Time to Spank the IRS

Politico, the mouthpiece of the administrative state, on Friday reported this shocker: With the debt ceiling deal done, the Internal Revenue Service, which lost $21.4 billion in funding, fears it will be cut even further. It seems the agency that for decades has thrived on bullying the taxpayers for whom they work is afraid it will be similarly bullied for what IRS staffers feel is their lunch money. 

To which I say, “Heck, yeah!”

Beyond the FBI, CIA, NSA, and any other national intelligence agency that either colluded with or was duped by Russia in the Russiagate scandal, no other federal agency deserves to have its budget, staffing, and overall existence more eviscerated than the IRS. 

This is not simply about tax policy. This is about the classic triumvirate that represents why so many Americans hate Washington: the triplets of Waste, Fraud, and Abuse

Recall that Joe Biden—or, more likely, then-White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain—decided it would be a good idea to increase the IRS budget by nearly $100 billion to hire an army of 87,000 agents he claimed would be deployed only against the wealthiest Americans. It was a laughable claim then, and given what we know about the IRS since, it’s even more ridiculous. 

Just as Democrats and their progressive tools have weaponized federal law enforcement and national security against the American people, the IRS has long been a weapon used to inflict fear, abuse, and financial harm on taxpayers. The agency has long been a willing participant in political abuse. And it has long received a free pass. Recall that the IRS under Obama was more than willing to target conservative organizations and individuals, auditing them and slow-rolling their tax-exempt status reviews. 

After congressional hearings that made clear the IRS was targeting conservative nonprofits and individuals, the FBI launched a “review” that—surprise!—found no evidence of such targeting. Right. Even after what some might consider a congressional warning shot, the IRS hasn’t felt the need to be subtle about its proclivity for abuse. 

Journalist Matt Taibbi in his “Twitter Files” reporting documented how Twitter executives willingly did the bidding of the FBI and politicians. After he published his investigation, the IRS soon showed up on his doorstep. I’m sure Taibbi does well for himself, but no one is going to mistake him for a billionaire. 

Then there is waste.

How is any reasonable taxpayer to believe the IRS could properly manage 87,000 new agents when the agency has shown over decades that it does not have the technical ability even to account properly for taxes it already collects? For more than 40 years, the IRS has never bothered to update its computer database technology. It has known for half a century that it is failing and has done nothing about it. And this is the agency that claims it can be a better aid to taxpayers than an H&R Block or TurboTax? 

Almost 20 years ago, the IRS paid out more than $5 billion in fraudulent tax refunds; that number may shift a bit every year, but the IRS continues to give away billions of our dollars with no evidence that its employees care. After all, what’s $1 billion or $2 billion when it’s not your money? 

And that’s the point. 

The IRS is not a semi-independent regulatory agency presenting itself as a fair arbiter of the rule of law—those are about as common in Washington as unicorns who crap candy and rainbows. No, the IRS, like every other federal agency funded by we, the American taxpayer, thinks we serve it, as does every other aspect of the administrative state.

But under a constitutional republic, citizens do not work for the tax collectors; the tax collectors are supposed to work for us. And we should demand some satisfaction, because the tax collectors are failing. 

The days of IRS waste, fraud, and abuse must begin to come to an end. Just as the FBI needs to be held accountable and decontaminated, so too does its partner in slime. It is not enough to have the FBI “review” IRS activities. Given the hundreds of billions of dollars the IRS has lost and wasted over the years, it’s time for a full accounting. An audit, if you will. And an audit that is about as painful, if not more so, as those the agency has inflicted on so many of us.

Might I suggest that penalties begin with a requirement that for every $1 million lost by the IRS, it be forced to permanently eliminate 100 career staff positions?

Enemies lists have sometimes gotten politicians in trouble. But there is a utility in setting an agenda that is achievable and beneficial to the American people. Putting in place a tax system that removes the IRS as it is today and takes the least amount of money from taxpayers to fund only the most necessary operations of a federal government is a winning agenda item that should be at the top of any national candidate’s list.

Speaking of enemies lists, what should also be on the top of every Republican candidate’s list is the administrative state writ large and how he or she would dismantle it starting on Day One. This is the IRS, the FBI, the Justice Department, the surveillance and security state, the NIH, the CDC: every last one of the 430 plus departments, agencies, and sub-agencies inside the federal government.

Any candidate who does not have a concise and actionable plan for how to start eliminating these is not worthy of the nomination. The administrative state knows it’s on the ballot in 2024, so there is no point in beating around the bush: For the free American republic to be restored, the administrative state must be destroyed.

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About Ned Ryun

Ned Ryun is a former presidential writer for George W. Bush and the founder and CEO of American Majority. You can find him on Twitter @nedryun.

Photo: iStock/Getty Images

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