By Jeff Charles | 1:00 PM on January 11, 2023
Here we go again.
In the latest political theatrical production, the actors and actresses of the House Republican Theater Troupe have donned their costumes, applied their makeup, and sauntered onto the stage to pretend like they care about the welfare of their constituents. The title of this play is “Let’s Abolish the IRS” and it has already been greeted with fanfare and enthusiasm among the conservative chattering class.
Fox News reported:
Republicans in the House of Representatives will vote on a bill that would abolish the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), eliminate the national income tax and replace it with a national consumption tax.
Fox News Digital has learned that the House will be voting on Georgia Republican Rep. Buddy Carter’s reintroduced Fair Tax Act that aims to reel in the IRS and remove the national income tax, as well as other taxes, and replace them with a single consumption tax.
The vote on the bill was made as part of the deal between House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and members of the House Freedom Caucus and was pushed forward in his quest for the gavel last week.
Rep. Carter issued a press release to Fox News declaring that “Cosponsoring this Georgia-made legislation was my first act as a Member of Congress and is, fittingly, the first bill I am introducing in the 118th Congress.”
“Instead of adding 87,000 new agents to weaponize the IRS against small business owners and middle America, this bill will eliminate the need for the department entirely by simplifying the tax code with provisions that work for the American people and encourage growth and innovation,” the lawmaker added.
Such a measure is quite ambitious. The notion that the IRS could be dismantled has excited those on the right end of the political spectrum while terrifying those on the state-loving left.
But not everyone is enthused by this development, believing this performance is just that: Political theater intended to titillate the masses. It is being panned as yet another disingenuous effort to pander to the Republican base and conservative movement without actually having to do something to earn their precious votes.
My colleague Brandon Morse summed it up nicely on Twitter, referring to it as “The Republican version of bread and circuses.”
RedState’s Bonchie acknowledged that this move was mere theater, but struck a more optimistic tone:
Yeah, it’s theater. But it’s also not just some random repeal bill, though. It’s the Fair Tax, a long-held conservative plan that is finally getting a real vote. Things getting votes give them publicity and there can be value in that.
For those who have been involved in the conservative movement for more than a decade, we have seen this performance before, haven’t we? Republicans make soaring promises. They even introduce legislation addressing issues their voters have raised time and time again – only for it to mean absolutely nothing in the end.
Remember when Republicans were screaming from the rooftops about how they would repeal and replace Obamacare if we deigned to give them our votes? “Just give us the White House and both chambers of Congress and we will get it done,” they promised.
Conservative voters gave the party a Republican president and both chambers of Congress in 2017, expecting them to deliver on their promise.
But they failed.
In fact, they didn’t even have much of a plan with which to replace Obamacare when they took office. The entire process of hammering out a piece of legislation was sloppy and embarrassing. In the end, they did not get it done, nor did they even bother to try again. After all was said and done, they treated their base as political chumps once again.
Conservatives, there is absolutely no reason to believe this current lineup will ever abolish the IRS or create a fairer tax system. They are pushing this bill because they know it has no chance of passing. They will use it as a tool to get you to give them your votes again in the upcoming elections. They will repeat their typical refrain which goes something like: “Give us the White House and both chambers of Congress and we will insert empty promise here.”
If the past is any indication, when Republicans do control the executive and legislative branches, they will do nothing to ease the tax burden on the citizenry. They might cut some corporate taxes here and there just to make it appear as if they are doing something – but it makes no sense to expect more of these people. Even further, I’m sure we can finally acknowledge that the GOP has no intention of rolling back the state at this point, right?
Bonchie raised a good point when he noted how this gets the IRS issue into the spotlight. This is the only positive takeaway I can recognize at the moment. It gives us a chance to discuss and debate the issue and hopefully change more minds on the matter. But there is no reason to expect the GOP – and certainly not the Democrats – to shrink the size of government much less abolish the IRS. Perhaps it is time for us to take a new approach.
Jeff Charles is the host of “A Fresh Perspective” podcast. He is a contributor for RedState, Liberty Nation, and Newsweek Opinion and is the founder of “The Smattering,” a political satire site.
Jeff is also a freelance writer and political contributor who has appeared on Fox News, The Hill’s “Rising,” Fox Soul, and the First TV Network.
He enjoys reading, binging TV shows, learning to play the banjo (badly), and all things nerdy.
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