The IRS commissioner has a message for Republicans: You can’t get rid of us.
After his prepared remarks Tuesday at the National Press Club, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said “Somebody has to collect the money,” according to The Hill.
Koskinen opened his speech by joking, “The complexity of the tax code is not my fault,” then focused on the complexity of the tax code, and the truly gargantuan nature of America’s tax collector, which now also administers Obamacare penalties.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the first publicly declared Republican presidential candidate, has long endorsed abolishing the IRS and replacing it with a flat tax.
Speaking at a brunch in Greenland, N.H., Sunday, Cruz reiterated his support for a flat tax, and a repeal of Obamacare.
“Being a federal employee, our options are limited under this terrible law,” he said, according to the Washington Post. “There are all sorts of laws I oppose that I nonetheless follow. I support a flat tax, but that doesn’t mean I refuse to pay my taxes in the meantime.”
Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, a Republican with libertarian roots, has also endorsed a flat tax. He said, “the IRS is too big, too powerful, and we absolutely should scrap the code.” Paul is widely expected to join the 2016 presidential race.
Koskinen expressed sympathy with taxpayer frustrations.
“I think that’s a lot of what’s behind, you know, ‘get rid of the IRS.’ It’s really ‘get rid of this complicated tax code.’ And to that extent, I think that’s a reasonable goal,” he said.
But he brushed aside any suggestion of abolishing the tax collector.
“You can call them something other than the IRS if that made you feel better.”
With over 87,000 employees and a $12 billion budget, Koskinen can be forgiven if he’s a bit biased.
Conservatives reacted strongly on Twitter.
— Instapundit.com (@instapundit) April 1, 2015
Meanwhile, Cruz’s supporters are more determined than ever.
— #CruzCrew Ted Cruz45 (@tedcruz45) March 31, 2015
— Patriotic American (@US_P8triot) April 1, 2015
— Say No to the TTIP (@kencampbell66) April 1, 2015