'No targeting of the middle class': White House economist shuts down Fox News IRS fearmongering
Shortly after President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law on Tuesday, White House Council of Economic Advisers member Jared Bernstein schooled Fox News anchor Neil Cavuto on Tuesday about the landmark law's provisions that provide $124 billion in funding to enhance the Internal Revenue Service's revenue enforcement capabilities over the next decade.
Republicans and right-wing pundits have insisted that those funds – specifically the $87 billion allocated to hire thousand of new employees through 2031 – would result in political targeting of middle and low-income American workers through subjective tax increases.
But as Bernstein explained to Cavuto, the IRA will empower the IRS to go after high-income tax dodgers.
"I don't believe, Neil, that you wanna say it's okay to evade taxes. I'm sure you agree with me that that's illegal and that it's wrong," Bernstein stated.
"That's not what I'm saying at all. I just know that the $400,000-and-under crowd makes up more than half the money that comes into the IRS. And I just want to be clear, you're saying that that crowd will not be targeted by the IRS? That's it, you don't have to worry about it," Cavuto responded.
"The $80 billion spent on beefing up enforcement is going to target those well above $400,000 because, by the way, you're right. There are a lot of people below $400k who pay taxes. But the vast bulk of the tax gap, meaning the difference between what's paid and what's owed, occurs at the very top of the scale. I mean, if we can close that gap, we can raise $120 billion, and that's the C[ongressional] B[budget] O[office] score. There are people who think it's multiples of that. It does not touch one taxpayer under $400,000," Bernstein added.
Cavuto then alluded to a "whistleblower" who appeared on his network and claimed that the IRS had its sights set on the middle class "because that's where the money is. You're telling me that's not the case?" he said.
"Correct. Let's be very careful not to give any misinformation here. There is no targeting of the middle class," Bernstein replied. "The commissioner of the IRS said that to the extent that audits increase, they are of those above $400k and actually well above $400k because that's where the bulk of tax evasion when it comes to actual dollar amounts takes place."
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\u201cWhite House Economic Adviser Jared Bernstein and Fox News\u2019 Neil Cavuto get in a HEATED debate over IRS funding in the Inflation Reduction Act.\n\nBernstein: \u201cI don\u2019t believe, Neil, that you want to say it\u2019s OK to evade taxes \u2026 Let\u2019s be very careful not to give any misinformation.\u201d\u201d— The Recount (@The Recount) 1660682602
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