By Rep. Drew Ferguson
The Biden administration and congressional Democrats have unveiled yet another outrageous, big-government policy proposal aimed toward increasing their control over the people. The latest idea is imposing a broad financial surveillance regime allowing the Internal Revenue Service to snoop through the bank accounts of millions.
As part of their already massive, multitrillion-dollar reconciliation bill, Democrats are planning on slipping in legislation requiring banks and other financial institutions to provide the IRS details on their customers and any accounts with deposits or withdrawals with a certain value.
The threshold here is irrelevant. Whether the amount is $1, $600, or $10,000, allowing the IRS this kind of unchecked power is just plain wrong and is a direct violation of everyone's Fourth Amendment rights. The government simply does not have the right to search through your private information without probable cause.
To enforce this surveillance plan, President Joe Biden wants to hire nearly 87,000 new IRS agents, which would more than double the agency’s workforce. In fact, with 86,852 IRS agents, you could fill the Atlanta Braves’ baseball stadium twice. Democrats are also planning to invest $80 billion in the IRS, which would be a nearly 70% increase over the agency's entire funding levels for the past decade.
While congressional Democrats will tell you that this bill is an attempt to catch wealthy tax dodgers and close an ill-defined “tax gap,” their original proposed metric of $600 would mean the IRS would have access to the bank accounts of nearly every person who has a job, pays rent or bills of any kind, or owes money on a mortgage.
Moreover, with leaks and hacks already commonplace, there are serious concerns that the IRS even has the capability to safeguard the private financial information of millions. This is a hugely dangerous empowerment of the IRS, not to mention that Democrats have a history of weaponizing the agency for their own political gain. Simply put, people do not and should not trust the government, especially the IRS, with the power to review nearly every purchase, transaction, and impulse buy that they make. It’s none of the government's business.
This proposal is nothing more than an outrageous attempt by Democrats to pander to their liberal base and pay for their wildly expensive and highly invasive big-government socialist spending bills. These bills are costing more than just your privacy. Biden and the Democrats’ promise not to tax anyone making less than $400,000 is a flat-out lie. We’re already feeling the effects of these policy choices from out-of-control inflation and rising prices at the gas pump and the grocery store. The hypocrisy is just outrageous.
Alongside every member of the House Ways and Means Committee and more than 100 of my congressional colleagues, I introduced the Prohibiting IRS Financial Surveillance Act to combat this massive government overreach by preventing the agency from implementing any new reporting requirements for banks or other financial institutions as part of the Biden administration’s aggressive bank surveillance regime.
This legislation would protect the financial privacy of millions, prevent the disclosure of information on individuals’ private bank account deposit or withdrawal activity, and limit burdens to working families, farmers, marginalized communities, and small businesses. Protecting the rights of the public shouldn’t be controversial.
At the end of the day, Democrats will do whatever is necessary to convince you that their tax-and-spend plans won’t cost you any money — even if it comes at the cost of your privacy and your constitutional rights.