Conservatives for Tax Frustration

There are two different things that make paying taxes undesirable. One is that after you pay taxes, you have less money. The other is that the act of paying can be annoying and stressful. Normal people, such as myself and Felix Salmon, favor steps to make taxpaying less annoying on the grounds that that would be less annoying. But Ed Felten says he wants to become annoyed and frustrated when he pays a tax or a fee, because “those are just the emotions I want to cultivate toward the entire enterprise” of financing government.

Well fair enough. But as the tax season is upon us, I do want people to understand that paying taxes is as annoying as it is largely because right-wing ideologues deliberately make it as annoying as possible. It would be fairly simple for the IRS to mail people “pre-completed” forms, subject to the taxpayers’ review and correction. Rich people would still want to hand their documents over to an account for analysis, but for normal people you’d just read the thing over and sign. But a coalition of tax preparation firms and outfits like Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform always stands in the way.


CORRECTION: That should be Eric Felten who wrote the op-ed.

Share Update