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Privatizing the IRS

Christopher Brauchli

Here are two idioms that have no applicability to the United States Congress: “Once bitten, twice shy;” “The third time’s a charm.”

It was all brought to mind upon seeing the headline in the New York Times on January 10, 2018, a few short days before Congress decided it was easier to shut down the government than to legislate.  The headline announced that the I.R.S.  “paid $20 million to collect $6.7 million in Tax Debts.” At first blush the reader assumed this was a story that had somehow crept into the newspaper by mistake and escaped the attention of the articles editor.  The reader who thought that could be forgiven for being surprised at seeing the story.  That is because that story had appeared in the New York Times and other publications on two earlier occasions.