The top White House economic adviser is refusing to say whether 87,000 new IRS agents who would be hired as part of the “Inflation Reduction Act” just passed by the Senate will target Americans making under $400,000 for audits, drawing new criticism from Republicans and others.
In an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday, White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein was questioned by host Brian Sullivan about what effect the bill will have on average American taxpayers.
Besides the hiring of tens of thousands of new IRS agents, the bill also “would raise taxes on most Americans, despite promises not to increase taxes on those making less than $400,000,” Fox News reported.
“I want to be clear, is the president guaranteeing nobody making under $400,000 will be audited [by the new agents]?” asked Sullivan.
“No, no, no. That’s not what I said. Nobody making under $400,000 will pay higher taxes under the Inflation Reduction Act,” Bernstein said in response.
“If they are doubling the size of the IRS then who are they gonna go after?” Sullivan pressed, while also mentioning small businesses.
Fox News added:
Bernstein did not answer the question regarding who the extra IRS agents would audit, and instead restated his pledge that people making under $400,000 per year will not pay more in taxes.
However, Fox News reported that according to the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT), Bernstein’s pledge is not true. According to the JCT, Americans making less than $10,000 per year would see a 0.3% tax hike starting in 2023. Overall, starting in 2023, taxes would increase by $16.7 billion for Americans earning less than $200,000.
The economic adviser went on to claim that the bill’s stimulus regarding so-called ‘green energy’ sources will drive economic growth, which will then reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio.
“By investing and standing up a clean energy industry, manufacturing as the act does, that’s going to generate more economic growth, spin-off more revenues,” Bernstein said.
According to Brooke Rollins, CEO and president of the right-leaning America First Policy Institution, the “stakes for hardworking Americans and their families could not be higher” with the new bill, which is very likely to pass the House this week on its way to President Joe Biden’s desk.
“At the core of the laundry list of issues our nation now faces is a crisis of leadership coupled with a failure to implement policy that puts the American people first,” said Rollins, the former White House director of the Domestic Policy Council and chief strategist in the Trump administration.
“In a last-ditch effort to put a ‘win’ on the scoreboard before the midterms and after multiple failed attempts, the Biden Administration is yet again trying to revive the behemoth of a spending bill — this time deceitfully disguised as an effort to reduce inflation,” she added.
Grover Norquist, the founder and long-serving president of Americans for Tax Reform, said the passage of the measure “shrieks that even in a recession, the Democrat Party has one playbook: raise taxes.”
“Democrats cannot stop spending,” Norquist told Fox News. “The Schumer-Manchin tax and spend bill will highlight, through repetition, the policy failures of the Biden administration and the Democrat party.
“Like a bad game of Jeopardy, whatever the questions, the answer is always the same: higher taxes, higher spending and higher energy costs. It will keep the nation’s focus on inflation, falling real wages, high levels of non-work and recession,” he added.