Wednesday, February 11, 2015


I agree with most of the statements made in the video. The only issue I think needs more attention is the IRS. The tax code is several thousand pages long, to the point that no one person knows what is in the tax code. The law states that ignorance of the law is no excuse, and yet it is actually impossible to be fully aware of what the law really is. Despite the complexity of the tax code, the IRS audits roughly 1% of all filers. If the tax code were 1% of its current size (about 1,000 pages), then perhaps the IRS would be able to perform audits on 100% of filers.

How long does that tax code need to be? Why are there so many special cases and opportunities for corruption? Couldn't a simple graduated scale be implemented in a short 10 pages, or even a single page? Would it even take one paragraph to implement a flat tax? One sentence?

Part of my obsession with simplicity stems from my computer science background, in which simple code is greatly preferred to complex codes. With simple codes, bugs are easy to find and the package is easy to use. With complex code, there is inevitably one developer who can actually do anything with the project. If he decides to stop supporting the project, then there's no use trying to salvage it; better to start over from scratch.

I think that's the state that we've reached now; the tax code is so complicated that we don't know how to simplify it beyond starting over.  I think that a simple tax code which everyone understands would be beneficial and generate more revenue than the current tax code.

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