David Cay Johnston is no stranger to this website, though this website is possibly guilty of the crime he complained about in the Columbia Journalism Review yesterday:
Last week, we pointed to a piece of news that we have yet to read or hear from most major news organizations: The federal budget deficit is going to take a hit, because Congress included the government’s fundraising arm, the Internal Revenue Service, in the sequester.
Put in proper context, meanwhile, that story is a bigger deal than just a sequester tale. Adjusted for inflation and population growth, Congress has cut the IRS budget 17% since 2002, context that no major news organization has reported, as far as I can tell. Such cuts have real impact, as we shall see.
Or, as he tweeted earlier:
— David Cay Johnston (@DavidCayJ) May 1, 2013
DCJ goes on to remind everyone that for an average salary of $50,485, an IRS revenue agent can bring in $2.5 million. If he cares so much, why doesn't he give up his cushy job whining about this stuff and donate his investigative services to the IRS? Just imagine the kind of money DCJ could bring in!
Moreover, news hooks to this are all over the place. Last Thursday, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew told House members (the Committee On Appropriations Subcommittee On Financial Services And General Government) that the president wants “a $1 billion increase” for the IRS budget, “of which $412 million is to maintain the integrity of tax law enforcement” through “initiatives that provide a high return on investment.” In plain English, that refers to the budget for tax detectives to ferret out cheats.
Hardly anyone picked up on this. Searching in the Nexis major newspapers file and in Factiva since last Thursday and I could not find any coverage in major newspapers or on the three television network evening news programs. Patrick Temple-West of Reuters reported that “the head of the Internal Revenue Service cautioned on Thursday that tax collections will suffer from budget cuts imposed on the agency by Congress.” Dow Jones also ran a brief piece, by Jeffrey Sparshott, which said the furloughs of IRS personnel will result in “poorer service and lower revenue collection.”
Perhaps reporters are reluctant to suggest the IRS should be given a budget of approximately $57 gazillion due to the government's track record for waste and inefficiency? Even if the IRS is our biggest money-maker.
So, if any of you have a blog, can you placate this guy and write about how great it would be if the IRS would hire another 10,000 soldiers? It's really stressing him out. Kthx.