I.R.S. Bluster About Tax Enforcement Mostly Hot Air

The Picket Line is a roll-your-own, home-made blog, using some simple CSS and PHP for layout and such. What it doesn’t have is a comments feature — and that’s a wheel I’m not interested in reinventing.

So what I’m wondering is if there’s some service out there that I can use to add this feature to The Picket Line. I don’t want to move the site as a whole over to blogspot or livejournal or what have you — ideally I’d like to be able to put a “comments” link at the bottom of each Picket Line entry and have that link to an interactive comments thread for that entry hosted externally to The Picket Line.

Any recommendations?

Update: At first I tried Haloscan and it worked well for a while, but then abruptly cut off its free plan. I’ve since switched over to Disqus, but sadly lost the many Haloscan comments during the transition. I think I’ve managed to recover most of them, but some may be gone forever.

Every year around this time, the IRS floods the media with press releases, indictments and such designed to show that this time, for realsies they’re going to be cracking down seriously on people who try any sneaky stuff.

But this year the trumpeting has been interrupted by a sour note from the citizen Oversight Board in the form of a report that says all this bluster isn’t matched by effective action.

The report notes that President Bush’s proposed budget for represents “ in which the administration has called for I.R.S. staff increases while not covering pay raises or required expenses.”

“As a result,” it said, “the administration’s proposed increase” for “will erode before new employees can be hired, more taxpayer phone calls answered or new audits of possible tax cheats can be conducted.”

On average each year, 1,450 tax-law enforcement jobs were proposed but not created, the Oversight Board said, because of what it characterized as unrealistic budget proposals. It estimated that the I.R.S. would have slightly fewer employees in than in despite growing numbers of taxpayers.

“Now is a critical time for our tax system to be strengthened, not merely maintained at current levels,” it said, adding that its research had found that growing numbers of Americans “believe it is acceptable to cheat on their taxes.”…

It is “highly unlikely,” the report said, that the additional 1,963 employees proposed in the president’s budget would be hired because the money will instead be spent on pay raises, rent increases and other costs.…

The board said that while the proposed 4.6 percent I.R.S. budget increase was far more than what departments other than the Pentagon and Homeland Security would receive, it was not enough because tax cheating continued to rise even faster.