Issues & Insights

The debt ceiling deal reached by the Republican leadership and the administration is far from perfect in the eyes of anyone who cares about runaway government spending (which is the only government spending we know of). But it appears House Speaker Kevin McCarthy was able to block, at least for a year, the hiring of a field army of IRS soldiers. Like a thousand lawyers at the bottom of the ocean, it’s a good start, though there’s still a long way to go.

Among the hundreds of sections in the 99-page bill, No. 251 is “Rescission of certain balances made available to the Internal Revenue Service.” More specifically, the legislation, if passed and signed as is, cuts almost $1.4 billion “of the unobligated balances of amounts appropriated or otherwise made available for activities of the Internal Revenue Service” through the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.

Through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden administration had obtained an additional $80 billion for the IRS, more than six times its current annual budget. Funding for enforcement was to increase by 69% through fiscal 2031. Such a “generous injection of other people’s money” would mean, according to the Washington Free Beacon, that the IRS will “employ more bureaucrats than the Pentagon, State Department, FBI, and Border Patrol combined.”

The expansion will now be delayed for at least one fiscal year.

Of course hiring 87,000 new IRS agents, as the Biden administration hopes to, would do nothing to reduce inflation. It would, however, give the federal government greater power over a citizenry it wants so desperately to control. The FBI can arrest Americans, the intelligence communities can spy on us, but it’s the IRS that can, and does, terrify and ruin.

We wish we could say the IRS is a harmless collection agency that operates a paper-shuffling process and provides exceptional customer service. We’re sure some, maybe even many, who work for the IRS have the same wish. But the reality is that it’s a voracious monster.

The fear and loathing of the IRS goes beyond its leadership’s inclination to be an attack dog for politicians (think of the Democrats during the Obama years) who want to not just injure but eliminate their across-the-aisle opponents. When the ruthless Dr. Floyd Ferris sneered in Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” that:

There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.

Would any American be surprised if those words were lifted straight from the unofficial IRS operations manual, and not fiction that hits close to real life?

Naturally the Democrats and the state media defend and even at times express great affection for the IRS. Reason’s J.D. Tuccille wrote earlier this year that “the very things that make that tax agency so widely despised by the public make it highly prized by politicians.” The IRS makes big government possible, not merely through tax collections but by acting as a police force that keeps people afraid and submissive. It drills down hard on those who don’t have the resources to fight back. 

What we have in the IRS is an agency that is “a law unto itself,” “often unaccountable,” and “abusive” of taxpayers. It has a meaningless “Bill of Rights” that “contains no effective enforcement provision,” and is a serial violator of civil liberties. The nation’s tax collector wants to know more about 330 million private citizens than it has a right to, has engaged in activities intended “to cheat innocent taxpayers,” and acts in its own best interests rather than those of taxpayers.

IRS apologists will always howl that the government has to have an agency to collect taxes to keep it running. Though snarky, it is true. There is, however, a better way to fund federal operations. Move to a single-rate income tax paid monthly with no deductions and no withholding, or implement a national sales tax. The IRS is a beast that needs to be starved to death.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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I & I Editorial Board

The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • “the IRS will “employ more bureaucrats than the Pentagon, State Department, FBI, and Border Patrol combined.””

    Those numbers say it all. Armed IRS agents will be running the Gulag in the USA. Part of Biden/DOJ/FBI/Homeland Security et al. war on “domestic terrorists” (i.e. the 80 million MAGA/Trump voters). Tyranny masquerading as revenue collection.

  • Steve Forbes and numerous other intelligent and rational people have advocated, for decades, a simple flat tax filed on one piece of paper.

    Brilliant, fair, logical and it alone would reduce the tax cost to run the colossal IRS by billions. Best solution for everyone!

    It, too, would substantially reduce the cost to everyone of paying to have our taxes prepared by experts since the IRS has made filing so convoluted and complicated.

    Why are we still going round and round in circles, especially now when there has been so much corruption within the IRS exposed, when there is an excellent, effective and efficient method of taxation?

  • Starve to death? Why be so nice? I agree with your recommendation, but a monthly flat-tax will not work because it would require people to pay it, monthly, and many would not. Hence, there’d need to be an enforcement agency, aka the IRS.

    A national sales-tax would work, but I’d hate it, because in term after term, it would go up 0.1% here, 0.4% there, “only” 0.3% this time, because we have so many important programs that you the citizens, “for whom we in Congress work”, need to pay for. Lear Jets for Congress-critters are expensive, don’t you know.

  • the IRS is an out of control; cartel style gang same as the others they do not need money from taxes they have other sources of funding same as Biden, they can never be controlled or disbanded same as the CIA they are a nation in themselves with no laws of any consequences..

  • If you beLIEve anything from this or previous government after the ….. Pandemic. It’s on you. Warp speed.

    • I take back my like, the previous administration was the one that exposed the FBI< CIA< SWAMP etc.

  • What a joke, Biden funds them with 80 billion and they pretend taking 1.6 billion Back somehow defeats the initial play. And this is how the Decent get walked offcenter, by degree. Always an extreme push followed by a clown retreat that doesn’t walk back anything that wasn’t already agreed to be taken back before the initial 80 billion number was granted. CLOWN SHOW.

  • The IRS is not a government agency of any kind. Nobody is required to fill out and sign 1040s and calculate taxes against their earnings from their jobs, much less send money to slimebags who did nothing to earn it. Nobody is required to have anything deducted from their pay. The only way you become liable for income taxes, and forfeit/waive your Fifth Amendment right to due process of law before anybody can take your private property, is if you’re dumb enough to fill out and sign a 1040 and/or a W-4.

    Anybody who doubts this, post the law(s) that require anybody to do this.
    Knowledge is power.

    • My friend tried to fight this and ended up in jail for five years.

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