Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Obama's budget adds 5,100 new IRS agents

President Obama's fiscal 2012 budget doesn't cut much of anything (see above), and certainly not the Internal Revenue Service. The White House is requesting that the most beloved of all government agencies get an additional 5,100 agents next year, no doubt to wring further tax revenue from Americans. The White House wants to give the IRS a 9.4% raise in fiscal 2012, to $13.28 billion. Reuters reports this would allow for a roughly 5% increase in agency manpower to 100,537, including $460 million more for tax enforcement than in 2010.

We doubt this is the kind of fiscal discipline that voters had in mind in November, but it does reflect the mentality of an Administration that assumes it could go a long way to balancing the budget if only fewer Americans shirked their tax bills. The 5,100 extra IRS gumshoes are supposed to chase the $300 billion "tax gap," the Beltway's version of the Loch Ness monster that is the difference between what the IRS collects and what Congress thinks Americans owe. It's about as real as Nessie, though at least with the monster some Scots claim photographic evidence.