times.

Watch at least three seasons of your favorite half-hour sitcom: Friends, The Office, Big Bang Theory, etc.

Fly around the world twice in the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. The discontinued military aircraft has held the airspeed record (2193 mph) since 1976.

Listen to the complete Beatles discography, twice.

Write a dozen columns for E21. 

Whatever your tastes, you would benefit from a simpler code.

Note: This was originally posted earlier this week on the website for Economic Policies for the 21st Century and is republished here with permission.

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Missouri Shows Strength On Tax Reform

Posted by Will Upton on Thursday, April 17th, 2014, 11:19 AM PERMALINK

Yesterday, the Missouri House voted in favor of SB 509, a bill which cuts the income tax by $620 million annually. The legislation would cut Missouri's individual income tax rate for the first time in almost a century, by gradually lowering the state's highest income tax rate to 5.5% starting in 2017. The bill also includes a 25% tax break for small business owners.

''This is a broad-based tax reform that would make our state more competitive and cuts taxes for every Missourian that pays a tax,'' said Rep. Andrew Koening, R-Manchester. With this tax cut, Missouri joins the group of states such as Wisconsin and Kansas which have cut taxes since the recession. 

Last year, Missouri Governor Nixon vetoed a proposed tax cut and hinted he would do the same this year. SB 509 passed with 104 votes and 109 votes are needed to overturn a veto. ATR encourages you to call Gov. Nixon’s office (573-751-3222) and tell him to sign SB 509, much needed tax relief for Missouri.

Photo credit: David Shane

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Bhutan Tour

On Tax Day, Americans for Tax Reform’s Director of Budget and Regulatory Policy Mattie Duppler spoke with Chris Salcedo on WBAP’s Chris Krok Show. Mattie joined the Dallasradio show to discuss how Obama’s progressive budget plan and complex tax code has led to a weakened economy. Hear Mattie explain why taxpayers need a simpler tax code that stimulates the economy and promotes American job growth:

Affiliates and Friends News Roundup for April 17, 2014

Posted on Thursday, April 17th, 2014, 12:03 AM PERMALINK

Cost of Government Center: Has Breaking Bad Inspired Misdirected Nanny State Action Among State Legislators? READ

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Networks Fret Over IRS Budget Cuts, No Mention of Ongoing Scandal

Posted by Kyle Drennen on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014, 4:43 PM PERMALINK

On Monday, all three network morning shows found time to worry about IRS budget cuts meaning fewer audits and longer wait times for taxpayer assistance, but not one mentioned the ongoing scandal embroiling the agency, including Congress issuing a criminal referral for former IRS official Lois Lerner. [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

On ABC's Good Morning America, news anchor Amy Robach warned: "More tax evaders could slip through the cracks this year....we are learning the IRS will have the fewest agents auditing returns since the 1980s due to budget cuts and new IRS responsibilities." On Friday, ABC's World News covered the same story – while ignoring the House Ways and Means Committee calling for Lerner's prosecution.

On Monday's NBC Today, co-host Savannah Guthrie described the reduction in audits as "good news," but cautioned: "...beware, cutbacks also mean taxpayer services are taking a hit. Which means if you have to call the IRS, you're probably going to be waiting on the phone a long time."

CBS This Morning brought on business analyst Jill Schlesinger to offer a full report on the topic: "1.4 million folks were audited last year. That is the lowest level since 2005 and it has a lot to do with the budget cuts that we've seen at the IRS. We've seen the budget slashed by about 8% from 2010. So really deep cuts there."

Like Guthrie, This Morning co-host Gayle King saw the lack of audits as a positive: "What's the downside of the budget cuts? Because to hear that there are going to be less audits does not seem like a downside."

Schlesinger emphasized the reduction in taxpayer services:

The downside is, if you need service, you're in trouble. The IRS gets a hundred million phone calls, okay? That's just astounding. And of those phone calls, only 61% of people got through. That's down dramatically. 87% got through ten years ago. How about the average hold time? You call the IRS, your average hold time, it's 17.6 minutes. Ten years ago, it was 2.6 minutes.

At the end of the segment, Schlesinger lamented the unlikelihood of the IRS budget being increased: "And you know what? The funny thing is that the President is trying to argue for an increase to the IRS budget. And he's arguing for a 10% increase in that budget. Do you know what the chances are of that going through? I'm going to guess. Okay, zero."

Schlesinger didn't bother connecting the dots between IRS corruption and Congress being unwilling to increase the tax agency's budget.

Similarly, the ABC, NBC, and CBS Sunday shows all skipped the latest developments in the IRS scandal.

Here is a full transcript of Schlesinger's April 14 report:

7:33 AM ET

NORAH O'DONNELL: Now to taxes. Just one day left before this year's tax filing deadline, but now the IRS says your chance of an audit is lower than it's been in years after nearly $1 billion in budget cuts in 2010. CBS News business analyst Jill Schlesinger is with us. Jill, good morning.


