So, Mike Huckabee just had an ad on Fox News Channel in which he vowed to abolish the Internal Revenue Service. How very Ron Paul-esque, pandering to disgruntled taxpayers during the heart of tax season.
Here's the skinny: If a politician tells you he (or she) is going to replace the current income tax system with a federal sales tax or flat tax system thus abolishing the IRS, he's playing you. The US government, like every other government everywhere on the planet, requires money in order to operate. One can argue -- fairly -- that the government frequently spends money unwisely and wastefully, but no reasonable person can argue that the government has no authority to collect money from its citizens to spend on the behalf of those citizens. And some instrument of the government must exist to collect that money.
Sure, the IRS would likely be reduced in size if the tax structure were simplified and tax enforcement became less of an issue. But to claim that a simplified tax structure would eliminate the need for the IRS (or a similar organ of another name) is to play us for fools.