Jason Smith, US Congress
Americans of all political stripes have learned over the years to dread three letters of the alphabet: I-R-S. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is a fearsome government agency with an incredibly disturbing history of abusing its power. Under President Obama, senior career officials in the agency were overtly targeting conservatives for their political beliefs, and under President Biden the agency engaged in leaking highly sensitive taxpayer information to help advance Biden’s tax increases. This is not the hallmark of an agency whose power you want to expand.
Whether you’re a small business owner, farmer, or a working-class American just trying to make ends meet, no law-abiding taxpayer is safe from the intrusive arm of the IRS. But Democrats in Washington have a different agenda. In everything they do, they are trying to empower Washington bureaucrats with command and control over the lives of everyday Americans. And last week, Biden signed into law perhaps the most aggressive expansion of Washington bureaucrats’ power in decades with the inclusion of $80 billion in their Inflation Act to supercharge the IRS.
That’s right – at a time when Americans are facing the double whammy of sky-high inflation and an economy in recession, Washington Democrats just doubled the size of the IRS. The agency will now be authorized to hire an additional 87,000 new agents – more than enough to fill Arrowhead Stadium – to target and harass even more low- and middle-income Americans.
The Biden administration wants you to believe their new proposal only targets the wealthy and large corporations. They’re lying to you. How do we know? The proof is in their votes. When the bill was considered in the Senate, an amendment was offered to exempt Americans making less than $400,000 from any additional audits as a result of this legislation. Every single Senate Democrat voted no.
In fact, when the Congressional Budget Office – Congress’s nonpartisan scorekeeper – examined this proposal, they confirmed for me that at least $20 billion will come from increased audits on Americans making less than $400,000 per year. In Missouri alone, that means an additional 18,000 families making less than $200,000 will be victims of IRS audits. Projections based on historical IRS audit data show that under this expansion, the IRS will conduct an additional 700,000 audits on Americans making less than $75,000 a year. That’s unacceptable.
As the Republican Leader of the House Budget Committee, I’m fighting to expose this sleight of hand and to demand answers from the Biden administration about this massive increase in IRS funding. Not surprisingly, the administration is doing everything it can to block my attempts to conduct oversight activities. That’s inexcusable. Americans have every right to know exactly how the federal government is spending their hard-earned tax dollars.
Even scarier than increased audits is the fact that the $80 billion funding increase will also give the IRS the resources needed to implement Washington Democrats’ dream to monitor the bank account activity for any American who spends or receives more than $833 per month, or $28 per day. Once again, this isn’t about going after wealthy tax cheats – it’s about targeting hardworking families and the small businesses at the heart of our economy. This radical policy will effectively give the IRS the authority to check under the couch cushions of every living room in America, setting up millions of families, farmers, small businesses, and gig economy workers for potential audits and legal battles.
It’s a sickening fact that the IRS disproportionally audits working-class Americans and small businesses. The IRS knows that the wealthy and major corporations are more likely to have the time and resources to take the IRS to court and fight back against an audit. Like a schoolyard bully, the IRS would rather pick a fight they can win. The agency knows that many working-class Americans and small businesses would rather pay a fine to get the IRS off their backs instead of spending thousands of dollars on legal fees to prove their innocence.
The ink is barely dry on Washington Democrats’ latest $745 billion tax and spend bill and they already have their sights set on another round of crushing tax increases. But Americans are fed up with their reckless spending and complete disregard for the working class. As your voice in Washington, I will do everything I can to protect families from the Left’s out-of-control tax and spend spree.