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tv   Washington Journal Aaron Withe  CSPAN  August 21, 2022 11:04am-11:48am EDT

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the age of reagan series. greatness and patriotism is not enough. about the scholars who changed the course across america. join us with your facebook comments text and tweets. steven hayward lives sunday, september 4 at noon eastern. on c-span two. >> washington journal continues. host: we are back and we are going to talk this morning with the ceo of the freedom foundation. he is here to discuss the additional 80 billion dollars the irs will be getting as a part of the inflation reduction act and how that will affect america. aaron, good morning. guest: thanks for having me on the show. host: first tell us a little bit more about your background and who funds your work? guest: founded in the early 90's
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by conservatives in washington state. the freedom organization is a new organization. outside of their government unions, every public employee in america faces about $11,000 a year in union dues. that money belongs to them as they can opt out, put it back in their pocket.
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host: the headline reads a larger irs. another way to reward biden's cronies. why do you say this? guest: bidens norman one -- bidens number one political contributors -- taking this money from everyday employees. when we see the potential -- what we are seeing is 7000 potential union paid members. if you just do the math, conservatively, let's say people pay $500 and the average, the irs union seeks -- million dollars every single year. on the others, --.
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of tremendous pressure when being audited. they are going to be going after 100%. they are going to be going after everyday americans as well. i see this as the biden democrats giving themselves a pat on the back. putting more money in their campaign pockets than at the same time going after conservative groups. host: let's look at the specific provisions of the inflation reduction act and what is going to happen at the irs. according to the inflation reduction act, they are going to invest $80 billion over the next
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10 years to the irs. it will allow the irs to hire as male -- as many as 80 million employees over the next decade. it estimates they will raise more than $2 million in revenue or a net of 24 billion dollars. my first question would be, are you making an assumption that all of those employees of the irs are democrats? guest: no. what happens is when you become a public employee, usually it is expect that you will become a union member on day one. what we found what teachers and other employers throughout america, regardless of political affiliation, most people signed up to be in the union from day one because they didn't under and they had a choice. that is the key difference here. they don't know that they are going towards democrats. they have no idea most times.
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it takes the freedom group -- it takes the freedom foundation to go out and tell the people they have a choice. they are probably not well-informed about their rights when it comes to joining a union. on top of that, they are not given the option to opt out until they are contacted by a group like the freedom foundation. host: you also said you are assuming these irs agents will be auditing people who make a certain amount of money instead of auditing people that make a lot of money. where are you getting that information from? guest: what i said, of course they will be auditing the rich. they are exclusively auditing the rich. i find it absurd to think the biden administration and the democrats thinking that they can go out and pass this inflation reduction act -- i keep my
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receipt from my business lunch. tax americans and weaponize americans against them. it is a difference. host: we are going to open up regular lines. republicans you can call, (202) 748-8001. democrats, your line is (202)
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748-8000. independents, you can call (202) 748-8002. you can always text at (202) 748-8003. and we are always reading on twitter at and you said the obama administration and democrats are weaponizing to go after certain groups. explain exactly what you're talking about. guest: that is one of the ways
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the irs was going after conservative groups. i see the same thing happening here. i think the biden administration under the piece of legislation that was passed, i think they are going to weaponize the irs. they are going to be focused more on conservative groups that they are on other groups. on top of that, -- videos coming out on social media are training these irs people. it seems absurd to me --.
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host: democrats didn't give a single dollar to republicans. guest: when you look at the irs union, they lean to the left. host: the irs and people who cover the irs say the irs budget -- i want to read to you a quote about economic policy reporter madeleine know. here's what she reported. the irs budget has been cut nearly 20% since 2010. the agency's ability to
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modernize technology. in 2010, the irs had about 90,000 employees. that number dipped to about 78,000 employees in 2021. some of the agency's computer still run on coble. a programming language that dates back to the 1960's. it sounds like the irs needs some money just to date their system and their number of employees has dropped. would you disagree with the idea that the irs needs money to modernize? guest: have you ever heard a government agency say they have enough money? they are always going to complain about a lack of funding. even with this new recession, probably five years down the line, they are going to be saying they needed funding back then. there is never enough money. they are always looking at getting more. i am not sure of the specifics in terms of what the irs budget currently is.
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but i know there is a significant increase. suing the american taxpayers were as many dollars as they can get. whether it be by chasing tax law. i do not believe this is going to end up as american getting or money at a time when they essentially need it. that is why i said this bill is ironically made. the inflation reduction act. taking more money from people and putting it back into irs agents. i don't think that is going to put any more money back in the pockets of americans. host: let's let some of our
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viewers take part in this conversation. we will start with steve who was calling from san jose california on the republican line. steve, good morning. caller: i totally agree with your guest in regard -- this stands to be used by the democrats for nefarious purposes. let's go back to lois lerner. it was documented how many trips she made it the obama white house. i think it was about 20 trips. i am sure they were having conversations about obama and how she should we say, work for nefarious purposes of
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republicans. she took the fifth when she was called up in front of congress. when they found out what she was doing going after the tea party, she took fits. another point, i will make two points here. when it was found out that the democrats requested $80 billion for the irs, the republicans complained that it was going to be used for nefarious purposes -- the irs would not be going
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against people making under or hundred k. that was -- 400 k. that was voted down by every democrat. i hope when republican dean, house representative, this screams for an oversight committee to keep track of what these people are going to do. host: go ahead and respond, aaron. guest: i agree. all government spending with caution. they know they are -- two people of under $400,000. they are going to be going after that mom-and-pop shop. individuals -- those are people they are going to be auditing as
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well. that is what i mean when i say everyday americans should be worried about this. i think they already are when they do things. i think they are going to be concerned about this. i don't believe this is a good thing for your everyday americans. to squeeze the american population for every dollar they could possibly allude to the irs. when you are in potential litigation or audit with the irs, because in everyday american doesn't want to go down that route. everybody should be scared about what the biden administration
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--. caller: taking the fifth amendment. can you imagine how much criminal behavior he must have been guilty of? are you just against unions altogether? guest: i believe if unions are going to exist, they should be voluntary. people should go about their rights to unions. representing their members rather than putting tens of millions, hundreds of million dollars into policies which is today what government unions are doing all across america. host: let's go to cory who is calling from davidson, maryland on the independent line. cory, good morning. caller: yes. 5% of the population controls 75% of the world's wealth -- 95%
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of the world well. they use that money to social engineer and ergonomic engineer the fate of human race, basically. i see unions as a buffer to argue for workers rights and citizens rights. the common man's rights. while these big, special interest, money corporations by and sale -- buy and sell and social engineer. guest: when you talk about unions, there is a disassociation with labor unions today. labor unions today are not representing coal miners. they are representing irs agents in a government office.
