Fox News' Eric Bolling suggested today the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would hire 5000 new employees in order to enforce the health care law's minimum coverage provisions. But the proposed hiring by the IRS in President Obama's 2012 and 2013 budgets was to help the IRS fight tax evasion and cheating by corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
In response to the U.S. Supreme Court's upholding health care reform, Fox has offered its viewers a host of attacks not grounded in reality. On today's broadcast of Fox & Friends, guest host Eric Bolling offered another such attack, claiming, "there are going to be 5000 new IRS agents dipping into your financial records" in order to enforce health care reform's free rider penalty.
The Obama administration did propose expanding the IRS's budget to include an additional 5000 IRS agents in their 2012 budget proposal offered to the Congress in February 2011. However, according to a February 14, 2011, Bloomberg article, these agents were intended to fight "tax evasion through the use of offshore accounts and cheating by corporate and high-wealth taxpayers" and "seek out fraudulent tax preparers." This increased enforcement "would yield $1.3 billion in additional revenue" to the government's coffers if the budget had been enacted.
The Obama administration proposed a similar measure in its fiscal 2013 budget, requesting an increase in the funding of the IRS to "intensify enforcement of the tax code," enforcement that could have brought in "$5 for every dollar spent."
However, none of these measures ever became law, even as tax evasion and fraudulent filings become more common. According to a June 28 CNNMoney article, "as a result of the sharp increase in fraud and identity theft last year, the agency was simply unable to keep up with the demands in the latest tax season."
Bollings baseless assertion only serves to highlight a legitimate problem, not with health care reform, a measure whose penalty will only apply to a small number of people who choose not to purchase insurance, but the serious problem of tax evasion and fraudulent filings.