[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Taxing the IRS; Budget Cuts Mean Fewer Audits, Less Help]

O'DONNELL: So with fewer dollars and fewer people at the IRS, who are they going to target?

SCHLESINGER: They're going after the wealthier taxpayers. So if you make more than a million bucks, your chance of an audit is at 11%. If it's over $200,000, 3.3%. But for everyone else, it's actually less than 1%. In fact, 1.4 million folks were audited last year. That is the lowest level since 2005 and it has a lot to do with the budget cuts that we've seen at the IRS. We've seen the budget slashed by about 8% from 2010. So really deep cuts there.

GAYLE KING: What's the downside of the budget cuts? Because to hear that there are going to be less audits does not seem like a downside.

SCHLESINGER: I know, you're sort of like, "Woo hoo!" Okay, how about-

KING: And I'm a taxpaying citizen, too.  

SCHLESINGER: Yes, and proud and patriotic.

KING: Yes, all of that.

SCHLESINGER: The downside is, if you need service, you're in trouble. The IRS gets a hundred million phone calls, okay? That's just astounding. And of those phone calls, only 61% of people got through. That's down dramatically. 87% got through ten years ago. How about the average hold time? You call the IRS, your average hold time, it's 17.6 minutes. Ten years ago, it was 2.6 minutes.

CHARLIE ROSE: So, what does it-

KING: And they say, "Your call is important to us."

SCHLESINGER: Yeah, I know it.

KING: I love that line.

ROSE: So what should one do if they're having trouble getting in touch with the IRS and they have serious questions?

SCHLESINGER: Well, I think the first thing is, you have to go to the website. And it is a robust website. They've got a searchable, very good site there.

Now, if you are a taxpayer and you really need help, there is a program that I want to talk about. It's called VITA, the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program. This is geared towards folks who make less than $52,000 a year, disabled people, people who may not speak English as their first language. The VITA program is very helpful. People should seek it out. And, of course, be patient if you're gonna call.

O'DONNELL: And of course there would be less phone calls if they would just simplify the tax code.

SCHLESINGER: Well, there's that problem, too. I mean, the tax code has actually gone crazy.

And you know what? The funny thing is that the President is trying to argue for an increase to the IRS budget. And he's arguing for a 10% increase in that budget. Do you know what the chances are of that going through? I'm going to guess. Okay, zero.

So we would expect that you're going to wait longer and you'll have to really be patient.

O'DONNELL: Thank you.

KING: Thank you, Jill. Good to see you.

Read more over at NewsBusters.org

About the Author: Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.

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Top Seven Reasons the IRS Shouldn't Do Your Taxes for You

Posted by Ryan Ellis on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014, 3:25 PM PERMALINK

There has been the usual tax day-related glut of articles from liberal publications urging a federal takeover of the tax preparation business.  As always, the ultra-left wing blog Pro Publica took the lead, followed predictably by outlets such as Slate, Vox, and Tax Analystsas well as respectable news outlets like Bloomberg View and Yahoo!.

The basic argument is always the same: the IRS has all this information on you anyway, so wouldn't it just be easier and better if they simply prepared your taxes for you?  Wouldn't that be better than having to pay some rent-seeking middleman?  This flawed line of thinking fools many a reporter this time of year, but it's refuted pretty easily once you scratch beneath the surface. 

Below are the top seven reasons the IRS should not prepare your taxes for you:

1. There already is a "Free File" program that most taxpayers are eligible for.  This is the dirty little secret that the wonky Left doesn't want you to know.  Since 2003, the IRS has partnered with the tax preparation industry to give away tax prep software--for free--to that large bulk of Americans with straightforward tax returns.  This "Free File Alliance" can be used for over 100 million tax returns every year, should people want to use it.  In its history, it's been used over 40 million times, with a 98% customer satisfaction rate. In fact, 23 states have created their own Free File programs. As an indication of the program's success, use of the IRS Free File program is up 11% this tax season over last year according to IRS numbers. 

If the liberals pushing the IRS socialized tax prep idea were actually interested in a public policy solution, one which is already up and running and requires no new laws or regulations to implement, they would be recommending Free File every year.  The fact that they don't should tell you a lot about what their true motives are (i.e., having the IRS be a tax preparer who also has the stick of tax collection).

2. The IRS commissioner has said the agency can't do it--twice.  On two occasions just this year, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has publicly stated that the IRS isn't interested in preparing people's taxes, because it can't: 

On April 26, 2014, he told a Congressional committee, "We're not doing anything with that. It would take a long time to be able to do that."

Just today in Politico, he is quoted as saying, "We don’t have any plan to do that. (He laughed) We’re challenged enough with the things we have to do now, so there’s no work going on here at the IRS in that direction."

