A slightly optimistic take on all those new IRS agents
One of the most famous grievances the Founding Fathers enumerated in the Declaration of Independence was this: "he has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."
Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer, more fans of King George than George Washington, are looking to do the same thing today, with their recent IRS expansion in the reconciliation bill.
Oh, boy — another 87,000 IRS agents with more power than the FBI, to harass small business, gig workers, and anybody else the Deep State may enjoy tormenting.
But I am more than a bit skeptical that this will all actually come to its intended poisonous conclusion.
First, the IRS cannot just hire anybody. Applicants need to have an extensive accounting background. Not all of them need to be a CPA, but most real accountants do wind up with this credential. Consider that fewer than 95,000 take the CPA test each year, and maybe 45,000 actually pass. Almost all of them already have good jobs in the private sector. Just finding qualified new IRS employees is going to take several years — at a time when fewer young people are entering the profession because it is difficult to begin with.
Second, accountancy is a profession with a well earned reputation for honesty. (Lois Lerner was a political lawyer, newly appointed to Obama's IRS.) Most people in that field are not interested in making their life's work harassing fellow citizens for the pleasure of our ruling elites, nor in getting less pay working for the government when accounting salaries in the private sector are going through the roof, as one recruiter points out.
So it is going to take at least a couple of years for the Biden IRS to recruit and train even a fraction of those 87,000 new agents. Meanwhile, we will have a Republican Congress coming into power in 2023. They may not get much else done, but one thing I am sure they will do is find something better for all that IRS appropriation money than hiring an army of new agents.
And with any luck, we will have a Republican president in 2025. If there are still more hands at the IRS available, I suspect that a President Trump or President DeSantis will have a more productive task for them — namely, tracking down all the illegal aliens and their employers, who take credits and deductions using phony tax numbers to which they are manifestly not entitled.
Doing such a job properly would actually mean the IRS hiring some more people, and that would be well worth it.
Frank Friday is an attorney in Louisville, Ky.
Image via Pixabay.