What Fresh Hell Is This?

April 8, 2010

16,500 IRS Agents?

This argument actually bubbled up in a real-life conversation I had a few days ago. I was told that one of the problems with the new Healthcare legislation is that it would require 16,000 new IRS agents to enforce.

Newt Gingrich repeated this on Fox (of course) "News" recently. He said on the Hannity Show:
One of the things in the health bill is 16,000 additional IRS agents. Now I think the average American doesn't think we need 16,000 health police -- they don't think we need a single health police. And it's interesting that that health bill has more IRS agents than it has doctors or nurses or people who actually do health in the bill.

I think, Republicans this fall, if they were to run as one of their planks, that they will never fund the 16,000 IRS agents, and they will block implementation of the $430 billion in new taxes.

And then put it straight to the country -- Do you want 16,000 new IRS agents? Vote Democrat. Do you not want 16,000? Vote Republican.

My guess is that, in fact, could be one of the five or six issues that could set the stage for a Republican majority.
Luckily Factcheck.org has done an analysis and found that this is a lie. Take a look:
This wildly inaccurate claim started as an inflated, partisan assertion that 16,500 new IRS employees might be required to administer the new law. That devolved quickly into a claim, made by some Republican lawmakers, that 16,500 IRS "agents" would be required. Republican Rep. Ron Paul of Texas even claimed in a televised interview that all 16,500 would be carrying guns. None of those claims is true.

The IRS’ main job under the new law isn’t to enforce penalties. Its first task is to inform many small-business owners of a new tax credit that the new law grants them — starting this year — which will pay up to 35 percent of the employer’s contribution toward their workers’ health insurance. And in 2014 the IRS will also be administering additional subsidies — in the form of refundable tax credits — to help millions of low- and middle-income individuals buy health insurance.

The law does make individuals subject to a tax, starting in 2014, if they fail to obtain health insurance coverage. But IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman testified before a hearing of the House Ways and Means Committee March 25 that the IRS won’t be auditing individuals to certify that they have obtained health insurance. He said insurance companies will issue forms certifying that individuals have coverage that meets the federal mandate, similar to a form that lenders use to verify the amount of interest someone has paid on their home mortgage. "We expect to get a simple form, that we won’t look behind, that says this person has acceptable health coverage," Shulman said. "So there’s not going to be any discussions about health coverage with an IRS employee." In any case, the bill signed into law (on page 131) specifically prohibits the IRS from using the liens and levies commonly used to collect money owed by delinquent taxpayers, and rules out any criminal penalties for individuals who refuse to pay the tax or those who don’t obtain coverage. That doesn’t leave a lot for IRS enforcers to do. [emphasis added]
And that, as they say, is how it's done.

It's the next big GOP lie. Be on the lookout for it.

It's already oozed its way onto the pages of Richard Mellon Scaife's Tribune-Review:
OK, put aside your dictionaries. The legislation allocates $10 billion to pay for 16,500 IRS agents who will collect and enforce mandatory "premiums."

Does that sound like the private sector at work to you?
No, it sounds like a lie.

1 comment:

EdHeath said...

I have to admit I had no idea about the agents or anything. If someone had said the IRS is going to keep a piece of your refund if you don't buy the health insurance (assuming you don't get medicaid or Pa adult basic, or assuming you are not exempted from buying it based on your income yada yada). It looks like the Democrats have anticipated the arguments the Republicans or their own supporters might make based on how delinquent student loans and back child support has gone for years.

I guess the 16,500 agents will have to run the FEMA camps for Skynet (oh dear, did I actually write that ... now they will come for me ... no, I didn't tell anyone anything ... no, no)
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