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Monday, August 2, 2021

No new money for the IRS

After Richard Nixon resigned, many pundits pronounced the Republican Party finished. Instead, by a careful recalibration and transformation under Ronald Reagan into the party of limited government, the GOP regained control of the White House in six years and earned a congressional majority in 20.

Indeed, it’s arguable the GOP remains the dominant national party. It’s a hair shy of control of the U.S. House of Representatives, holds more governorships, and controls more state legislatures and legislative seats than the Democrats despite having lost its majority in the U.S. Senate and the presidency by about 43,000 votes out of 15 million under the only calculation that counts.

The GOP staked its survival and rebirth on offering voters, as a great man said, “a choice, not an echo.” So why has a group of Republican United States Senators decided it would be good for the party, as part of the so-called bi-partisan infrastructure compromise, to back a plan to give the U.S Internal Revenue Service an additional $40 billion to hire nearly 80,000 new agents to conduct more audits to raise more revenue for the federal government?

If ever there was a bonehead move, this is it. According to the latest figures, only about half the nation pays any income tax. The payers, more than not, are likely Republican voters, especially if their primary concerns are pocketbook issues and economic growth.

We’re not talking about the one-percenters leading the charge to increase the top marginal tax rates because they believe the progressive nonsense about the ultra-wealthy not paying “their fair share.” We’re talking about the middle class, the people who carry the financial burden Washington imposes through the tax code. It will be the ones suffering due to all the new audits the IRS will open as soon as it gets the pile of money assigned to in the infrastructure bill.

President Joe Biden and the Democrats say that won’t happen, that this is a moderate measure that will bring in billions and billions because of all the tax cheats that currently go uncaught. Innocent people, they say, have nothing to fear. This is just what the government said after some bright light came up with the idea of civil asset forfeiture to let the DEA and the FBI keep the money and other valuables they seized from drug dealers and other nefarious types. We know how that turned out.

The IRS is an agency mired in scandal and inefficiency. Information that is supposed to remain private leaks out of the agency as though its walls were a sieve. There’s been little to no reform, even after the scandalous harassment coming out of the non-profit division during the Obama administration led to a congressional investigation stopped by White House stonewalling.

A few groups — the Committee to Unleash Prosperity, FreedomWorks, and Americans for Tax Reform. — have sounded the alarm about what a monumental mistake this would be. Still, the concerns they’ve raised seem to have fallen deaf ears. To be clear: No new money for the IRS, especially not as a “pay for” for something else. Any Republican who ignores this advice and gets a primary challenge because of it deserves it.

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