Ted Cruz Is Correct, IRS Tax Code Has More Words Than Bible

Texas Senator Ted Cruz speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Maryland February 26, 2015.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor in Maryland February 26, 2015. | (Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque)

US Senator Ted Cruz was correct in his claim that the Internal Revenue Service's tax code has more words than the Holy Bible.

At a speech Tuesday before the International Association of Fire Fighters, the potential Republican presidential candidate said, "On tax reform, we, right now, have more words in the IRS code than there are in the Bible — not a one of them as good."

In a fact checking article for The Washington Post, Michelle Ye Hee Lee found that Cruz's comment was correct.

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"The literally translated King James Version of the Bible contains just over 800,000 words. There are as many as 3.7 million individual words in the IRS tax code," wrote Lee.

"… the fiscal 2016 federal budget document contains 73,000 words. The text of H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, contains about 385,000 words."

However, Lee also described the Cruz claim as being "a nonsense fact," described as a claim "that is technically correct but ultimately meaningless."

"Cruz makes the point that tax policies need to be drastically simplified, and many Americans likely would support that sentiment," continued Lee.

"But such a crude comparison, which provides no nuance or context, doesn't capture why the tax code has become so complex and how it affects taxpayers."

A proponent of more limited government and a hero among conservative activists, Cruz has often spoken on the need to simplify the tax code.

In 2012, Cruz signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a proposal by the conservative group Americans for Tax Reform headed by Grover Norquist.

"I pledge to the taxpayers of my district and to the American people that I will: ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rate for individuals and business; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates," reads the Pledge.

On social media, Lee received backlash for her decision to acknowledge Cruz's statement as accurate yet declare it "meaningless."

Amanda Carpenter, communications director for Cruz went to Twitter to bash the fact checking article and was joined by others.

"So, to sum. WaPo said we 'claimed' something that is, indeed true, but WaPo determined is a 'nonsense fact" and meaningless," tweeted Carpenter on Wednesday.

"There's a perfectly good reason to compare the Bible and IRS tax book. The Bible is our holy book and the tax code is the government's. Ha."

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