Sunday, January 11, 2009

Brilliant Idea from Robert Cringely

My proposal to end the recession will cost $20 billion, not $775 billion. I would allocate $20 billion in extra funding for federal tax compliance in the coming year. I’d also open-up such compliance enforcement to private firms. That’s the stick.

The carrot comes in the form of a quite specific form of one-time tax amnesty. Taxpayers who have shorted Uncle Sam will be asked to come forward and report their crimes, which will result in no additional tax payments or penalties – none. If you are a tax cheat and don’t come forward, that $20 billion will go toward hunting you down. If you are a tax cheat and do come forward but lie about the extent of your cheating, that $20 billion will be used against you, too, so there is a huge incentive to be honest and a large penalty for not being so. This is not a free lunch: you have to report IT ALL. That should be about $3 trillion for the last decade, remember.
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