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Roth: Biden is impoverishing the middle and working classes

Op-ed

At every turn, the government is coming after more and more of your wealth.

Nuthawut Somsuk via GettyImages

The Democrats used to claim they were the party of the middle and working classes. While that hasn’t ever been true, it is now out in plain sight.

At every turn, the government is coming after more and more of your wealth, giving money to cronies and deceptively selling their maneuvers.

Under President Biden, this began with his attacks on traditional energy, which have materially raised the cost of living and sent us into what appears to be a "technical" recession.

Then, just a couple of months into the Biden presidency, the deceptively named “American Rescue Plan” not only overstimulated an already fragile and supply-constrained economy, but it quietly shifted tax reporting requirements for the IRS.

This change, which went into effect January 1, 2022, targets not mega-corporations and billionaires, but rather hobbyists, side-giggers, and small online sellers. Transactions via third party settlement processors or their electronic payment facilitators (ecommerce sites and marketplaces like eBay, Etsy, sites like Venmo or PayPal) were shifted from $20,000 and 200 transactions to a $600 threshold for IRS reporting.

Now, you are always responsible for reporting any income you make to the government, regardless of the amount, so there is no change there. However, lowering this threshold to target very small transactions puts an additional burden on the middle class, from moms who resell items from around the house no longer being used to kids making some extra cash from side jobs via marketplaces to hobbyists who frequently change the items in their collection.

This means, as an individual, you need to keep extensive records of everything related to a transaction, from how much you paid to relevant deductible fees and expenses — much like a business would. Ultimately, this rule change brings about more stress, costs, and time for everyday Americans for something that may be underreported by just a few dollars or even something that wasn’t misreported at all.

While this was sold as going after the “very wealthy,” it’s pretty clear that a $600 reporting threshold isn’t meant for the wealthy to pay their “fair share” of taxes.

And that’s the ruse: While headlines talk about going after billionaires, the details always make it harder for you. The wealthiest will get loopholes to preserve their wealth while you will be forced to give up your money.

Now, with the new “Inflation Reduction Act” — which is a spending bonanza that has nothing to do with reducing inflation and everything to do with separating you from your money — the government is looking to hire more IRS agents.

In fact, it is granting Biden’s “Build Back Better” wish of $80 billion in additional funding for the IRS. More than half of this is expressly earmarked for enforcement, and the funding expects to hire 87,000 additional employees. The New York Times estimated this “would be a nearly 70 percent increase over the agency’s entire funding levels for the past decade.”

With only 800-900 billionaires estimated in the country, you can see that’s not who tens of thousands of agents will be focused on. Just like lowering the threshold to $600 for e-commerce and hobby reporting, this is meant to come after you.

Even if more taxes are implemented at the corporate level, what do you think will happen? Will corporations and their shareholders eat those charges, or will they all pass them on to consumers?

At the end of the day, you are paying more.

You are paying more for gas, for housing, for food, and for just about everything in your life. Now, they want to increase taxes and audits and create a scenario where corporations pass more costs on to you. How the heck is any of this friendly to the middle or working classes?

It isn’t. They know and they don’t care. Before the additional spending, the Biden administration, with no abnormal issues like COVID relief to balloon it, was already projecting to spend $5.8 trillion, about a quarter of the GDP! And $1.4 trillion of that is deficit spending.

The Democrats under Biden want to spend you right out of the middle and working classes into poverty (and frankly, the Republicans aren’t thrifty, either). They can name bills whatever absurd names they want, but it doesn’t hide the fact they are working for the elite, not for you.

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