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John Oliver and Michael Bolton want you to know that the IRS is in trouble

Nobody likes tax collectors—and nobody wants to fund them, either.


Eric Geller


Posted on Apr 13, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 2:26 am CDT

Nobody likes paying their taxes, but as Supreme Court justice Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” Last Week Tonight host John Oliver wants us to know that as much as we demonize the tax collectors at the IRS, their work is important—and it’s getting harder to do.

It’s common knowledge that Congress gives more popular programs more money. It’s equally common knowledge that the Internal Revenue Service is unpopular. As a result, the IRS’ budget and staff have been slashed in recent years, complicating the agency’s difficult but crucial mission.

To offset the boredom that sets in as soon as one uses the acronym “IRS,” Oliver recruited singer Michael Bolton to lay out the agency’s woes in the form of a song.

If this doesn’t galvanize public support for the IRS, we’re not sure what will.

Screengrab via Last Week Tonight with John Oliver/YouTube

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*First Published: Apr 13, 2015, 8:27 am CDT