67 Comments

Thanks for the explanation of the IRS proposal. A friend had been perplexed about why anyone was in favor of cuts.

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It is not a surprise that Steve Schmidt is involved in the Dean Phillips business. He causes FAR more problems than he repairs.

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Surely, Mike Johnson knows that cutting funding to the IRS will lead to a decrease in revenue. Someone has had to inform him of that fact.

So I've wondered what his long-game is? Is it "less revenue = more spending cuts"?

(Cutting spending is, of course, a core Republican tenet.)

I hadn't considered that it creates a political trap for Democrats, though: short term strategy. But hey, why work with others when you can own them, right?

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“This is not what you do if you care about the safety of Jews...This is what you do when you care about other things and are willing to hold the safety of Jews hostage until you get them.”

Ouch, TRUTH.

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Nancy has it right; and Congress is full of garbage. As far as kids demonstrating goes, shut up and grow up. If you believe social media, which is a curse, you are in serious trouble. Turn off your stupid smartphone and donate to the Palestinians. Send food, fuel, medicine, whatever you can. And shut up and get off the streets. Do something important instead of behaving like the juvenile you may be.

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founding

Further politicizing aid to Israel and Ukraine by severing the two and holding Israel hostage to the trumpist agenda is like pumping gasoline into a bonfire. American Jews are already under extremist threat and understandably scared to death. This new Speaker is a disaster already a week after starting the job.

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"...would likely add... almost always result in dried-up tax collection..." Would likely add? Almost always? I followed the link to the IRS Rescission Would Worsen Deficits but don't see the "would likely" or "almost always" angles supported. I did see a CBO link to a Senate letter. Call me slow, but I thought we were speaking of the new House speaker.

The IRS Rescission Would Worsen Deficits lists links to what's in the Inflation Reduction Act and (ultimately) a primer on understanding the Tax Gap. The numbers being tossed around in all of these are estimates from bodies of data going back 10 or more years. Why? "...The process of estimating the tax gap is extremely complex and time consuming...". Perhaps the continued use of COBOL for core systems might account for some of this complexity. Despite multiple attempts to leave COBOL, the IRS has yet to successfully make that happen. Before moving on, does any ask as to the validity/accuracy of the estimates or are they taken at face value?

This COBOL technical debt leads me into the debate on a free tax filing system which is a great idea. I wouldn't expect the IRS to be the ones to design and write it, so regardless of what one thinks of TurboTax and HR Block, they're going to be as good as it gets unless someone could convince Bill Gates to fund the free system development effort.

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It can be fine to keep some of the core software that works in COBOL, and write other software in different languages.

This is probably not the reason it's hard to estimate the recoverable gap. Instead, I assume the IRS has a lot of returns they would like to audit, but they can't know how much unpaid tax they will find in un-audited returns until they actually spend the time and headcount to audit them.

What the IRS could do, and would be useful, is: "out of $ X spent on auditing today, how much $ Y unpaid tax was found and $ Z tax recovered". To show how much hopefully (Y > X) or (Z > X).

I do also suspect that AI could substantially improve auditing and recovery of unpaid tax, if the IRS is allowed to investigate this.

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My experience with COBOL, having written it, is that is very solid if there are minimal system changes. COBOL-based systems can't turn on a dime.

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Generative AI has likely made it economical to get out of old but trusty COBOL systems.

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My recent experiences with ChatGPT is that it will lie, give false information, so for me the jury is still out on that AI efficacy.

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My experience with ChatGPT mirrors yours.

However Generative AI generating code is rather different. It is a very powerful programmer’s assistant. The programmer need focus on tests of correctness, where previously she had to both write the code and test correctness.

Perhaps this is a reflection of the training set, namely stuff output by humans. Perhaps humans tend to Trumpish writing and to mostly correct programs.

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Thanks Joe. Really good report today and opened up

commentary nicely.

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I pay my taxes every year, on time.

GOP doesn't think I should do that anymore?

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Depends on whether you're a gazillionaire.

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Oh they absolutely think YOU should. Their owners? Different story.

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No, they don't. Taxes pay for things they do not want.

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When you're rich enough to buy a SCOTUS justice as a servant, you start to think you don't need no stinkin' gubment besides the military.

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Well, you do like the police too. Private security detachments get expensive.

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$5000/day, according to Romney.

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My bet is that the Kochs or an entity like them are bankrolling Dean Phillips, although I hear he is wealthy, so he may be bankrolling himself to start anyway. It’d be good to get his donor list.

