More IRS Agents Than Marines? 

And so it may come to pass that the republic will have more prying,  nosey IRS agents targeting its own citizens, than ripsnorting, romping, stomping Marines ready to unleash focused, disciplined aggression upon our nation’s enemies.

As a veteran Marine who now owns a small business “S corp,” I am dumbstruck by what the IRS growth means when compared to historical numbers.

The Inflation Reduction Act will add 87,000 IRS agents to a current workforce of 75,000 special agents, revenue agents, and employees.

At the other end of the federal workforce utility spectrum, the Marine Corps’ Commandant recently requested a force reduction for an end strength of 182,000 Marines. In truth, though, the Marine Corps’ operational manpower is about 150,000 Marines, spread across the three corps-level expeditionary forces.

 Yet the more alarming insights emerge when comparing the IRS manpower to the number of American citizens and to the size of the American military.

 In 1960 there were 3.3 Marines per IRS agent. The historical average since 1960 is 2.4 Marines per agent. Once the IRS ramps up hiring, this ratio will be nearly one to one.

The numbers look worse when you consider the Army’s size. In 1960 there were 17 active duty soldiers for every IRS agent. The historical average is nine soldiers per IRS agent. After the IRS balloons, there will be three soldiers per IRS agent.

 (Please note the implied historical continuity that one Marine equals four to five soldiers.)

 And what about the American citizen? In 1960 there were 3,539 citizens per IRS agent. The historical average since 1960 has been 3,069 citizens per IRS agent.

 Once the IRS stands fully large and in charge, the ratio will be 2,155 citizens per IRS agent.

No political leader yet recognizes the quality control issue at hand, of course. Is there a McKinsey study or Harvard business case about a civilian organization that doubled its size while maintaining its culture and capability?

And, of course, the federal government is not enlarging its best organization. The IRS has become a political plaything. From Lois Lerner targeting conservatives to the ProPublica release of confidential taxpayer information earlier this year, the IRS has a tendency to promote the interests of the political party most likely to increase the revenue service’s own power.

Indeed, alongside the vast manpower increases, the Inflation Reduction Act earmarks $15 billion for enhanced technology. Get ready for more facial recognition proposals and more acquisition of data on American citizens from surveillance capitalism vendors.

The burden of the IRS new hires and technology upgrades will fall on the middle class. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that as much as 90 percent of the $200 billion in new revenue will come from targeting those making less than $200,000 a year.

While Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) negotiates with Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to protect her private equity donors from the proposal to close the carried equity loophole, no one seems to be looking out for the interests of the classic American entrepreneur.

We live in a turbulent era, from Russia’s near abroad to the tumultuous South China Sea. Islamic terrorism is still on the prowl and the illegal immigrants and drug cartels stream across our southern border at will. But this act turns more government power towards American citizens and fewer resources on external threats.

As a small business owner, I am very nervous about the potential impact of this bill on how I provide for my family.

But as a combat veteran, I am even more horrified at what this policy says about the scope and focus of the federal government—it is much less concerned about protecting the nation from external threats and more targeted than ever on its own citizens.

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About JF Murphy

JF Murphy is a former Marine Corps infantry officer, platoon and company commander, and Iraqi Freedom veteran. He is a Southern California based entrepreneur and small business owner whose company American Heroes Challenge tells true stories about American heroes in order to get kids reading, building character, and developing pride in American history. You can follow it on Twitter at @AHChallenge.

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