The Corner

Politics & Policy

Hey — Why Not Squeeze Out Another Trillion for Uncle Sam?

In today’s Wall Street Journal, columnist William Galston argues that the feds could collect another trillion or so if only the IRS would hire some more tax officials.

It’s amazing to me that Professor Galston (and like-minded “progressives”) never stop to think about the opportunity costs of their proposals. Here’s the letter I sent off to the editors:

Perhaps in some future column, Mr. Galston would care to explain how it makes us better off for the government to spend still more on tax collectors (whose efforts produce nothing) to take more money away from the people who earned it. Those people would other wise spend, invest, or donate that money in accordance with their values and expectations. They stand to gain from making good decision or to lose from bad ones. Conversely, if we transfer that money into government coffers, it will be spent as politicians desire. Politicians have very different incentives and the results of their expenditures are often wasteful and even counterproductive.

Why does that transfer of resources make the country better off? To me, it appears to make us worse off.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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