Paul Greenberg

For the average American family, filling out a tax form has become like attacking a puzzle to which, often enough, there is no right answer. But we're all supposed to swear, on penalty of perjury, that we've done our best to find it.

What to do? Don't mend it, end it. Abolish the tax code and start all over. Think about it: Would anybody starting from scratch come up with a system so byzantine, so counterproductive, so insane as the one we're stuck with? Well, maybe Rube Goldberg.

So why not opt for a clean break with the past?

Yes, kill the monster. Drive it through. Abolish the Internal Revenue Code and begin anew.

Put this thing out of its misery and the taxpayer's. By a date certain. Say, December 31, 2013. The government would have until then to come up with a simpler, fairer substitute.

At this point, it would be easier to junk the U.S. tax code and start all over than to fix it, and certainly to understand it.

To rephrase a thought from Dr. Johnson, nothing so wonderfully concentrates the mind as the prospect of having to file your taxes by midnight tonight. Or get an extension and so succeed only in prolonging the pain.

First kill the Internal Revenue Code, and the way to create a simpler, fairer system might become clearer to all those politicians, bureaucrats and other unimaginative types who now say it just can't be done. But it can be.

There is no time like the present to abolish the Internal Revenue Code. Which is pretty much what I wrote on Tax Day in 2004 and 2006 and 2008 ... and just about every year since. And now have said so again on this Tax Day.

Never. never, never, never give up. Don't believe those who can always be counted on to do nothing about even the longest-running outrages. Just abolish the old tax code and the politicians in Washington would have to devise a new, better, simpler one. From scratch. They'll want to get paid, won't they?

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.