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How Would IRS Respond to Tax Boycott?

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," May 29, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: Here is Mark Everson. He is the former commissioner from the IRS from 2003 to 2007.

Boy, this thing got out of hand. You know what? We should have somebody who knows what they do to you if you do this. I mean, look at him. He is completely humorless right now.

Welcome, Mark. How are you are, sir?

MARK EVERSON, FORMER IRS COMMISSIONER: I'm doing well. Thanks for having me on.

BECK: What happens to people who would consider doing this?

EVERSON: Well, let me first say, if I can, respond to the setup piece. I share the frustration. The country has way too much debt and the projections for more debt are just sort of staggering, even The Washington Post today said it's — the budgets are simply unaffordable. So, there's a serious issue.

But the right way to get at it is not to resist paying your taxes. It's to vote. It's to participate in the electoral process.

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BECK: Right. And, Mark —

(CROSSTALK)

BECK: I agree with you 100 percent, I do. But let me just voice what people would be shouting that would buy into what the Coach said yesterday. What people would be shouting at right now, and that is, "I have voted, and I voted for a Republican and then I voted for a Democrat, or I voted the other way around and I get the same thing, out-of-control spending. And they won't listen in Washington."

EVERSON: Yes, I share that frustration as a citizen and a taxpayer. And I think that there will need to be a line drawn. But noncompliance, willful noncompliance is not the answer.

If you look at what's happening in the country right now, there is a great deal of concern about the debt. Look at the bond markets. I know you have covered this, Glenn, and this will increase instability in our system, not reduce it, if people start to be non-compliant.

Now, what will happen? The government will react and it will hold people accountable. The IRS will work with the Justice Department and people will do time in prison. And it's nice to incite people and say, "Go to jail and say this will change," but I think that would be a stiff price to pay.

BECK: Yes.

EVERSON: I would also say that in this area — this is not like hardened drug dealers where you throw one kid in the slammer and the next day there is another kid on the street corner pushing the crack. The government deterrents and enforcement programs will work if you actually demonstrate properly that you're sending people off to jail, I think you will get compliance.

BECK: Well, I think this is another reason, though, why people are willing to even entertain this, is because the government has demonstrated with Charlie Rangel, with Tim Geithner, with Tom Daschle — with how many people here just recently, they don't do anything. If you're a special person, if you happen to be in the right crowd, if you happen to be in Tim Geithner's case — you know, the only guy that can fix the economy — well, then, you cannot pay your taxes and they don't really bother you at all.

Don't you think that adds to the —

EVERSON: Well, I do think —

BECK: I mean, that adds to the frustration and people like, "Why the hell should I pay when these guys aren't paying?"

EVERSON: There is no doubt that some of the appointments or potential appointments contributed to some cynicism. And I do think the administration — it misjudged the impact of this.

It is a little bit like those of us who remember the '88 election and people were saying — the Dukakis campaign was saying, oh, this bit about the Pledge of Allegiance is not attacking the Democrats and that folks wouldn't react to it, it wasn't real, they're too sophisticated. Well, somebody misunderstood the impact.

Americans — average Americans pay their taxes. They do comply. We've got the best system in the world. They don't like it when others don't comply, and the administration — the administration stumbled. They used their get out of free — get-out-jail free pass on Geithner, and lost Daschle.

BECK: May I ask a question?

EVERSON: That's what happened.

BECK: May I ask you a question?

EVERSON: Yes, sir.

BECK: You — I believe — were you the commissioner of the IRS when Geithner had his problems?

EVERSON: No.

BECK: OK.

EVERSON: Geithner — when you...

(CROSSTALK)

EVERSON: I'm sorry. Maybe I don't understand the question.

BECK: When he had his original problem — when he was working for the IMF and he was signing that deal quarterly, that says, "Here's the money, send it to the IRS, by signing this, you acknowledge this has got to go to the IRS," he did that, along with several other things. After the first investigation, I think this guy is completely dishonest on that.

Do you think that I would have been treated that way had I done that or the "Average Joe" would have been treated that way by the IRS?

EVERSON: Well, look — I'm not going to comment on the secretary of the treasury's —

(CROSSTALK)

BECK: Yes, you know why? Because he will be at your house and my house with the jackboots!

EVERSON: Look, the IRS — and when you're the commissioner, you're running the agency. You're not looking at individual returns, as you can imagine. But everybody — I can assure you and assure the American people that the service strives to be fair and consistent. It has audit standards that are triggered by formula and research that are done and it picks out the returns that it sees as having likely problems and then it follows up accordingly.

BECK: OK. Mark, I —

EVERSON: It doesn't treat you differently.

BECK: I appreciate it and I know your service, sir. I know the fact that you actually are extremely concerned about the spending in this country, and I appreciate you being on and being honest with us.

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