What do you get when you cross Milton Friedman's 'negative income tax' welfare streamlining scheme, 'compassionate' conservative and liberal political sentimentalism, an idiotic sense of 'consistency' and a blind obsession with it, an inane grasping for additional sources of income by politicians, and, perhaps the most stupid policy ever enacted by any government, anywhere, for all time -- self-reported income taxation?
Answer: welfare and tax fraud on a massive scale.
I might be tempted to get angry if I weren't already in a state of complete exhaustion with this kind of thing. But really, what can you say? What kind of place instates policies where people self-report their own taxable possessions, and then is surprised when people report fraudulently?
A place that is doomed. Even public schoolteachers know better than to let students grade their own papers. People like to say that the establishment of the income tax was a critical turning point in the ruining of America. There is some truth in that, but I think that with respect to such ideas, the actual turning point comes when the idea begins to sound reasonable to enough people.
Socialism never actually ruined a place, I suspect. But ruined people find appeal in ideas like socialism.