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Bloomberg published a news piece Monday that defended massive new IRS spending enacted by Democrats and blamed Republicans for gutting the agency's budget.
In August, President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, from which $80 billion will go toward doubling the workforce of the IRS over the next decade by hiring approximately 87,000 new workers. Republicans have expressed concerns that IRS agents will target the middle class and conservative groups, while Democrats argue they will only go after wealthy tax cheats.
“The agency’s new funding will help fight tax cheats, but it may not be enough to repair the damage from years of Republican budget cuts,” read the subtitle the article reporters Laura Davison and David Ingold.
They contended that the new IRS funding “amounts to little more than a lifeline for an agency eviscerated by years of Republican-led funding cuts” and “it could take years until the government starts seeing results as the agency rebuilds.”
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They described the funding of the IRS as “one of the most under-the-radar political fights in Washington over the past decade.”
“In 2013, after a scandal involving an IRS official targeting conservative groups applying for nonprofit status, Republicans saw a chance to rein in the agency and attempted to impeach former IRS Commissioner John Koskinen,” they reported.
“The GOP failed at that but was successful in enforcing waves of budget cuts when they controlled both the House and Senate,” which the reporters said “forced the IRS to slowly pare back on audits of the wealthy.”
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Davison and Ingold said messages that “the funding will give the IRS the ability to hire an additional 87,000 auditors who will target middle-class taxpayers” spread by Republicans “seem to be sinking in: Some polls show that enhanced IRS enforcement is one of the least popular portions of the Inflation Reduction Act.”
Their report also noted, “The IRS and Democrats have moved to reassure Americans that the additional audit activity will affect only those making $400,000 or more and that additional staff includes a range of positions—not just enforcement officials. They’ve also advised that they won’t carry weapons.”
However, Biden administration officials have failed to provide evidence for this claim. For example, when questioned on CNBC, White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein did not commit to guaranteeing the 87,000 new IRS employees will not audit people making less than $400,000 per year.
The IRS also faced an online uproar after a recent job posting said agents must be willing to “carry a firearm” and “use deadly force, if necessary.”
The Bloomberg reporters noted training new IRS agents will take time and the audit “rate probably won’t pick up again until 2026 or 2027.”
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The article ended with a positive spin from George Mason University School of Business senior associate dean JK Aier who said, “Enforcement is essentially making sure that whatever Congress has in terms of tax policy is being implemented with integrity and with some level of fairness across all taxpayers.”
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