Weaponizing the IRS

Weaponizing the IRS

The Inflation  Reduction Act of 2022 has been causing an uproar for various reasons. After all, the additional spending by the government with record inflation numbers is a bad idea on its own. However, for many Americans, one part of this legislation, in particular, is raising a lot of red flags.

The increased funding to the Internal Revenue Service aka IRS. The nearly doubling of “armed” agents is an end-round way of raising taxes and reeks of bureaucratic overreach. So, let’s look at the history of the IRS and why the newly funded IRS is just another step in the destruction of the middle class.

Tax Collection & the IRS

So, how did a country that started an entire revolution over taxation begin taxing its own citizens? Two words: civil war. In order to help pay for the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln signed the nation’s first income tax into law to raise revenue. There were only two taxable categories but it was reduced after a significant amount of protest. Furthermore, 90% of revenue came from taxes surrounding liquor, tobacco, and other products. In 1872, the income tax was repealed. After ten years, the tax had served its purpose. 

This is a great example of why you should not leave the door open. In 1894, the government tried to implement an income tax and a tax division through Wilson Tariff Act. This was shut down as unconstitutional but it did not take long for congress to ratify the 16th amendment that codified this power. From then on: 

Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to any census or enumeration.

This was the beginning of a spiral as the government continued with the introduction of a progressive-tax rate (1918) and other policies such as the Revenue Act of 1942. It did not take long for the IRS to abuse its power, leading to the abuse of taxpayers' rights. Even with the IRS Restructuring and Reform Act, the IRS is all too willing to abuse its power.

Misuse of the IRS for Political Purposes

You need to look no further than a Wikipedia page devoted to IRS abuse allegations to understand how the agency has been weaponized. Here is a sampling of allegations of how selected groups and people have been targeted over the years by various administrations.

  • Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration may be the first case where it used the IRS to discredit  Huey Long.
  • The Kennedy administration’s use of the IRS to investigate and intimidate the tax-exempt status of right-wing organizations
  • Nixon’s impeachment included allegations of his IRS use in a discriminating manner
  • Clinton was accused of initiating politically motivated audits
  • George W. Bush was accused of targeting the NAACP because of criticism
  • During the Obama administration, the IRS admitted it had subjected conservative political groups to closer scrutiny in their applications for tax-exempt status
  • Even President Trump is accused of targeting James Comey and Andrew McCabe with IRS audits if you believe that.

This all this pales on the level of abuse and targeting the IRS can be directed to do in the near future. The Democrats and Biden administration claim all these agents will NOT be used to increase audits of individuals making less than 400k a year. This of course is a deflection and a lie.

Stronger IRS for Inflation Reduction?

The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 puts a heavy focus on increasing the IRS budget in order to reduce inflation. In order to accomplish this goal, the legislation is increasing the IRS budget by $80 billion. This is several times more than what the bureau spends in a year. Last year, the IRS only spent $13.7 billion on all its operations including in supplementary funds. This type of budget increase will make the IRS one of the largest government agencies! 

The Inflation Reduction Act made it clear what this funding was for. According to the bill, the budget will help the IRS increase operational improvements, system modernization, customer service, and enforcement. It is projected that this will increase tax revenue by $200 billion. Yet, people are dancing around the biggest problem surrounding this IRS funding. How are they suddenly going to increase tax revenue by $200 billion?

More New Armed IRS Agents 

According to the legislation, the IRS will hire 87,000 new agents. Once this happens, the Income Revenue Service will employ more people than the Pentagon, State Department, Border Control, and FBI combined. These new employees will work on closing tax loopholes and “tax the rich.” However, this doesn’t even make sense. The IRS is not going to go after the rich. It is going to go after middle-class Americans and small businesses. Eighty-seven thousand is more people than fills an average college football stadium! Why else would they need this many agents?

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other politicians say that the IRS will not target households below $400,000. However, the IRS has already been doing this. In 2021, 51% of the IRS audits were focused on households that earn below $75,000. Another 26% of audits were done on households earning between $75,000 to $200,000. Furthermore, what is with them being armed?

When the IRS posted job listings for new IRS special agents, the government put in the listing that agents must be “willing to use deadly force.” In addition to this disturbing requirement, the IRS is spending money on guns and ammunition according to spending reports in recent years. It’s worth noting that in sheer numbers,  87,000 agents are more than the active military forces in Canada. It is all too apparent that they have no problem arming government agencies while disarming lawful American citizens. 

Preparing for the Worst

It’s a fact that everyone dislikes paying taxes. It is innate in us. It is also true that a majority of us believe that everyone should pay their fair share. However, this goes beyond enforcement. The history of the IRS being used as a weapon against political opponents is well documented. This build-up of the IRS has the potential of taking it to yet another level. Recently we’ve seen pretty strong evidence of other agencies being used against political opposition. How could you not believe the IRS will be used in this manner as well?

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