Remember that promise of no new audits below $400,000...the IRS doesn't


As with so many political promises, it was never going to be kept.

Political rhetoric is rarely meant to be taken literally, shouldn’t be taken seriously, and often isn’t even meant to have any connection to the real world.


At best political promises are aspirational–“I will try to do something like this.”

Usually they are filled with puffery–“I will aim kinda/sorta in this direction and you will like it.”

But often they are simply con jobs–“I don’t mean this at all, but you like to hear it.”

Joe Biden’s promises regarding the IRS expansion he pushed through were of the last type. Joe wanted $80 billion more for the IRS in the “Inflation Reduction Act,” which was a tall order.

The IRS is very unpopular, but he wanted a ton more money to expand it. So he promised that the bigger IRS would just go after the big guys. Everybody hates the rich, so he got the money.

The specific promise was that the new IRS auditors wouldn’t go after anybody with incomes below $400,000. Few people make more than $400,000, so the number sounded good enough.

“Not my problem,” said the little guys. “What do I care?”

Yeah, well, it was never true, and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration has said the quiet part out loud: the IRS isn’t going to limit its increased audits to taxpayers with incomes over $400,000 or limit them at all. It will simply expand audits for everybody.


TIGTA’s report that dropped this little nugget pointed out how difficult it would be to limit audits to higher-income folks, laying out a long list of complications. That’s just their job, though, as an organization meant to be apolitical–they say what can and can’t be done, and what actually has been done.

So the better tidbit is that the IRS flat-out states that they don’t even want to try to limit their audits to high-income people. They need “flexibility.”

The official IRS watchdog has found the IRS is unable to fulfill President Biden’s pledge not to increase audits on households or small businesses making less than $400,000 per year.

“There is no way to identify the complete population of taxpayers that meet the criterion of $400,000 or more specified by the current Treasury Secretary,” said the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) in a new report.

“Biden’s $400,000 audit promise is not credible, as taxpayers suspected all along,” said Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. The Biden administration made the promise as it was desperate to impose a dramatic increase in the size and power of the IRS.

TIGTA recommended the IRS update its definition of “high-income” households from its current definition of $200,000 per year. But the IRS refused, asserting that it needs “agility” to target whomever it wishes.


Sounds just like the promises Biden made and Janet Yellen reiterated. A hard limit of $400,000 yields to the need for “flexibility.”

The IRS needs a lot of flexibility to keep on doing the kind of thing they have done for Joe’s friends and family. And if they aren’t going to get money from those people, they have to get it from somewhere, right?

You knew, I knew, and anybody not dumb enough to believe a politician trying to get an unpopular measure passed, that this promise was empty. Just as the Obama promise that Obamacare would leave your insurance plan alone was.

Yet somehow, like Lucy with the football, millions of Americans keep swallowing the lies. I think it is largely because they want to. They have loyalty to the regime and needed talking points to make the awful sound palatable, so they just repeated total falsehoods.

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