President Joe Biden’s ambitious national agenda is being scrutinized on Capitol Hill and, as usual, the fiercest argument is how best to pay for White House priorities. Biden has proposed pulling back many of Donald Trump’s ineffective tax breaks, which is a popular approach that conservatives are not considering.
But Biden has also called for the Internal Revenue Service to be strengthened, which seems like a step that should generate broad support. As we discussed last month, the IRS has been gradually undermined for years, which has made it far more difficult for the agency to aggressively pursue potential tax frauds, which in turn means less revenue for policy priorities.
Spending more on the IRS would almost certainly mean a lot more money for the treasury. As Catherine Rampell recently stated in a column, “How can you increase tax revenue without collecting taxes? By improving enforcement of existing tax law and making sure every penny already owed is paid.”
Through some moves, strengthening the IRS could generate $ 700 billion in additional tax revenue over the next decade – not through tax hikes, but simply by enforcing the laws already on the books.
The Des Moines Register editors recently published an editorial advocating this approach, calling on Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa – until recently the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee – to “lead the tax guarantee indictment” to scoff at tracked. “
Soon after, Grassley wrote an answer. Obviously, the Republican is not impressed.
The Biden administration claims that more enforcement money would allow the IRS to raise at least $ 700 billion. External experts have denied this rosy sales scenario. Even if that pipe dream comes true, the extra revenue will be dwarfed by the Democrats’ $ 6 trillion spending agenda. Companies of all sizes would result in new and burdensome compliance costs and reporting requirements. Instead of promising a chicken in every pot, Biden’s plan promises an auditor at every kitchen table.
The longtime GOP Senator added in his statement: “The IRS also has a confidence deficit. During the Obama administration, the IRS was armed to attack conservative political organizations.” I understand that Republicans like to pretend this is true, but it isn’t. In reality, as Grassley should know, the IRS was not armed to attack conservative political organizations.
Even so, the Senator added on Twitter yesterday, where Grassley is known for writing in a standalone, idiosyncratic way, “2 days is federal tax day Bank reporting is ripe for overreach + burdens small businesses / family businesses … When With the IRS eyeing personal bank accounts, this is a big can of worms for the tax collector 2. Decide who will be audited and why not to lose Focus on taxpayer service to improve compliance. “
Deciphering this, Grassley appears to be opposed to the White House’s plan.
So let’s take stock. There is broad consensus that there is a need to invest in US infrastructure. Can we increase the corporate tax rate? Republicans say no. Can we ask more of millionaires and billionaires? Republicans say no. Can we empower the IRS to enforce existing tax laws? If Grassley’s position is any indication, Republicans say no to it, too.
It’s almost like the GOP isn’t addressing the problem seriously.