In an interview on the Fox Business Network, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, conjured up this specter of "armed bureaucrats," then, in the spirit of vividness, turned them into "16,500 thugs coming with their guns and putting you in jail if you (don't) follow all the rules."
It's hard to know where to begin unpacking this claim.
First, IRS "bureaucrats" — auditors, agents and other enforcement personnel, are seldom armed.
To Corrections, Paul appears quite correct. While auditors, agents, and other enforcement personnel of the IRS may not be armed, failure to comply with their orders will result in armed law enforcement officers coming to one's door. Taxes come from political power, and political power, as Chairman Mao noted in Chapter 5 of his Little Red Book, grows out of the barrel of a gun. This is a fundamental distinction between government and other institutions, and one that Austrian Economists especially are not hesitant to make.
The Tribune's correction is in need of a correction. Paul is quite correct in what he is stating.