The N&R does not carry the bad comic strip Mallard Fillmore, by Bruce Tinsley, but an alert reader sent me today's iteration, which seems to contain a gross misstatement of fact, followed by a sneer (from the eponymous duck) about the "mainstream media's" unwillingness to print the "fact."
The statement: "The costs of operating the tax system eat up an estimated 65 percent of every tax dollar collected from us."
As stated, that suggests that 65 cents of every dollar in tax revenue goes to operating the IRS and other state and local tax departments, with some ancillary costs perhaps included. This is obviously (to use a term from forensic economics) bullshit.
The statement is sourced to a James L. Payne, who writes for The American Enterprise. It seems to come from this article, which does include a 65% figure, but refers (however accurately, or not) to dollars collected for "subsidy" programs, not "every tax dollar collected from us," and includes a litany of conjectured expenses that have little to do with "operating the tax system."
Lesson: Don't trust talking ducks when they talk about taxes or the media.