Friday, March 28, 2014

Abolish the IRS

is what I saw on the bumper sticker in front of me this morning. Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion; but as I drove along behind her, I dreamed about having a conversation about that bumper sticker. Of course, given the way folks get worked up about their political opinions, I suspect that conversation would never be possible ... but still, I can dream. So, here's how I imagine that conversation going:

Me: So, you want to abolish the IRS?

Her: Absolutely, and without question.

Me: So, if we get rid of the IRS, who would collect taxes?

Her: That's part of the point - that money is mine, and the government shouldn't take it from me.

Me: But if the government doesn't collect taxes, how will the roads we drive on get built and maintained? How will the police and fire departments get paid? How will the government be funded?

Her: Neighborhoods and communities would band together to take care of their own neighborhoods, to take care of themselves. Plus, the government is too big anyway - we don't need nearly so much government infrastructure.

Me: You're advocating for smaller government?

Her: Yes.

Me: But still, even if the government is smaller, someone needs to collect taxes. Do we get rid of the one we have now (the IRS) in favor of another agency that we develop after abolishing the IRS?

Her: No. The government doesn't need to take my money from me.

Me: You're really advocating anarchy, then, right?

Her: No, not anarchy. I'm advocating neighborhoods and affinity groups banding together to take care of themselves instead of the government thinking they need to tell us what to do.

Me: OK, so neighbors band together to take care of their own roads, and their own sewer systems and their own police forces. How, then, would these things be paid for?

Her: Neighbors would make contributions to a fund to pay for them. 

Me: Well, you may be thinking on a smaller scale, but neighborhoods banding together to take care of themselves seems to me to be the definition of government. It seems to me to be a bad idea to abolish the IRS, or most other government agencies. Obviously some need reform. Obviously some don't work the way they ought to work. However, unless a person is advocating anarchy, it seems asenine to think it's a good idea to get rid of the IRS, especially when that sentiment is on a car that's driving down a road paid for with tax money.

Folks, that's the way the conversation would go in my head. And I'm not even considering the Christian values that we hold to care for one another, to be our brother's and sister's keeper.

It seems like I've set up a straw man to argue against - I have to be missing something from 'Her' side of the conversation, but can't imagine what it is. Someone, help me out in the comments section.


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