Washington, D.C. – Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher liked to remind people the only problem with socialism was that no matter how noble the program, sooner or later the bureaucrats and politicians “run out of other people’s money” to spend while they’re busy being virtuous.
It’s a lesson that’s been lost on Team Biden. The $3 trillion in new taxes and the $3.5 trillion in new spending it’s trying to ram through Congress is a return to the kind of big government socialism America hasn’t seen since the 1960s. And the push to “Build Back Better” is just a down payment.
What’s holding it all up is the fact the progressives, for all their noise about “making the rich pay their fair share”, the progressives have just about run out of “other people’s money” to tax. They’re at the point where the burden of any tax hike will fall most severely on the already cash-strapped middle class and they intend to get it any way they can.
Consider the administration’s proposal regarding financial transactions that exceed $600. The White House is pushing, in general terms, for legislation that would force banks and other financial institutions to report to the IRS each year on their customers’ account inflows and outflows. Official estimates say that would generate about $463 billion in additional revenue over the next decade – because of its value in helping catch people who cheat on their taxes.
The dollar amount isn’t set in stone – yet. Meaning your bank or credit union might be reporting to the IRS every year on your rent or mortgage, your car payments, and your credit card payments as though it somehow has the right to know about them. If that’s not indexed to inflation, that could mean they’d also eventually be getting a look at your utility bills, what you spend at the grocery and your online purchases.
Once upon a time, liberals made brave stands in defense of what they said was a constitutionally defined right to privacy. No more, apparently. They don’t believe the IRS – one of the most politicized agencies in the entire federal government – is entitled to receive information about your spending it currently can only get with a warrant. What Biden and company want amounts to the biggest upgrade in domestic surveillance since the passage of The Patriot Act in the days after 9/11.
In Biden’s future America, the one that has been built back better, every American with a bank account would be subject to government monitoring of what goes in and what goes out despite the lack of probable cause – that nasty little concept that stems from the 4th amendment’s protection against illegal search and seizure of property by the government – the people whose finances are being scrutinized have evaded paying the taxes they owe.
Biden’s allies in Congress are being pressured to find all the love they can for this idea. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richie Neal, D-Mass., got a letter to that effect from Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and IRS Commissioner Chuck Retting seeking support for requiring financial institutions to give the tax collectors the data in question “to help the agency increase enforcement and recover more in uncollected taxes.” As if nothing could ever be wrong with that.
No rational person should believe this idea is benign or that snooping into the private business records of John and Jane Q. Public is good policy. Does Team Biden want the money they claim can be generated – allegedly $160 billion a year – to pay for the $3.5 trillion in new spending or do they have something else in mind. Given how the Obama-Biden Administration abused the power of the IRS, is it too much of a stretch to believe a strengthened, more intrusive IRS would, sometime in the future, spend time harassing taxpayers whose political contributions and expressed opinion might be out of line with the president’s best thinking on a given subject. And that’s just for starters.
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