That's pretty good evidence that the IRS preparing your taxes is not only not possible--it's probably not a very good idea.

3. The biggest tax prep software company supports a radically-simplified tax system.  The underlying subtext of all these stories is that the tax preparation industry, and DIY software giant Intuit in particular, has been keeping down the obviously good idea for the IRS to prepare most people's taxes for them.  The reason, of course, is that the Intuits of the world want a complicated tax system so people have to keep buying their product every year.

Except that's not true.  Back in February, Intuit endorsed House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp's (R-Mich.) tax reform plan, saying, "Intuit is committed, like the chairman, to see the tax code simplified, reducing the burden on American taxpayers and small businesses.  This is a national policy imperative and Intuit looks forward to working with him and other policymakers of both parties across the Congress as the tax reform process moves forward."

The Camp plan, incidentally, would result in a system where 95 percent of families would be able to claim the standard deduction (up from about 70 percent today).  Presumably, a similar percentage would be eligible for Free File.

This should put to lie the sub-textual assumption that the tax preparation industry is against IRS tax preparation because they have an interest in a complicated tax code.  If these tired annual hobby horse articles were honest, they would acknowledge this and stop casting aspersions on companies that just aren't true.

If you want a simplified tax system, the solution is not the IRS preparing your tax return--the solution is for Congress to reform the tax code.

4. Have you noticed how much the IRS has begun to resemble the tax arm of a banana republic?  Lois Lerner's contempt of Congress citation.  Taxpayer-funded IRS conventions featuring Star Trek videos.  Agency targeting of non-profit applications that have "Tea Party" in the name.  Agency regulations of political speech by conservative non-profits.  

It's not as if the IRS had a lot of goodwill to build off of before this year's filing season.  But the last year has arguably been the worst one in the history of the agency.  Public confidence in the IRS took several devastating body-blows in the past year.

On what planet does it make sense for an agency that is daily redefining "politicized abuse of power" to also take over tax preparation for most of the country?  And against the explicit wishes and counsel of the guy who runs the place?

5. From the people who brought you healthcare.gov...The old joke used to be that, "if you like the Post Office, you'll love government-run healthcare."  The spectacular failure of healthcare.gov has proven that quip a bit of an understatement.

Combine this with just the latest bureaucratic overreach/unintended consequence/abuse of individual rights: the Social Security Administration trying to collect generations-old debts from the descendants of the long-dead targets of collection.  

And these folks think it's a good idea to build off this success and have the IRS prepare taxes for tens of millions of families?  No thanks.

6. Speaking of Obamacare, the IRS will soon be a partner in your healthcare.  Many people don't realize that the IRS is the agency with the second-biggest role in implementing Obamacare.  That's not only a very scary intrusion to people's lives (begging the question as to why it would also be a good idea to make them the nation's tax preparer, too)--it also costs money.

Every year for the past several years, the Obama Administration has asked Congress for a few billion dollars for the IRS to implement Obamacare.  That's not surprising, since the GAO reports that there are 47 Obamacare items on the IRS to-do list.  Congress, quite understandably given the Republican opposition to Obamacare and the IRS' squandering of its existing resources, has instead chosen to freeze the IRS budget at less than $12 billion annually. It's likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.

The thing is, Obamacare IS going to get implemented by the IRS.  It's the number one public policy goal of the Obama Administration.  With Obamacare resources crowding out everything else, there simply isn't any money left over to do a brand new system of IRS tax preparation, even it was a good idea (which it's not).  And have you heard of Free File?

7. The IRS has sent you a friend request.  Marketplace this week reported that the IRS has begun to do aggressive data mining of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others.  The goal is for them to find out as much information about taxpayers as possible to help with audits.  So, that's great.

People with good memories might remember a similar story from last year, when the IRS wanted to read all your email messages.

Needless to say, the IRS is not looking for extra tax deductions for you when they're doing this. Their goal is to increase tax revenue collections for the Treasury, plain and simple.

The bottom line.  These tired, annual articles from white collar lefty pseudo-academics living in the Beltway all ignore the really big story here: namely, that it's a giant conflict of interest for the IRS to determine your tax liability, and then to be able to seize your wages and assets in order to collect that tax liability.  To ignore that is to be criminally-naive about the way the IRS goes about its business.  It betrays either a lack of knowledge of how the tax system actually works, or it's a giant con job by people whose common cause with the IRS is growing the size of government.

Demonizing the tax prep industry doesn't change any of the arguments from above.  It does, however, provide a thin shield of self-righteousness for what is otherwise a fool's errand.

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You forgot that they can't even answer correctly the questions they get from taxpayers. If they don't even know the tax code how could they possibly be qualified to prepare someones taxes for them?