GOP Gutted IRS’ Ability To Go After Rich Tax Cheats

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.

Excerpt from ProPublica piece by Paul kiel & Jesse Eisinger dated 12/11/2018

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).

Excerpt from ProPublica’s 12/11/2018 piece

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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In 2015 Kushner Got A $4,000 Tax Refund After Earning 1.7 Million

Yours Truly did a post yesterday based on the bombshell New York Times revelation that President Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner who is worth an estimated $324 million, has not paid federal income taxes for 7 years thanks to a tax loophole that favors real estate developers. The Kushner post understandably generated a lot of public reaction because it is one of the best illustrations of the glaring inequities that exist with the U.S. tax law. It makes absolutely no sense that someone worth $324 million would pay zero federal income tax for 7 years straight.

In the post Yours Truly called out the mainstream media for breaking very important stories like this but never doing any follow ups to help the public further understand the issue, or force a serious debate on the issue. Luckily one Katy Tur of MSNBC decided to dig a little deeper into the Kushner tax story and boy did she unearth a new bombshell.

Turns out that in 2015, in addition to not paying any federal income tax, Kushner got a $4,000 tax refund from the IRS after earning a whopping 1.7 million. Think about that folks–most working families that earn more than $40,000 a year, have federal income taxes taken out of their checks all year and often end up owing the IRS because they “make too much” yet Kushner who earned 1.7 million in 2015, never paid any federal income tax that year, still got a $4,000 refund from the IRS. Folks this is the height of inequity.

As anybody who has lived paycheck to paycheck(a lot of Americans) knows, most working families literally wait on that four, five or six thousand dollars income tax refund at the beginning of the year to help them catch up with their bills–late rent, car payment, credit cards etc. It is a big deal to most working families. It is also important to note that someone earning more than $40,000 a year often ends up owing the IRS because they “earn too much.” Can you imagine making an argument to such a person making $40,000 a year that they are not entitled to a federal tax refund because they “make too much” but rich Kushner over there, who earned $1.7 million gets a $4,000 refund? Better question–can you imagine how effective such a message would be on the campaign trail for any Dem candidate nationwide?


Bottom line this Kushner tax story is a big deal and Dems should talk more often about it especially as we head towards midterms 2018. These are the kinds of stories that Dems can use to illustrate a clear contrast between their agenda that is geared towards helping working families and that of the GOP which is geared towards helping the rich. Simply put the glaring inequities exposed by this Kushner tax story are enough to swing a huge chunk of independent voters to the Dems. As Katy Tur’s guest Jesse Drucker of the New York Times excellently put it, “There is an intense public interest in understanding the equity of our tax system and the public can decide whether they think think this is an equitable state of affairs.” You will be hard pressed to find a single independent voter who concludes that this is an equitable tax system after looking at the Kushner story.

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Kushner Hasn’t Paid Federal Income Taxes In 7 Years

Jared Kushner & Ivanka Trump

A bombshell New York Times piece reveals that thanks to a tax loophole, Trump’s son in law Jared Kushner who is worth an estimated $324 million, has not paid any federal income taxes from 2009 to 2016–seven years. While this is shocking to most Americans who feel saddled with federal income taxes on their incomes that are significantly lower than Kushner’s, the sad reality is that Kushner may not have broken any tax laws. He is just doing what most wealthy Americans do–taking advantage of loopholes in the nation’s tax laws to avoid paying their fair share of taxes.

The biggest takeaway from this bombshell New York Times piece is therefore not the fact that rich Kushner has not paid federal income taxes in 7 years but that these shocking tax loopholes that favor the uber wealthy even exist in the first place. In other words going forward, it is very important that the New York Times and other mainstream media titans expose how wealthy people, usually Republicans, manipulate tax loopholes to avoid paying their fair share while at the same time saddling the poor and middle class with significant tax burdens.


According to the New York Times piece, the specific tax loophole Kushner manipulated allows real estate investors to use the depreciation on their assets (real estate) to write off their taxable incomes. Yours Truly is not a tax expert and therefore not at liberty to go into the weeds of real estate tax law, but it certainly appears from the New York Times piece that rich real estate investors look at their taxable income and then make up depreciation amounts on their property that either significantly reduces or totally wipes out their taxable income–in essence cheating the system.The mainstream media has a duty to expose more about this tax loophole for the benefit of the regular tax payers who dutifully pay their federal income taxes. One of the biggest failings of the mainstream media is that they break stories like these that have great national significance only to get distracted by the next Trump Tweet or rally. There is usually very little or no follow up on great stories like these that are very important to grassroots voters.


Bottom line we can all agree that everyone needs to pay their fair share of federal income taxes. When someone like Jared Kushner who is worth an estimated $324 million does not pay any federal income taxes in 7 years, all reasonable people will agree that the system is broken and needs to be fixed.

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