New York Post: WHITEWASHING THE I.R.S. WILL DAMN MORE TAXPAYERS

New York Post, August 29, 2022

The establishment’s IRS whitewashing will leave more taxpayers in the lurch

The Internal Revenue Service is perhaps Washington’s ultimate sacred cow. It is the “goose that lays the golden eggs” for the city’s power and prestige, delivering trillions of dollars to allow politicians to work miracles (or at least get re-elected). The Washington establishment is scrambling to squelch any criticism of the 87,000 new revenooers to be hired thanks to President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank caterwauled that Republicans’ anti-IRS rhetoric is one of the “hallmarks of authoritarianism” and justified Biden’s condemnation of Republicans for “semi-fascism.” His colleague Joe Davidson fretted that “attacks on the IRS” are part of GOP efforts “delegitimatizing government.” Another WaPo article warned that Republicans are “putting federal workers in danger” by “repeating baseless claims” on the IRS.

“Baseless”? At the time the Inflation Reduction Act passed, the IRS was advertising for “special agents” who must “carry a firearm and be willing to use deadly force, if necessary,” during “execution of search warrants, and other dangerous assignments.” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) observed, “The IRS has never pointed a gun at a billionaire or his employees, so why does the IRS need 87,000 new agents, AR-15’s and 5 million rounds of ammunition? They’re not gunning for billionaires or their bank accounts.”

Shock brigades of fact-checkers rushed to rescue the IRS’s reputation. Reuters announced that it is “false” that the IRS “is hiring 87,000 new armed IRS agents” because only a couple thousand IRS agents carry firearms.

Controversy also swirled about film footage of an IRS recruiting program on college campuses. A clip from Utah shows students putting on flak jackets and readying toy guns and handcuffs for “taking down a landscape-business owner who failed to properly report how he paid for his vehicles.” First they came for the tulip bulbs . . .

Associated Press fact-checkers complained the video is “being misrepresented to falsely claim it shows a new force of IRS special agents being trained as part of agency expansion efforts.” But it is a recruiting video for college students that shows how they will be trained and use their power as IRS agents.

Since not all IRS employees will be carrying Glocks or AR-15s, Americans should presume that every IRS employee is a well-meaning civil servant waiting to assist people tormented by convoluted IRS instruction booklets.

And it won’t matter if the new hires abuse their power. An IRS enforcement operation won’t count as a raid unless agents shoot at least three people. And then it still won’t matter because anyone who is gunned down will be labeled a suspected tax scofflaw.

While fact-checkers zealously squelch nitwit comments from random dudes on Facebook, they ignore far bigger howlers from the White House. On Aug. 19, the White House promised, “No one making under $400,000 per year will pay a penny more in taxes” thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act. Team Biden effectively insists that those who have nothing (or at least no income) to hide have nothing to fear.

Biden and his media allies pretend the federal tax code is as lucid as the Ten Commandments and depravity and/or iniquity are the only reasons people underpay taxes. But Americans are confounded by the 4 million words in the tax code and by the IRS’s failure to answer more than 90% of phone calls from taxpayers. Biden is acquiring a new army of IRS enforcers at the same time the agency obliterates unlucky taxpayers with deluges of penalties — including retroactive penalties based on IRS rule changes.

Most taxpayers can’t afford lengthy court battles with the IRS and surrender to its demands even when they feel wronged. The IRS looted hundreds of millions of dollars from bank accounts of individuals and businesses it accused of improperly structuring deposits and withdrawals — despite no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

The IRS targeted businesses with legal sources of income, according to a 2017 inspector general report, “to engage in ‘quick hits,’ where property was more quickly seized . . . rather than pursuing cases with other criminal activity (such as drug trafficking and money laundering), which are more time-consuming.”

Are imprecise criticisms more dangerous than unchecked federal power? Pundits’ wailing will do nothing to deter the legions of new IRS agents from conducting “quick hits” that ravage more Americans’ rights. Since politicians worship revenue above all other gods, don’t expect the Biden administration or Congress to stand up for average Americans unfairly caught in the revenue crosshairs.

James Bovard is the author of 10 books and a member of the USA Today Board of Contributors.

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3 Responses to New York Post: WHITEWASHING THE I.R.S. WILL DAMN MORE TAXPAYERS

  1. JdL September 1, 2022 at 8:23 am #

    “First they came for the tulip bulbs . .”

    Good one. 😉

    This trend really is scary, and I hope columns such as yours will get the public behind pushing for the IRS to focus more on answering phone calls and less on armed invasions of suspected tax scofflaws.

  2. Jim September 1, 2022 at 9:57 am #

    Thanks, JdL. I’m not sanguine about future IRS enforcement actions….

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