There are many things to hate about Democrats’ so-called ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ – not the least of which is the fact that it won’t reduce inflation, with that phenomenon raging at decades-high levels. The White House’s rosiest estimate is that the bill would possibly reduce inflation by a fraction of one percentage point, nine years from now. Several nonpartisan estimates project that it will increase inflation in the short term, and effectively have zero anti-inflationary effect beyond that. It also raises taxes on American businesses, costs that will inevitably be passed down to workers and consumers. The nonpartisan Joint Committee on taxation found that these tax hikes would end up hitting Americans in every income group. Democrats want to play rhetorical games and pretend these don’t represent tax increases on middle- and working-class people. But the effect is what it is. Then there’s the provision that massively increases the auditing capacity of the dreaded Internal Revenue Service:
Border patrol agents: 19,536 IRS agents: 78,661
Democrats look at this and say: let’s more than double the number of IRS agents!
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen)
The IRS is dutifully playing along with Democrats’ talking points, insisting that despite doubling the agency’s size and hiring a small army of new agents and auditors, non-rich taxpayers won’t be impacted. Republicans are pointing out that the bill doesn’t actually protect lower income groups from a newly-muscular and cash-flush IRS. Rhetorical promises (to say nothing of the manipulations explained below) are meaningless if they have no force of law. And they have no force of law:
Dems’ bill contains no protections for the middle-class from new barrage of IRS audits.
— Ways and Means GOP (@WaysandMeansGOP)
The Democrats and their friends at the IRS are insulting voters’ intelligence, hoping they’ll believe empty assertions, and that they don’t notice that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s finding that audit rates will rise for all taxpayers. The Senate GOP gave Democrats an opportunity to actually enshrine their ‘no increased audits for those making under $400,000’ lie within their legislation, and every single member of Chuck Schumer’s caucus voted it down, killing it:
My amendment puts teeth behind intentions and says that none of the new IRS funding may be used to audit those earning below $400,000. pic.twitter.com/0VCdU02eLO
— Senator Mike Crapo (@MikeCrapo)
Democrats voted against my amendment to prevent the IRS from using supersized $80 billion of funding for audits on hard-working Americans, including individuals and small businesses, with taxable incomes below $400,000. pic.twitter.com/784WBZQOEM
— Senator Mike Crapo (@MikeCrapo)
Here’s the roll call. All 50 Republicans voted in favor of this amendment, and every last Democrat voted no – Senators Maggie Hassan, Catherine Cortez-Masto, Raphael Warnock, and Mark Kelly among them. They had the opportunity to back up their words with law, and they declined, en masse. Telling. Susan Collins also tried to come at the issue from another angle:
Utterly commonsense @SenatorCollins amendment: Pause the billions for hiring 87k new IRS staff (more than Pentagon, FBI, State, and Border Patrol combined, btw) until 90% of existing employees finally get back into the office and work in person.
Democrats will block.
— Andrew Quinn (@AndrewCQuinn)
That vote was also 50-50, with all Democrats in opposition. The provision was blocked. On top of all of that, this is pretty extraordinary: Remember the insufferably arrogant, Obama-era IRS chief John Koskinen? He spent years agitating for increased funding to the IRS, which the GOP staunchly opposed, especially in light of the agency’s outrageous political targeting scandal. He was the face of a rapacious IRS, arguing that it needed much more taxpayer money in order to collect taxpayers’ money more efficiently. But even John Koskinen is telling the New York Times that Democrats’ new money infusion comes with an insane price tag and goes well beyond that the agency could possibly spend properly:
IRS funding: Obama-era IRS chief John Koskinen told NYT that $80 billion in new funding for the IRS was too much.
“I’m not sure you’d be able to efficiently use that much money.”
Dem bill shovels 3X the amount he recommended. pic.twitter.com/dolVl2z8u3
— John Kartch (@johnkartch)
This champion for increased IRS funding believes the agency needs $25 billion in additional appropriations. Democrats are more than tripling that number, handing the agency more money than it’ll know what to do with – while unanimously refusing to write protections for Americans making less than $400,000 into their legislation. That tells you everything you need to know. I’ll leave you with this garbage argument Democrats find themselves forced to make:
“Can you understand how 87,000 new IRS agents would scare the heck out of millions of Americans?”
Democrat Sen. Ben Cardin: “If there’s no reason to be fearful, and if you paid your taxes and if you complied with our laws, you should want to make sure everyone else does that.” pic.twitter.com/xRwSes2CrC
— RNC Research (@RNCResearch)
Versions of the “if you’ve got nothing to hide” justifications of increasing intrusive government powers are equally horrendous. And Americans broadly understand, either intuitively or through personal experience, that it’s not just tax cheats who have much to fear from the nightmarish, life-upending process of IRS audits. And here’s my bottom-line summary of the overall bill, which the Senate passed 51-50 on Sunday afternoon:
A tax-raising, spending-increasing, IRS-doubling monstrosity that nonpartisan analyses have concluded will not reduce inflation – & may, in fact, increase it in the near term. Insanity. Party-line tie broken by extremely unpopular VP. Lots of fodder in there ahead of November. https://t.co/eA05vRSjKB