* Alexia Fernández Campbell reports on the staggering amount of taxes the government is failing to collect every year:
Millions of Americans are simply not paying their taxes. For about every 30 taxpayers who file their tax returns each year, there’s one business or household that doesn’t. The amount of money they collectively owe is not trivial — about 14 million taxpayers owed $131 billion in taxes and penalties to the federal government in 2017, according to the latest IRS data.
Those numbers have skyrocketed in recent years. Since 2002, the number of taxpayers who owe money to the IRS has tripled, and so has the amount of unpaid taxes. Economic hardship during the Great Recession had a lot to do with it, but endless budget cuts to the IRS have made it impossible for the agency to make sure everyone pays their fair share. While the amount of unpaid taxes is going up, tax crime investigations have been falling for the past five years.
Some of the worst offenders are businesses who pocket payroll taxes, according to the inspector general for the Treasury’s Tax Administration. Thousands of employers are getting away with tax embezzlement each year, the IRS watchdog warned back in 2017, and that probably won’t change unless employers face jail time.
You’d think conservatives who are concerned about waste, fraud and abuse would want to recover that $131 billion a year. But no — it’s the war on the IRS they began years ago that brought us to this point.
* Amber Phillips has a detailed road map to what’s ahead, once Attorney General Barr releases a (likely very heavily) redacted version of the Mueller report, and Democrats go to court to try to get the whole thing.
* Jedediah Britton-Purdy considers the rebuilding of Notre Dame as a representation of civilization itself.