The campaign to weaken the IRS
Paul Kiel and Jesse Eisinger
This is “the golden age of rich people not paying their taxes,” said Paul Kiel and Jesse Eisinger. Over the past eight years, congressional Republicans have waged war on the IRS, cutting its budget and staffing so severely that it can no longer properly enforce tax law. “The result is a bureaucracy on life support and tens of billions in lost government revenue.” Last year, the IRS had 9,510 auditors—a reduction of 33 percent from 2010, and about the same number as in 1953, “when the economy was a seventh of its current size.” From 2010 to 2017 the audit rate dropped by 42 percent. Corporations and the wealthy have most benefited from the gutting of the agency, as their accountants and lawyers can devise aggressive tax-evasion strategies secure in the knowledge that the IRS is no longer “a force to be feared.” None of this bothers congressional Republicans, who decided to punish and weaken the IRS after it was accused of unfairly targeting Tea Party groups for tax enforcement. So even as the federal budget deficit soars, Congress is starving the agency charged with bringing in revenue. Does that make any sense?