GOP tax hysteria runs rampant nowadays

Nuclear-powered carrier Gerald R. Ford. Get cooking that chili and catfish. This monster isn’t printing money itself.
(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni/Released

To speak in Congress-ese, my friends on the right side of the aisle are seemingly freaked out over the IRS funding by the Manchin-Schumer bill.

Some of the hysteria touted by the far right media includes the more than 80,000 employees the agency will hire. The right-winger people imply the IRS will hire these folks in one fell swoop. That is not the case.

 “The administration has estimated the IRS needs to hire about 86,000 new employees over time, at least 50,000 of whom would replace those who are expected to retire or leave the agency in the next six years,”according to a National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) press release.

And after serving 13 years as a regional Vice President of an American Federation of Government Employees Union local for Department of Labor employees, yes, I tend to believe the NTEU. I am retired from the DOL but still a dues-paying member of AFGE/National Council of Field Labor Locals.

The IRS is not hiring 86,000 agents or creating a “military force.” The Criminal Investigation (CI) division has a law enforcement arm of some 2,000 special agents. Two IRS agents have died in the line of duty in recent times. Michael Dillon was killed on September 23, 1983 at the private residence of a former IRS employee while trying to collect a debt. Most recently an agency law enforcement supervisor, Vernon Hunter, was killed when a man crashed his small plane into an Austin, Texas IRS facility.

More hysteria is over the IRS buying ammunition for its law enforcement officers. Consider what the agency’s CI division stockpiled under the Trump administration:

 “Currently, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) owns 4,600 guns and has stockpiled 5 million rounds for use by its 2,159 special agents. These figures include 621 shotguns, 539 long-barrel rifles and 15 submachine guns,” says a GAO report on guns and ammo purchasing by federal law enforcement entities.

Those figures pale in comparison to what the typical Texas gun owner possesses. Lighten up! That’s a Texan joke built by a Texan.

Trump signed an executive order to hire 5,000 new Customs and Border Protection as well as 10,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers. No telling how many of the border patrol were actually hired. The last I heard, some 600 new employees were authorized. A border patrol union president had said both CBP and ICE surveys indicate that those two agencies are among the worst places to work in the federal government. About 1,000 employees of those agencies leave each year. 

Who knows how many CBP serve within 100 miles from the Mexico and Canadian borders such as at the checkpoint at Sierra Blanca, Texas, on Interstate 10, east of El Paso. Also, if you are within those 100-mile areas in which the border patrol can operate, don’t be surprised if you are speaking Spanish and the agents ask for your papers.

As for hiring new IRS personnel, you may not like paying income taxes. I don’t know many taxpayers who do. I paid more this year after retiring at 65 than I have since I was 18. On the other hand, I was grateful to have the extra money to spend during the prior year. I don’t know how folks really think we can fund our government with its huge military and weaponry and platforms. Why a F/A 18 Super Hornet Navy fighter can cost up to $50 million each. The Air Force F-35 stealth fighter originally between $221 million each, according to Reuters. Newer versions will cost between $100-$150 million apiece. The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier the USS Gerald R. Ford, commissioned five years ago cost $12.8 billion plus another $4.7 billion for research and development.

I would have to ask some expert — and I doubt an expert that I need would answer a question from the blog eight feet deep —how difficult it would be to change or dissolve the federal income tax. The 16th Amendment, ratified in 1913, allows Congress to enact such a tax. Hence:

 “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

Maybe some folks think nationwide fish fry dinners or chili suppers will raise the funds. Having been to both types of fund-raisers in my native East Texas, I’d start catching a bunch of catfish (watch the limits!) and rounding up some beef.

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