There have been lots of stories this week about the Bush adminitsration threatrening to veto a bill that would stop the IRS from using private collection agencies to collect unpaid taxes, about how using the private collection agencies somehow has cost the government money, and how the IRS doesn't seem to have requested enough resources to provide outstanding customer service.
All of this follows what is now a perennial story about how the modernization of the IRS computer system is still going very badly, is way way behind schedule (as in a decade or more), and is costing far in excess of what had been projected.
What's going on here? Few Republicans in general (and expecially the Bush White House) want to do anything that will make the tax paying experience easier, simpler, and more pleasurable because IRS is more efficient.
The result of all of the issues mentioned above is that paying taxes is more difficult, time-consuming, and infuriating. That decreases support for paying taxes and increases the likelihood that tax cuts will be seen by a larger group of people as preferable.
If you're curious why it takes IRS 3-4 months to get the economic stimulus checks out the door look no further than the anti-tax community.
IRS, which supposedly has been modernizing its computer system for around two decades, never seems to get the job done. Part of the reason is that it's incredibly complex. Part of the reason is that there are administrative limits placed on the project from inside IRS that have made progress slow and painful at best.
OMB Watch has a small article about how the House yesterday passed legislation that would eliminate the current program where IRS contracts out tax collecting to a private contractor. OMB Watch also notes that the Bush administration is threatening to veto the bill.