smaller government is not always good

It's axiomatic that corporations are amoral (note, I did not say "immoral"). If they see a way to avoid paying their share of taxes, for example, then they will. And while Democrats may be sometimes characterized as "tax and spend", the GOP is equally characterized as "spend". The one guarantee of GOP control is that the federal givernment will have less money, but only the highly gullible will believe that this will result in less spending (after all, GOP senators dine on pork as vigorously as do their Dem counterparts).

With this in mind, the Slate article on the impending deficits is worth reading for this excerpt:

Meanwhile, it's difficult to read the shift in congressional control as anything but a green light for tax avoidance. Buried amid the campaign talk yesterday was a New York Times article in which outgoing Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Charles Rossotti lamented that his agency is unequipped to deal with the growing army of wealthy and sophisticated tax cheats. "Basically, demands and resources are going in the opposite direction," said Rossotti. "This is systematically undermining one of the most important foundations of the American economy." What's more, the Bush administration had prohibited Rossotti from telling a congressional hearing that the IRS couldn't do its job with the funds it had.

All those who think that Bush will replace Rossotti with a pit bull and then grant him the resources he needs to pursue tax cheaters aggressively, raise your hands. (The deficit the administration helped create is the perfect excuse not to bolster watchdog agencies like the IRS and the SEC.)

With the corporate scandals having proved irrelevant at the polls, the Republican-controlled Senate now has little incentive to crack down on companies or individuals going offshore to avoid taxes, or on accounting firms constructing sketchy tax shelters. Already, corporations have been paying a declining share of taxes�a mere $144 billion last year. While the profits they report to investors have risen steadily, the income taxes paid by corporations have fallen. In 2002, the corporate income tax raised 22 percent less than it did in 1997.

Expect to see more tax cheats and Enrons in the near future. With a defanged SEC and IRS, it's unavoidable. Without givernment oversight and regulation, there won't be an honorable or ethical playing field.

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