“Beast Mode” IRS Already Armed and Dangerous

As Brad Polumbo notes, Congress is poised to pass a bill that would increase IRS funding by $80 billion and more than double the IRS workforce. This expansion allegedly targets only wealthy tax cheats, but as Polumbo contends “everyday Americans should be concerned.”

The IRS is a “rogue agency without accountability,” targeting taxpayers who have broken no laws and doing it for political purposes. Those responsible for the crackdown suffered no consequences, all part of the IRS “recent scandals and abuses of its power.”

The real crackdown will target middle class and workers. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, 78-90 percent of money raised from under-reported income will likely come from those making less than $200,000 per year, and only 4-9 percent from those making more than $500,000. 

To have the IRS “go beast mode,” Polumbo concludes, “is bad news.” Ordinary Americans might not be aware that the agency is already oversized, armed and dangerous. 

Between March 1 and June 1, 2022, the Criminal Investigation division of the IRS, ordered $696,000 in ammunition, and this is not a new development. According to the General Accounting Office (GAO) from 2010 through 2017 the IRS has spent an average of $675,000 on ammunition, a full $1,100,000 in 2011. 

The IRS supposedly deploys firearms to combat dangerous gangs, but in “beast mode” ordinary Americans could easily become the prime targets. Legal niceties such as the presumption of innocence do not apply with the IRS as they do in the courts. 

When government deploys military force against the people, those innocent of any crime can be gunned down, with little or no accountability. Should that be doubted, recall the FBI actions 30 years ago at Ruby Ridge, when FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi killed the unarmed Vicki Weaver as she held her infant daughter. 

Snipers are carefully trained to “acquire” the target, so the chances are slim that the killing was accidental, as FBI boss Louis Freeh claimed. The belief that government gun violence could not occur under a beast mode IRS is quite a stretch. As it happens, the IRS and FBI are not the only federal agencies that could qualify as armed and dangerous. 

As we noted in 2012, the federal Department of Education includes an enforcement division that deploys Remington Model 80 shotguns. In 2011 the DOE enforcers raided the California home of Kenneth Wright, broke down the door, and put Wright in a police car along with his three young children. As it turned out, the raid was for an issue involving Wright’s estranged wife, who was not there at the time. 

This sort of abuse also happens at the state level. For example, California’s Department of Consumer Affairs deploys an armed police force that in January of 2021 raided a hair salon in Stockton. Their crime was to remain open and ignore Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide shutdown of small businesses he deemed unessential. Business owners might wonder what legitimate purpose the Department serves. The same could be said for the federal Department of Education, which did not exist prior to 1980.

Government bureaucracies are easy to establish but practically impossible to eliminate, whatever waste, fraud or abuse they happen to perpetrate. As politicians expand these bureaucracies, they become more wasteful, abusive and militant. Watch for the fireworks as the bloated IRS goes full beast mode. 

K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at American Greatness.
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