WSJ editorial board slams Schumer-Manchin bill for unleashing ‘beast mode’ IRS to ‘target’ the middle class

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The Wall Street Journal editorial board argued Tuesday the Inflation Reduction Act will greatly enhance the IRS’s power to audit citizens and this auditing power will adversely affect the middle class. The article, titled “The IRS Is About to Go Beast Mode,” contended that this constitutes a government scheme to take more taxpayer money. 

“The Schumer-Manchin bill has $45.6 billion to audit the middle class,” the article’s subtitle read. They noted that Democrats believe that the bill will yield an additional $200 billion in government revenue and argued that this means “IRS auditors will soon be coming after tens of millions of Americans.”

The aforementioned $45.6 billion in the bill is designated for “enforcement” purposes, but the legislation gives a total of $80 billion in new funds to the tax collecting agency. “The $80 billion is more than six times the current annual IRS budget of $12.6 billion,” the editorial board noted.

INFLATION REDUCTION ACT IS ‘DECEPTIVE MARKETING’, WILL HURT STRUGGLING AMERICANS, ECONOMIST SAYS

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., calls on a reporter during a press conference about Democrats' reconciliation bill. 

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., calls on a reporter during a press conference about Democrats’ reconciliation bill.  (Tyler Olson/Fox News)

“The main targets will by necessity be the middle- and upper-middle class because that’s where the money is,” they wrote. 

“The Joint Committee on Taxation, Congress’s official tax scorekeeper, says that from 78% to 90% of the money raised from under-reported income would likely come from those making less than $200,000 a year,” the board continued.

The editors argued the superrich would be largely unaffected because “the IRS knows the super-wealthy employ lawyers and accountants who make litigation time-consuming and risky.”

LARRY KUDLOW: MANCHIN WANTS TO REVIVE THE TRUMP NEPA PERMITTING REFORMS TO SPEED UP DECISIONS

Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Senator Joe Manchin and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) (F. Carter Smith/Kent Nishimura)

However, “despite all this new money, Americans shouldn’t expect better IRS service. The agency in the 2022 filing season answered a mere 10% of its phone calls,” the editors wrote.

They also noted that millions of Americans are waiting six months or longer to receive their refunds. “Yet the Schumer-Manchin bill devotes only $3.2 billion for ‘taxpayer services,'” they noted grimly. 

This photo taken April 13, 2014 shows the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Washington at daybreak.

This photo taken April 13, 2014 shows the headquarters of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in Washington at daybreak. (AP Photo/J. David Ake)

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“The federal government isn’t starving for revenue. Congress wants more tax revenue because it can’t control its appetite for spending. That’s why it wants a tax agency in beast mode,” the editorial concluded.