Each year $400 billion in personal and business taxes are left uncollected due to inadequate enforcement capacity. Hiring more IRS auditors is both good policy and good politics, writes Jack Metzgar in this week’s Working-Class Perspectives post.
Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson in their recent book American Amnesia report that for every dollar spent on tax law enforcement the government gets $6 in additional revenue – and even better, if the new auditors were told to focus on high-income groups where most outright fraud and evasion occurs, the return is $47 for each $1 spent on hiring tax collectors. To hire 50,000 new IRS workers to focus on getting the rich to pay what they legally owe, I figure, might cost about $3.5 billion but could produce some $150 billion in new revenue. Why wouldn’t we do that?
With that additional revenue, the government could invest in a 10-year infrastructure program like the one Bernie Sanders wants, including investments in producing and installing green energy technology. This would create 1.3 million jobs a year, mostly in manufacturing and construction. Why wouldn’t we do that?
The Working-Class Perspectives blog is brought to you by our Visiting Scholar for the 2015-16 academic year, John Russo, and Georgetown University English professor, Sherry Linkon. It features several regular and guest contributors.