Stop tax cheats: pay bounties

Back in the 1970s, the US government paid bounties to citizens who identified big polluters and helped bring them to justice. Some of those bounties helped found the Riverkeeper organization that keeps watch on the Hudson River to this day. Those bounties helped make water and air much cleaner.

In the twenty-teens we have another situation where government needs help: keeping taxpayers, especially large taxpayers, honest. Propublica’s journalists Jesse Eisinger and Paul Kiel wrote this up last April 6.  The IRS is often forced to back down from trying to collect taxes from gigawealthy people, because they don’t have the staff or the money to match their opponents.

Here’s a proposal: Offer bounties to citizens who help pursue these cases. A 15% bounty on a back-tax bill of a billion dollars is a pretty good incentive.

Obviously, the US Federal Government is corrupt–in the pockets of gigawealthy people–and won’t implement this proposal anytime soon. But, it’s worth considering if the corruption situation changes.

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