The IRS Serves Its ‘Customers’ by Terrifying Them

As tax season begins, the IRS is making a show of using its newly expanded budget to improve the agency’s “customer service,” mainly by trying to answer the questions of perplexed taxpayers more than 13% of the time. Its biggest challenge will be persuading Americans that they qualify as customers of the IRS in any meaningful sense.

The IRS, after all, does not provide goods or services that anyone would voluntarily choose to buy. Its main function is separating people from their money, and its chief tool is fear, as illustrated by the $2.1 million penalty it imposed on an 82-year-old grandmother for failing to file a form on time.Monica Toth was born in Buenos Aires, where her Jewish father ended up after fleeing the Nazis in the mid-1930s. She immigrated to the United States in the early 1960s and eventually became a citizen.Toth’s father prospered as a businessman in Buenos Aires, and shortly befor …

U.S. National Debt

The current U.S. national debt: