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Monday, 10 June 2013 10:00

The Right Wing Wants to Eliminate IRS to Impose Flat Tax

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IRSA Tea Party protest in May 2013 against the IRS. (Photo: Jeffery Scism)BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Anyone who has followed right wing movements over the past several decades, or even the past few months, could have anticipated the most recent wrinkle in the still-developing IRS scandal; the call to abolish the IRS. While advocating eliminating the IRS is nothing new -- former Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) has pushed that idea for years -- shortly before a House Appropriation Committee hearing, Senator Ted Cruz picked up the abolish the IRS standard tweeting: “Mr. President, if your #1 priority is fixing the problem, let's abolish the #IRS

Over the past weekend, Cruz, channeling his inner Steve Forbes -- an early and often supporter of the flat tax -- told Fox News: “I think we ought to abolish the IRS and instead move to a simple flat tax where the average American can fill out taxes on postcard. Put down how much you earn, put down a deduction for charitable contributions, home mortgage and how much you owe. It ought to be a simple one-page postcard, and take the agents, the bureaucracy out of Washington and limit the power of government.”

Cruz’s advocacy is aimed at not only pushing for a flat tax , but also doing away with Obamacare. Cruz is being joined by Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who recently announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, and who is also looking to do away with Obamacare. “Since there’ll be no #IRS, any new entity won’t have mandate to enforce Obamacare,” Cassidy said.

And Joe Miller, the Republican Party Senatorial candidate who lost the Alaska Senate race to write-in candidate Lisa Murkowski, and who recently filed to run for the Senate in 2014, is also calling for the IRS to be abolished.

“I think there’s a major opportunity, given the scandal at the IRS, to really get at trying to abolish that agency,” Miller told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto on Thursday in an exclusive interview. “I think Americans are now more open to that than ever before.”

At the Abolish The IRS website, which is paid for by the Alexandria, Virginia-based Senate Conservatives Fund – founded by former Republican Senator Jim DeMint, who now heads up the Heritage Foundation -- you can listen to a snippet of a video from Cruz, and sign its Abolish The IRS petition:

“The IRS unlawfully targeted conservative groups to silence the president’s critics in the middle of an election. This is a chilling abuse of power and we need to make sure it never happens again.”

“It’s time to abolish the IRS!”

“We need to reform our tax system so the IRS no longer has an army of agents to police every aspect of our lives. We need a tax code that is simple, fair, flat, and that protects our freedoms.”

There is an Abolish the IRS Facebook page with a banner headline reading “Don’t Steal! IRS hates the competition.” Articles posted on the site include: “IRS steals 60 million medical records from California residents,” by Lance Johnson; “Communist Manifesto 10 Planks,” which points out that “The IRS is the second plank.”; and, a Washington Times pieces titled “Ron Paul: Fix IRS by shutting it ‘once and for all.’”

“Obamacare puts the IRS on steroids,” DeMint said during an appearance on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren”

“It opens the door for the IRS to come into all of our lives.”

Filling in for Rush Limbaugh, conservative columnist Mark Steyn “called for completely overhauling how the federal government collects taxes, including requiring judicial approval for certain actions,” The Daily Caller reported.

“One thing that should change, by the way: I’m not just sounding off when I say the IRS should be dissolved,” Steyn said. “For start, its name is rubbish. It’s not the ‘Internal’ Revenue Service. Most revenue services around the world, revenue agencies, are actually internal. In Britain it used to be called the Inland Revenue [& Customs] because it referred to income that you brought within the borders of the United Kingdom. And when countries have revenue agencies called ‘inland’ and ‘internal,’ it refers to the fact you bring it within the borders of Sweden or you bring it within the borders of New Zealand. The IRS claims global jurisdiction. It’s one of only five countries. It’s like Somaliland and a couple of others that also do.”

“Conservative Action Alerts,” an email newsletter sent out on Wednesday, June 5, is headlined “ALERT: Sen. Ted Cruz calls for the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service. Fax Congress and tell them to ABOLISH the I.R.S.!”

Calling Cruz’s proposal to abolish the IRS the “boldest” statement yet, the Alert is concerned that once the IRS investigations are over, the agency will get away with “a series of wrist-slapping measures”: “While investigations are important to bring justice to the current strain of I.R.S. abuses, no investigation will prevent the I.R.S. from being used as a bludgeon against Washington's political enemies in the future. Simply, investigations and reform are examples of "hacking at the branches of evil" - they fail to strike the root.”

At the end of the Conservative Action Alerts there’s a note stating: “Conservative Action Alerts (CAA) is a media outlet protected by the first amendment; no financial contribution to support our efforts is tax-deductible. Diener Consultants, Inc., 10940 S Parker Rd Ste# 763, PARKER, CO 80284-7440.”

Some of the contributors to the site are longtime conservative activists including Ron Arnold, president of the Center for the Defense of free Enterprise and a well-known anti-environmentalist; Doug Wead, an advisor to President George H.W. Bush and later, advising George W. Bush and Ron Paul‘s presidential campaign; and Michael Peroutka, the Constitution Party’s 2004 candidate for President; Co-Founder of Institute on the Constitution (IOTC) in Pasadena, Maryland.

The Conservative Action Alert ends by citing the work of Garet Garrett, an anti-New Deal journalist who was a darling of the John Birch Society. In his 1952 pamphlet “Ex America,” Garrett wrote:

"This idea was not only European, it was Marxian, one of the cardinal points of the Communist Manifesto. President Wilson disarmed opposition by saying the Federal government would use this power [to tax incomes], if at all, only in time of emergency and yet, as we now know, the obsequies of limited government ought then to have been performed. Only the intellectuals knew what it meant. Nobody else dreamed, least of all perhaps President Wilson, that the Federal income tax would be used not for revenue only, which was until then the only kind of taxation Americans knew, but for the purpose of redistributing the national wealth from the top downward, according to European ideas of social amelioration."

While few expect the “Abolish the IRS” campaign to actually achieve its stated goal of eliminating the IRS, the slogan alone is worth thousands of dollars in donations to organizations like Conservative American Alerts and to politicians like Ted Cruz and Rep. Bill Cassidy and Alaska’s Joe Miller.