An investigation by ProPublica has revealed that since 2010 congressional Republicans have systematically gutted the IRS’ budget for the express purpose of dramatically reducing its ability to pursue rich tax cheats, while at the same time ramping up the agency’s ability to go after the working poor who claim earned income credit. If there was ever a classic case of GOP’s #WarOnPoverty, this shocking finding by ProPublica certainly is.
In essence, according to the ProPublica piece, congressional Republicans have gradually and cleverly reduced the number of IRS auditors by shrinking the agency’s budget over the last 8 years(since 2010). As the article correctly points out, congressional Republicans realized that were they to make huge cuts to the IRS’ budget at once, the public/media would catch on to their shameful act. So they cleverly devised the gradual IRS budget cuts that have gone on for the last 8 years, almost totally crippling the IRS’ ability to go after rich tax cheats(usually Republicans).
This troubling ProPublica revelation comes as many working families are getting ready to file their 2018 taxes and yes–claim their earned income credit. It is sickening to learn that as the working poor are looking forward to getting their income tax refunds so they can catch up on their bills, congressional Republicans have primed the IRS to target them with audits, while letting the rich tax cheats avoid IRS scrutiny. This is absolutely sickening and House Democrats and the mainstream media must get to the bottom of this shameful attack on the poor by the GOP.
This chart from the same ProPublica piece says it all. Notice how sharply audits of those who earn $500K or more(typically Republicans) have dropped compared to the other income groups. As the article correctly points out, it is the rich who cheat on their taxes more which means IRS auditors should concentrate more on them as opposed to the poor.
The incoming House Democratic majority owes it to its voters to investigate this troubling state of affairs at the IRS. For the record, the ProPublica piece points out that it is not the IRS that is at fault here but rather congressional Republicans who have made them go after poor filers claiming earned income credit. Nobody is advocating that the IRS turn a blind eye to poor people fraudulently claiming EIC. However it is only fair that the IRS also go after rich tax filers who by far do most of the tax cheating
Bottom line it is in everyone’s interest that the ability of the IRS to go after all tax cheats, rich and poor, is fully restored. Where, as here, Republicans have turned this powerful agency into a weapon to attack poor working families, while at the same time neutering its ability to go after rich tax cheats, House Democrats have a duty to step in and restore the agency to its full investigative capacity. Specifically, House Democrats must fully furnish the IRS with the tools it needs(experienced auditors) to aggressively go after rich tax cheats. It is simply immoral to have this powerful agency go after poor working families while the rich tax cheats get off scot-free.
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