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The Taxman Cometh

Even as the new Congress is moving quickly to seek to repeal (or at least defund) large sections of the new health care bill, our government is expanding to enact its first phases. In releasing its budget, the Internal Revenue Service wrote the following:

“The ACA [Affordable Care Act] will require additional resources to build new IT systems; modify existing tax processing systems; provide taxpayer outreach and assistance services; make enhancements to notices, collections, and case management systems to address and resolve taxpayer issues timely and accurately; and conduct focused examinations to encourage compliance.”

And what resource is the IRS requesting? It says it will require an army of 1054 additional auditors and staffers, as well as new facilities to house that army. So the health care bill that President Obama said would save U.S. taxpayers money is costing an additional $359 million in fiscal year 2012 alone. A spokesman for the IRS defended its budget request by saying, “Implementation of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 presents a major challenge to the IRS. The ACA represents the largest set of tax law changes in more than 20 years, with more than 40 provisions that amend the tax laws.”

While it would be easy to blame an agency that most hold in low regard already, that would be missing the point. The IRS is simply following a mandate tasked to it by a bill rammed through both the House and Senate at the insistence of the President. And the result is more massive government. Thanks to the legislation, the IRS has to hire 81 auditors just to enforce the new tax codes on the 25,000 tanning salons in America at the cost of $11.5 million. That’s for the new 10% excise tax on all indoor tanning salons. 76 new IRS agents are now needed to make sure companies that import drugs pay their new fee that supposedly will add $2.8 billion to the Treasury over the next two years.

Once you’ve digested those numbers understand something – this is only a small portion of what the future holds. The full health care bill doesn’t go into effect until 2014. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming has pulled no punches in his attack on this latest round in growing government even more. “The president’s irresponsible budget,” he said, “empowers the IRS to begin to audit Americans’ healthcare. As the IRS says, Obamacare represents the largest set of tax changes in more than 20 years. Adding hundreds of new jobs and millions of dollars to the IRS isn’t going to make care better or more available for anyone. I will continue to fight to repeal and replace Obamacare with patient centered reforms that help the private sector—not the IRS—create more jobs.”

So will the IRS recoup this amount through levied fines, penalties, and recovered taxes like the tanning salon tax? Maybe. But even if it does there will still remain in place another thousand or so troops to add to the overstuffed federal payroll. Considering the Affordable Care Act is just round one, we can only guess how many more staffers the IRS will need over the next ten years. And don’t forget, if this law is not repealed, the IRS will also be tasked with enforcing mandatory insurance laws on all Americans.

Except, of course, the hundreds of businesses and unions that have already been exempted.

When our country was founded it was designed to operate as a limited government. Our forefathers had had their fill of intrusive and abusive monarchies in Europe and Great Britain and wanted to give their descendents something better. Until Americans quit accepting instead of demanding more government, this runaway train will never be stopped. Europe is already imploding under democratic socialism, yet many here seem hell-bent on emulating a system that is failing around the world.

So to the new IRS army – I don’t hold it against you for marching to the orders given to you.

I blame the ones giving the orders.

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