Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Dow Jones: IRS Would Play Starring Role In Health-Care Overhaul

Thomas Barthold, chief of staff on the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, told Grassley during a Finance panel session that the cost to IRS of hiring additional personnel to implement the health legislation is not counted in the official score of the bill. The JCT, he said, assumes that the IRS will do the best it can with the resources it already has.

Dow Jones: IRS Would Play Starring Role in Health-Care (hat tip: Paul Caron)

Brilliant, just brilliant! So this "no cost to implement--we'll just let the IRS do it" approach means that the IRS will have fewer resources available to do its primary job of collecting taxes. Talk about "creative financing." They don't seem to be counting the cost of the taxes that will go uncollected as a result of diverting IRS resources into a new job of overseeing health care.

Of course, this could all work beautifully....if ONLY Congress would get serious about simplifying the income tax code. If the tax code were simpler, the IRS wouldn't need so many people to do their basic job, and then they'd easily have the manpower to spare to run health care too. But as long as Congress continues to load on redundant provision after provision into the tax code (e.g., multiple different "flavors" of tax-advantaged savings plans for retirement, multiple flavors of savings plans for college, multiple different tax breaks for owner-occupied housing, etc.), the IRS is really overloaded already with more than enough to do.

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