Even conservative economists agree that creating jobs, rather than reducing federal spending, should be our priority. At the same time, Congress won’t raise taxes, close loopholes or borrow money to stimulate job growth. What’s a country to do?
Here’s an idea: Double the IRS staff so it can go after wealthy and corporate tax cheats. Everyone knows our tax structure favors the rich. We also know that corporations and rich folk hold no special regard for paying taxes, but the tax code does give them more opportunities to scheme. Every IRS agent hired to audit wealthy andcorporate tax returns would surely recover more in unpaid taxes then their annual salary, so the plan costs us nothing. When companies like GE make billions in profits, submit a 22,000 page tax return and claim to owe nothing, the IRS could actually scrutinize that claim. When the ultra-rich stuff hundereds of fancy deductions in their returns, the IRS might then have the staff to see if each deduction is actually allowed. The battle to raise taxes on millionaires or close corporate loopholes is hopeless in this current Congress, but President Obama could hire special IRS auditors now. Just collecting what corporations and the super rich really owes might bring in enough revenue to get the rest of us back to work.
(My letter to the editor first published on August 17, 2011)