We are in a recession. Inflation is raging at 9%. Our paychecks and life savings are worth less today than last year.
What will Washington do to fix this? Democrats want to raise taxes, increase spending, and supersize the IRS.
By raising taxes in a recession, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, is breaking his word to West Virginians. In 2010 when he asked voters to send him to the Senate, Manchin said: "I don’t think during a time of recession you mess with any of the taxes or increase any taxes."
Manchin announced his surprise tax-hike deal just as news confirmed the U.S. had its second consecutive quarter of negative GDP growth.
Even Barack Obama knows it is a bad idea to raise taxes in a recession. Obama said: "The last thing you want to do is to raise taxes in the middle of a recession."
The Democrat tax-and-spending bill is good for some: the Internal Revenue Service. Democrats plan to shovel $80 billion to the IRS to hire 87,000 more IRS agents. What will they do? The IRS has already announced a goal to increase small business audits by 50%.
Small businesses are barely keeping the lights on, battered by government-forced shutdowns and higher costs. Now the Democrats want to bury them in IRS paperwork and fishing-expedition audits that can easily last two to three years.
Small business owners are busy. They can’t afford teams of lawyers and accountants, and many will just give up even if they did nothing wrong, just to get the IRS off their backs.
Meanwhile, the IRS only answers the phone "19 or 20 percent" of the time. The Democrats plan to spend 14 times as much money for "enforcement" (audits) than for "taxpayer services" (answering the phone).
But wait. There is more. The IRS will spend more of your money to buy new cars for themselves, despite the fact that the inspector general found the IRS vehicle fleet is already too large, and the agency fails to ensure they are used only for official business. The watchdog report found "questionable and missing information reported by special agents for commutes and commuting miles."
In other words, the IRS would fail one of its own audits. The IRS puts the screws to small business owners if they cannot properly document vehicle mileage. Meanwhile, the IRS’s own books are a disaster because they know there are no consequences.
Democrats like to pretend the IRS is broke, but the agency’s actual spending behavior proves otherwise.
The bill also gives the IRS an extra pot of money for new offices even though the agency chief admits that 53% of IRS employees never bother to come into the office. They "work" at home. The IRS should be downsizing its physical office presence, not increasing it.
Why all this money for the IRS which regularly fails to manage itself competently?
The IRS union gives 100% of its PAC contributions to Democrats.
More IRS agents means more dues and more employee political contributions which find their way back to Democrat campaign accounts. Coincidence?
Democrats have named this tax and spending blowout the "Inflation Reduction Act of 2022." They know Americans are angry about the inflation they see every day at the grocery store and the gas station. So rather than stop the overspending that created inflation, they will spend more, tax more, and relabel the bill "anti-inflation."
They think the problem is one of communication rather than the reality of President Joe Biden repeating all the failures of President Jimmy Carter with all the same unpleasant results.
This tax-and-spending bill is best understood as pork-barrel spending larded up with earmarked goodies for special interests.
Buried on page 701 is funding for bureaucrats to identify "gaps in tree canopy coverage." How many bureaucrats does it take to do that? Send in your money and find out.
Imagine what will happen with the $1,893,000,000 in spending promised for something called a "Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program" for "projects that are context-sensitive." Cash for friends of Democrat congressmen.
Instead of addressing rising energy and gas prices, Democrats are subsidizing luxury electric vehicles while raising taxes on coal and natural gas. Yes, the senator from West Virginia is raising taxes on coal and natural gas. This will raise energy prices for all households.
Many of the failed ideas in this legislation date back to the "Great Society" welfare spending. The bill also imposes price controls on U.S. drug manufacturers enforced by a 95% federal excise tax. Wage-and-price controls have created shortages and higher prices for 3,000 years of recorded history.
The inflation and recession we now suffer under were created by the Democrats and the Biden administration through their $2 trillion spending spree and the threats of new taxes and regulations.
Now the Democrats offer more of the same as the solution to the problem they created. This will not end well.
Grover Norquist is President of Americans for Tax Reform.