Tax collectors don't change much through the ages.

In the 17th Century, Louis XIV's finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, famously said that the art of taxation involved plucking the goose so as to get the most feathers with the least hissing. More recently, Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Mark Everson suggested in a speech that, in any attempt at tax reform (such as that currently being investigated by President Bush's advisory panel), "policy options should be carefully assessed for their potential impact on attitudes towards compliance."

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