The Myth of IRS Unpopularity

A blog about business and economics.
May 24 2013 9:46 AM

The Myth of IRS Unpopularity

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Given what's been in the news lately, it's no surprise that the IRS isn't very popular. But looking at this chart, I was amazed to see that pre-scandal, the American public took a pretty sunny view of the Internal Revenue Service.

That's very much contrary to the prevailing mythology in popular culture and politics that makes the public out to be a much of big-time haters. And I have to say that I think this shows a great deal of wisdom on the part of the American people. Nobody likes paying taxes and everyone wishes they had more money, but the fact that handing money over to the government isn't fun is hardly a sign of a poorly functioning agency. Based on what we knew in 2009, the IRS really did seem to be doing a good job of a difficult task. Based on what we know now, the IRS turns out to have been handling the tough job of regulating 501(c)(4)s pretty poorly.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.