The ongoing scandal regarding IRS targeting of conservatives suggests the agency is available to do the Obama administration’s dirty work whenever it can. As the disastrous ObamaCare law barrels forward, however, such assistance will likely no longer be possible. In fact, some analysts predict an overburdened IRS might just be the ultimate downfall of the healthcare law.
For starters, an agency already responsible for enforcing the nation’s convoluted tax law will be required to issue additional penalties to the millions of Americans who refuse to sign up for a government-approved insurance plan. In total, the law means at least 45 new provisions are being added to agents’ workload.
Among those who have already enrolled, more than eight in 10 believe they qualify for subsidies. It will also be the IRS’s job to determine if these individuals truly are eligible for the federal discounts.
Agency officials recognize they are already woefully unprepared to adequately complete the tasks for which they are currently responsible. Whether through fraud or oversight, nonpayment of taxes has already resulted in a tax gap of almost $400 billion. If the IRS cannot track down this staggering sum of missing money, many conclude it stands little chance of fulfilling its new mandates.
IRS administrator John Koskinen candidly admitted this fact during a recent National Press Club address.
“The biggest challenge to us is funding,” he explained. “We have fewer employees and resources, even as our responsibilities expand.”
ObamaCare will only stretch the agency thinner, Koskinen said, noting that advancements in technology and other resources meant to make the tax-collecting process easier will suffer.
“Since we are mandated to implement [the Affordable Care Act],” he said, “that means our budget level for other major projects like updating our IT systems has been shelved.”
Though it seems the administration might have forecast this issue prior to ramming ObamaCare through the legislative process, this development strikes many as evidence that the White House was concerned only in the law’s passage – not its efficacy once enacted.
Still, some critics say the IRS is squandering what resources it does have. Florida Republican Rep. Ander Crenshaw wondered why, with a budget of more than $11 billion, the agency “can’t find the money to answer more than half the phone calls and yet you can find the money to pay $63 million in bonuses.”
No matter what agency officials are doing with their resources, however, it appears they are going to be unable – or unwilling – to absorb the added burden of enforcing ObamaCare. The idea of the administration’s enforcement arm destroying its most cherished accomplishment strikes many Americans as delicious irony.
–B. Christopher Agee