The Internal Revenue Service is an agency of the federal government like no other. The IRS is more powerful than the Department of Justice; it is bigger than the governments of many small countries; it is able to strike fear in the hearts of the most self-assured and upright citizen with a single phone call; and if the Congress has its way, it will become even bigger and more powerful. Under both versions of the health care legislation passed late last year by the House of Representatives and the Senate (totaling some 4,000 pages), the IRS will grow in size, budget and control. It will become in many respects, the new gatekeeper for health insurance.
Considering that the IRS admitted in its most recent annual report to the Congress that it already is overwhelmed in its ability to respond to issues and questions raised by American taxpayers, it is indeed a troubling prospect that this single government agency would be empowered to decide if a family is maintaining the appropriate, government-favored health insurance.
The IRS is able now to demolish the ability of an individual or a company to access their own monies. It can freeze your bank accounts in an instant, and keep them sealed off virtually indefinitely – forcing you to defend yourself even as the government prevents you from having access to your assets. The Service has long-enjoyed the power to find out everything it wants about your income and financial resources, under the guise of ensuring that you meet your burdens under our income tax system. By using its power to enforce income tax withholding schedules, this single agency can dictate how much of your salary you are entitled to take home.
Now, a majority of members of the Congress of the United States, purporting to “reform” and “improve” health care, are proposing to throw into the lap of this already-too powerful agency, additional powers. This would come with quite a price tag attached to it, of course. The current budget of the IRS already exceeds $12 billion; a bundle of cash spent on — and by — more than 90,200 employees of the Service. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated IRS would need up to $10 billion more to meet the demands the health care proposals would impose on it, over the next decade.
Tax considerations have long-served as the tail that wags the dog for businesses large and small; tax considerations often dictate whether a company saves or invests, hires or fires, and whether to raise or lower salaries and dividends. Similarly, families and individuals deciding whether to invest earnings, save or borrow money, or plan their estate, must carefully consider tax consequences in making those decisions. Frequent changes to the complex IRS Code, which already stretches to more than 70,000 pages, make the hurdles faced by even many tax experts formidable.
Also, under the massive legislation now being prepped for final passage and submission to President Barack Obama (waiting to proudly sign it in a huge Rose Garden ceremony), the most private information in your tax returns and your files with the IRS, would be made available to the new federal overseer of the proposed health care system. The Health Choices Administration Health Benefits Advisory Committee – with heaven knows how many employees — would have legal access to confidential tax and financial information on millions of taxpayers.
Considering past abuses by IRS employees in misusing tax information — such as detailed in lengthy, 1998 congressional hearings – greatly expanding the universe of bureaucrats privy to sensitive, personal financial information should raise the hair on the back of every taxpayer’s neck.
Aside from the myriad other reasons America does not need government-mandated health care “reform,” putting the IRS into the mix may be the single best reason to defeat it.