/ August 11, 2022
By Stephen Moore
Everyone should be deeply troubled by the recent report that the Army is on pace to miss its recruiting goal by dozens of thousands of troops and by the report that followed a few days later, alleging that the Border Patrol is running short of agents in Arizona and Texas.
The border is so porous these days that even mayors of sanctuary cities are starting to complain about illegal immigration.
So, what is Congress doing about these crises? They are going to spend tens of billions of dollars to increase the number of ... IRS employees. The plan calls for spending some $80 billion to hire some 80,000 new agents and investigators. This will give the IRS the resources to double the number of people who get audited every year.
Is this about the most warped set of national priorities you've ever heard? If this $80 billion were rerouted to the Army and the Border Patrol, we could easily stop much of the tide of illegal immigration and staff up our military so we have the soldiers we need to defend our country.
According to official budget numbers, the overall cost of border security at the Department of Homeland Security is roughly $55 billion a year. That is less than just the increase
in IRS funding to harass the public.
Or consider this: The epidemic of opioid and other drug overdoses is killing close to 100,000 a year. We spend about $11 billion a year to prevent these tragic deaths. But the ironically named Inflation Reduction Act calls for 30 times more than this, or more than $300 billion, to try to combat climate change, while the number of those who die from CO2 emissions each year is close to zero.
All of this is to say that the Biden-Manchin-Schumer spending bill that has now passed the Senate is arguably the greatest misallocation of our federal dollars in American history. It spends money in areas where we should be cutting expenses and ignores national security priorities.
The reason we have inflation is that the Biden administration has increased spending by $3 trillion in 18 months. Almost everyone knows this. The central idiocy of the Biden Inflation Reduction Act is that instead of cutting a half a trillion from the budget, this bill does just the opposite: It increases spending by that amount.
Incredibly, a bill that supposedly reduces the budget deficit does not cut one penny of actual spending from the federal budget. Even with federal audit reports finding more than $250 billion of "erroneous" payments in Medicaid, food stamps and unemployment insurance, Congress does nothing to reduce the fraud and theft.
As the latest report on shortages of recruits in our armed forces tells us, we have national priorities that need to be met. This bill bloats the budget, makes inflation worse and will add to our $30 trillion national debt without dealing with any of the nation's priorities.
It's reminiscent of the immortal line by Jeff Daniels to Jim Carrey in "Dumb and Dumber": "Just when I think you couldn't possibly be any dumber ..."
Stephen Moore is a co-founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity and an economist with FreedomWorks. He is the co-author of "Trumponomics: Inside the America First Plan to Revive the American Economy." He served as a senior economic adviser to the Trump campaign.
Free Press International
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