by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
There’s a cute little idea pushed by Democrats, government workers (Democrats), and the media (Democrats) that the appalling $80 billion that Congress just awarded the IRS will be used to crack down on “high-income” tax evaders and not, they promise, middle-class filers.
I’ll give you a minute to stop laughing.
You know what assurance you have that the IRS will be taking a closer look at people with yachts rather than minivans? Why, the word of the IRS itself!
“These resources are absolutely not about increasing audit scrutiny on small businesses or middle-income Americans.” That’s what Commissioner Chuck Rettig told senators in a letter earlier this month. That’s it. That’s the extent of your guarantee that the newly supersized IRS will be too preoccupied scrutinizing multi-billionaires to spend another second combing over the filings that come from suburban homes with an annual income under $200,000.
It’s laughable. The Washington Post on Saturday carried the lie, stating in a news article that “the idea” behind the cash infusion “is that the government could bring in more money by examining corporate and high-income returns than it does by pursuing lower- or middle-income taxpayers who make mistakes on their returns or underpay their taxes by small amounts.” The Post went on to excuse the fact that more than half of the agency’s audits target people who make less than $75,000 annually.
“The IRS in recent years has grown more dependent on those types of audits,” the article said, “because they are relatively inexpensive: They’re automated, and they preserve the agency’s limited personnel resources.”
In other words, government workers at the IRS determined that their $13 billion yearly budget was better spent harassing the people who are either at or below median income. Why? The answer is obvious: Because it’s easier to shake down a father who owns an auto-repair shop than it is to investigate Mitt Romney’s offshore accounts.