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One of the disgraceful failures of the Democratic leaders over the past decade or more, is their inability or unwillingness to explain to the "Joe 6-pack" voters that emasculating the IRS helps only the wealthiest of taxpayers, or the fraudsters, some of whom are the same people. Is it because they are inept, or many of them are wealthy and will benefit from a weakened IRS, or more likely that their big donors, just like the Republicans' big donors, want to destroy the IRS's ability to audit complex tax returns. Joe 6-pack has never been audited by the IRS, but can easily be convinced that they regularly terrorize others. So, the Dems and the even the press have allowed MAGA, a faux-farmer like Senator Grassley, Fox News, and other dissemblers to paint the IRS as evil, and out to destroy the American family and religious liberty, while the Dems provide no blowback. On this issue, the Dems are major hypocrites, and it is costing American taxpayers tens of billions of dollars every year. The reason that the Reps slip an IRS-defunding provision into an Israel-funding bill, is because there's a good chance that they will get all or part of it, as they know many Dems want it too. That was proved with the recent Continuing Resolution Bill. Shame on the Democrats.

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Joe 6-pack isn't a real person.

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Ergo, the alleged “lived experience” of Joe Sixpack isn’t real either.

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Joe has a six pack?

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founding

More like a keg than a six-box.

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Joe Sixpack is never going to hear them no matter what they say if he is watching Fox News or gets news from his social media feed.

Shame on Republicans and right wing media for bamboozling Joe Sixpack. What a tragedy that he believes them and votes against his own interests.

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I would stay positive; welcome the new speaker, acknowledge the difficulties of the job, especially in these trying times, express a willingness to consider offsets for new spending authorizations broadly... and then start a very public debate as to why de-funding IRS is off the table. As you say, it may end up a net add to the deficit if collections go down, but also it's a giveaway to people who don't need it, in turn placing added tax burdens on Joe Six-Pack. And, if you cut the actual spending you deprive Joe Six-Pack of the red state benefits the base supports and smarmy GOP House members claim credit in their districts after voting no. Name names in a giant Wall of Shame Ad. End by saying you don't believe aid to Israel or Ukraine should be conditional and held hostage by the Swamp. Tell the GOP the door is open for offset discussions on legislation that doesn't have urgent national security implications.

We'll all, of course, be praying for them to do the right thing.

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I agree it would definitely help if the government can show a message like: "last year, IRS audits identified $ X of unpaid tax cheating, at a cost of only $ Y". Assuming Y < X this shows a clear win.

Or limit this to "$ xx of unpaid tax from <n> taxpayers each owing more than $1M" so it's clear how much is from rich tax cheats as opposed to smaller payers.

Unfortunately, this information may not be publicly available unless the Senate can ask for this in a committee meeting. But I agree that the Democrats should try to make Republicans pay for supporting tax cheats by making this indefensible.

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That's a good point, and definitely something we should have. If for no other reason than to confirm that Y really is < than X.

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So nothing changes, the republicans still plan to rule by terrorist tactics and hostage taking. Ron Johnson is one of Putin's most useful idiots and will delay funding of Ukraine any way that he can.

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founding

"Terrorist tactics and hostage taking" sounds a lot like the Hamas playbook....or is it Hummus as TFG said?

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So the Republican Party is the party of book bans, government shutdowns, increasing the deficit by coddling wealthy tax cheats, ignoring subpoenas, canceling electoral votes of states they don’t reside in, and--to top it all off--death threats for anyone Trump inveighs against. Sounds like a winning platform.

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founding

It is a winning platform if you don't think for yourself, and willingly kowtow to the Orangutan and his narcisstic, autocratic hallucinations.

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And run on a platform to “fix” inflation, something for which they continue to blame Biden. Has anyone seen a single effort in the Republican house to combat inflation, which is supposedly runaway. After all, the House is the appropriations branch. Or do the Republicans prefer to spend more taxpayer money with worthless, useless investigations?

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Thank you for raising this point. While we’re at it, what specific policy solution has fat orange Donny proposed? Similar proposal as the GQP congressional cult members- Zero, zilch, nada...but inflation is a big problem...

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Agreed. Remember…

Share of 2020 voters 100%

Voted 2016 & 2018 62%

Biden 53%

Trump 46%

Voted 2016, not 2018 13%

Biden 45% Trump 53%

Voted 2018 only 6%

Biden 62%

Trump 36%

Neither 19%

Biden 49%

Trump 47%

Biden lost in those voters that Trump shook from the trees.

Active and new voters both favored Biden

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It’s the classic cult response to the strongman demands.

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founding

Same as it ever was

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founding

Someone tell Mike Johnson we don't have an IRS problem, we have a human heart problem. 🙄

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founding

Well, the new game-playing Speecher (more accurate than Speaker) is close, but you forgot the prefix "in".

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As in, Mike Johnson and his fellow travelers do not have one.

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People should remember having long wait times to contact the IRS and long wait times for the IRS to process paper returns. Cutting IRS funding impacts Joe Sixpack. Republicans have a long history of cutting IRS funding to help wealthy taxpayers and companies. Did god tell Mike Johnson to do this? Is it in the Bible? Didn't Jesus say to render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, so paying your taxes is Jesus approved.

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