Either having forgotten or maybe entirely unaware of why the colonies fought for independence, Joe Biden said some years ago that paying higher taxes was “patriotic.” Now as president, Biden wants to enforce his version of patriotism by siccing the IRS on the country. If only we could declare our independence from politicians so ravenous for other people’s money that they’ll say and do anything.
Among the many shameful and damnable provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act passed in August by the Democrats is an extra $80 billion for the IRS. That’s more than six times its current annual budget, and will boost the agency’s enforcement funding by 69% through fiscal 2031. As many as 87,000 new employees will be added to its workforce.
We stand behind our statement from a month ago that this is a weaponization of the IRS. There is not a shred of doubt in us that the additional funding and manpower will be used to increase the harassment, silencing, and prosecutions of taxpayers that the Democratic Party and the administrative state in Washington consider threats to their power.
Gross violations of the civil liberties of taxpayers in general will become more the rule than the exception. The agency’s targeting of conservative groups looking for nonprofit tax status during the Obama era was a mere warmup for what will come under an IRS that will employ more bureaucrats than the Pentagon, State Department, FBI, and Border Patrol combined.
There are other reasons to rein in, and, as soon as possible, replace the IRS with a new arm of the state that is less abusive, whose employees are less antagonistic toward their fellow Americans, will no longer perform “root-canal audits,” will never again violate our privacy, and can’t be used to crush political foes and critics of the establishment.
For instance, the system we have now that is administered by the IRS:
- Requires Americans to spend more than 6.5 billion hours complying with tax filing and reporting requirements, the equivalent, says the Tax Foundation, to “3.1 million full-time workers doing nothing but tax return paperwork.”
- Is so complex that Americans have to hire professionals to prepare their taxes, costing the domestic economy more than $313 billion this year.
- Causes millions of taxpayers to waste millions of hours holding for phone calls before giving up. According to the National Taxpayer Advocate, IRS “assistors” answer only 9% or 10% of the calls that come in. This is not an argument to enlarge the agency but one that clearly indicates the entire tax-collecting blob has to be overhauled.
- Operates with a “lack of transparency” that often leaves “taxpayers confused and frustrated.”
- Produces audits that are incorrect 60% to 90% of the time.
- Obliges “citizens [to] surrender 100% of their personal privacy to the federal government in order to facilitate tax preparation,” says Daniel J. Pilla, founder of the Tax Freedom Institute.
- Assumes “you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent.”
- Drives “an overwhelming majority of citizens” to “screw themselves into the ground to stay on top of their tax obligations,” Pilla has noted.
- Trips up Americans with a tax code that was changed more than 5,900 times from 2001 to 2019.
Apparently congressional Republicans “plan to launch immediate oversight of the Internal Revenue Service if they win control of the House” next month, say media reports. This would be a start, and nowhere close to the finish, which will take years to reach. But the reversal needs to start before the IRS and the FBI join forces to become an uber-Gestapo operating on behalf of the Democrats.
— Written by the I&I Editorial Board