(August 3) There is plenty to dislike in the inflationary, tax-hiking spendathon that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) concocted with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), but one provision is so bad as to be a fatal poison pill. Democrats want to sic tens of thousands more IRS agents on ordinary, often-innocent taxpayers.

This bill would provide $80 billion more to the IRS (above its existing budget) during the next decade to pay for 87,000 new enforcement agents — among other wrongheaded things, such as new cars for agents and more office rent, even though most IRS agents choose to work from home.

As the Manchin bill can pass only with unanimous Democratic support in the Senate, every Republican candidate in the nation should wrap this provision (if it passes) around the neck of each Democrat who votes for it.

There can be no doubt that the IRS needs major reform and perhaps more resources than it now has. The major problems, though, are not in enforcement but in service. IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig himself admits that his agency answers only “around 19 or 20 percent” of calls. The government’s official national taxpayer advocate, Erin Collins, said the call-answering rate has not exceeded 10% for each of the past two years.


When IRS auditors target a taxpayer, the audits disproportionately affect low-income earners, and the auditors themselves often err. Yet the IRS acts effectively as investigator, prosecutor, and judge, with almost no chance for nonwealthy taxpayers even to access an ordinary court of law to challenge the IRS’s star chamber. Moreover, the agents with whom taxpayers actually deal are not the ultimate decision-makers, but taxpayers can neither talk to those real decision-makers nor find out their names — even if the decision-maker reverses the original agent’s ruling that had been in favor of the taxpayer…. [Later in the column} If any nongovernment agency acted like the IRS, an observer might be justified in at least suspecting that it might be a criminal conspiracy, an illegal shakedown operation writ large. Now, Manchin and his fellow Democrats want to beef up the abusive parts of the IRS massively while providing barely any boost — less than one-fourteenth as much — for the IRS offices meant to help customer service. …

[The full column is at this link. This time, I am asking you to not just read it, but spread it as widely as you can. The House takes up this bill on Friday. Senate Democrats voted to keep the IRS provision in the bill, against unified Republican opposition. In doing so, they declare war against ordinary taxpayers. They must be stopped. Again, the full column is here.]


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