We the people

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Well, our elected representatives in the United States Senate this past week voted to spend money on, among other things, 87,000 new federal employees for a specific department of government.

The United States Government is already the nation’s biggest employer with 2.1 million civilian employees. This does not count the military whose active forces number 1.2 million and an additional 778,000 paid reservists. So, about 4,000,000 people are employees of “we the people.”

I suppose an additional 87,000 new employees would be a good and acceptable expenditure if the government was seeking to add that number to the U.S. Border Patrol. The Border Patrol, one of the largest law enforcement agencies in America, has less than 20,000 officers to try to do an impossible job.

But no. These people will continue to do their job without a lick of concern, and not much assistance from, the powers in Washington who, with a straight face, claim to have the border under control.

No, in this massive expenditure collectively known (laughingly, if it weren’t so tragic) as the “Inflation Reduction Act,” the 87,000 employees are going to be added to … wait for it … here it comes … The Internal Revenue Service.

In Fiscal year 2021, the IRS employed 81,600 people which included 10,530 temporary and seasonal workers. Apparently, the IRS needs to more than double its size in order to double its ability to squeeze Americans even more than they are already being squeezed.

And it’s not like we weren’t already being squeezed by a near 10% inflation rate. After all, somebody has to pay for all the trillions of dollars being spent by those who were elected by, and work for, “we the people.”

I am not against taxes. I pay mine and have done so for many decades. I do so knowing that certain programs and services are necessary for a country this large and diverse in order to serve and protect its citizens. And, as long as we have an income tax, I understand the need for the IRS.

The United States didn’t have a federal income tax until 1861, when it was imposed to help finance the Civil War. It was repealed in 1872, but in 1917 the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified and the federal government has been collecting taxes ever since. Now, tax paying Americans work each January, February, March, and half of April just to pay all the federal, state, and local taxes.

“Well, we all need to do our share, right?” Oh, if that was only true. In 2021, 57% of households in the United States paid no income tax at all. Not one dime. That left 43% who paid the entire bill for the whole country.

And who pays the most? Well, certainly not me. In 2019 the top 1% of Americans paid more federal income tax than the bottom 90% combined. The top 1% paid $612 billion dollars while the bottom 90% paid a combined federal income tax of $461 billion dollars.

Well, apparently, it’s not enough because there will be an additional 87.000 IRS personnel who will be on the job. But, we the people got the government we the people voted for. The nation, as it always does, made its choice and now we the people will live with it.

The bill is expected to easily pass in the House of Representatives in a few days. When it does, the President will sign it. We are, of course, being told that this is all for our benefit, that it will help average Americans. It reminds me of the quote by President Ronald Reagan: “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help.“

[David Epps has been a weekly columnist for The Citizen since December 1996, He may be contacted at davidepps@ctk.life.]

3 COMMENTS

  1. If you aren’t cheating on your taxes, you should be fine Rev.

    I’m a little astonished at how many local folks we have whom are probably cheating on their taxes. I don’t know what kind of chicanery y’all have been up to but I’m happy to let the IRS audit me all day, every day. It’s been woefully understaffed.

  2. Rev. Epps can always be relied upon to promote some ultra-conservative canard that he knows (or should know as a clergyman) is disingenuous. Since many people do not make enough money to pay federal income tax, he implies that they do not pay taxes. Talk about cherry picking data!

    The poor pay local, state, sales, employment (FICA and Medicare), property, excise, etc. taxes that constitute a higher percentage of their incomes in taxes than the rich. In states that generate their revenue through sales taxes instead of income taxes, the burden on the lower half of earners is even more regressive.

    Apparently, being honest enough to present the overall truth about American taxation would upset his mendacious argument. This is akin to stating that the European death toll in the 14th Century was quite unexceptional – except for the Black Plague that took the lives of half the population.