Taxpayer Protection Alliance Executive Director Patrick Hedger on How the Inflation Reduction Act Echoes the Affordable Care Act

Live from Music Row, Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Patrick Hedger, executive director of the Taxpayer Protection Alliance, to the newsmaker line to discuss the Inflation Reduction Act and the hiring of 87,000 IRS agents.

Leahy: We’re joined now on the newsmaker line by Patrick Hedger, the executive director of the Taxpayer Protection Alliance.

We want to talk about this awful bill, the Inflation Reduction Act that’s going to add 87,000 new IRS agents. Good morning, Patrick.

Hedger: Hey, good morning. How are you?

Leahy: Well, I’ve been better.

Simon: Indeed! Can you protect us?

Leahy: Yeah, really? I saw that some spokesman for the IRS said, yeah, we’re adding 87,000 new agents, but we’re not going to be auditing people more. Now, I don’t believe that.

Simon: You should just call it what it really is going to be – an army.

Leahy: What is going on with this, Patrick?

Hedger: Yes, absolutely. And I mean, talk about the Inflation Reduction Act, it has echoes of the Affordable Care Act, which when that passed, premiums started going up, the cost of health care started going through the roof.

So I have a feeling the Inflation Reduction Act will have a similar fate. This whole idea that the IRS is not going to be auditing the people that it is currently auditing at a disproportionate rate, which is lower-income minorities, is totally crazy.

Because if you just look at what the economics tells us, agencies like this, they go after the low-hanging fruit. And the low-hanging fruit is the people that do not have the accountants and the lawyers and the means to be able to fight back.

And so that’s where the disproportionate amount of this new enforcement army that they’re hiring is going to be going. (Unintelligible crosstalk)

Simon: I have a question for you, if you don’t mind. Is that what they’re really aiming at, or are they aiming at, to be very blunt, Republicans?

Hedger: There’s a big question mark there. There’s a history of the IRS being politicized, actually even by both parties historically.

Adding all of these new enforcement resources to the agency, without addressing some of that underlying corruption, is really problematic.

Leahy: Let’s talk about the practicality of this. They’re going to jam through the bill in the House. It’s one of these 2,000-page bills that nobody ever reads.

In it, they’re giving the IRS, all this stuff – by the way, did you see the report that they’re trying to hire agents that are good at the use of guns with deadly force, Patrick?

Hedger: Yes, I did see that. And that’s what folks need to understand, is that the IRS is not just a bunch of nerds, right? It’s not just a bunch of accountants. This is a law enforcement agency, and it has SWAT teams and all the other things.

Leahy: Oh boy, that sounds like just not that great. Here’s a question for you, Patrick. Let’s say that the Republicans mount an effort in the House not to pass it, but they end up passing this thing, is there a possibility that if the Republicans take back the House in January, they could simply choose not to fund these 87,000 new agents?

Hedger: The issue really there becomes getting through the Senate. The Senate is looking a lot tighter than it was earlier in the year. And then, of course, nothing’s going to be able to, unless you have veto-proof majorities, nothing gets over Joe Biden’s desk. What Republicans can do if they take over one or both chambers is lots of oversight hearings. They’ve got that power. It’s the power of the purse.

Leahy: Hold it. They’ve got the power of the purse on the budget in the House. Why can’t they just say, we’re not going to fund these agents?

Hedger: Yes, that’s a good point. I mean, you could force a government shutdown, for example, but if you want the government to be continued funding, you’d have to go through the Senate as well. And then also Joe Biden would have to sign some sort of defunding without the government shutting down.

But oversight hearings are well within their power, and there’s plenty of subpoena power there. They can make sure that these agents aren’t being used in the way that we all fear.

Leahy: Patrick Hedger, the executive director of the Taxpayer Protection Alliance. Thanks so much for joining us and come back again, please.

Listen to the interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Patrick Hedger” by Patrick Hedger












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