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number one spending is politics. the number one special interest group in america and the scandal of it is they have taken this money from your everyday public employee and funneled into politics. we just did an analysis of the national education association's budget. it was less than 10% of their whole budget being spent on representing teachers. over 50% of their budget was being spent on political activities and grants to file one three c4's which is basically political and nonprofit. we talk about special interest groups, government unions are special interest groups in america. host: when you say -- to target
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conservative groups? is the same happening in conservative --? guest: i haven't seen any evidence of that. i have never seen an irs go after liberal groups in america. i have never seen peoples irs status from liberal groups being there's like we saw in the obama administration. caller: good morning. host: go ahead, jack.
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caller: i am a converted democrat. i have always said we needed a businessman in the white house. one who knew what he was doing. host: go ahead and respond,
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aaron. guest: i didn't hear a lot of what was said. but that is the irs in the past. that is the best thing we should be doing. overseeing what the irs is spending and how it is allegedly reducing inflation. that is what the bill was called. i expect it will do that. that is the intention of it. i would hope to see they are not overspending -- if there are
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going to be people -- if there are going to be audited, it should be the wealthy people. it should be large corporations rather than mom and pop shops. i anticipate it is going to be everyday americans. 87,000 government bureaucrats is a lot of people to be hiring in any agency. let alone the irs. host: you're not calling on republican lawmakers or a future republican administration to defund the irs? guest: it will be good. you rarely see a government
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program --. it will be a great thing to undo this. host: citing taxpayer fairness and how it would hire -- how it will target wealthy tax evaders. here is what senator ron wyden had to say. [video clip] >> we have heard some of our colleagues on the other side say this is going to target the
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working class. that is not going to happen. my colleagues on the finance committee know so well, working people are not the problem here. they pay taxes with every single paycheck. it is right there on their paycheck. everybody knows. what taxes they pay and should they be engaging in any questionable activity, it would in the showing up on these forms . they are not the problem. as we have been told again and again by independent experts, democrats, republicans and independents, we do have a problem with big, wealthy tax cheats. big, wealthy tax cheats don't pay taxes every single paycheck like firefighters and nurses. and after decades of republican budget cuts, we are now in very difficult position to go after these wealthy people who rip off
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a republican appointee estimated the number of taxes owed that are not collected could be as much as a trillion dollars per year. we believe the agency all to the resources it needs i know my colleagues to join me in saying we are going to watch very closely and make sure the focus is on these wealthy tax cheats and not the working person and -- like my colleagues from the other side of the aisle have talked about.
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guest: he paints a grim picture of wealthy individuals. these are people creating jobs in america. they should be celebrated. what these people tend to do, they don't avoid taxes but they play the tax code in a way that benefits them. if the tax code the government has been in charge of for a long time. the billionaires don't have the resources to go out and do that. they are paying taxes every paycheck. but those people should be scared of is the irs coming after them. if there is allegedly $1 trillion out there from
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taxpayers not being paid, a lot of the significant portion of that is coming from people earning below a certain threshold, which is why the democrats voted against having a 400,000 -- only forcing people over the $400 threshold. that is what democrats voted against. it is not going to be specifically targeting people above 400 thousand dollars, it is going to hit everybody. host: i want you to talk a little bit about the current congressional investigation going on with the irs. the latest story in political outreach. and i want you to react to it. this is a story from politico in july. the irs says a government watchdog to investigate how to former cis criticized former donald -- former president donald trump.
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the new york times reported wednesday that former fbi director james comey and his one-time deputy were both audited through the national research program in recent years. a few of a simple thousand returns every year at 150 million hired by the irs. the senior lawmakers said thursday was hard to believe comey and -- was coincidental. even if irs has safeguards in place designed to illuminate politically --.
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guest: that is the better practice. we should know who is influencing theirs. i don't know if there was targeting going on here. i will have to see. suppose that is what this investigation is going to find out. host: are you calling for more open tax forms for all government officials, including agency heads?
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that their tax form should be published. guest: if you are put into a position where you are put on top, for example, we should know who is influencing those folks like james comey. both administrations. we should know who is influencing our elected officials. i think that is a good thing and we should be knowing at the end of the day if they are making money outside of their jobs. we should know that. host: just to be clear, you're talking about not only agency heads, the supreme court, heads of congress, all 35 members of congress and the president. all of their tax forms should be public? am i understanding you? guest: yes. that should absolutely be public. we should know who is influencing them.
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they found anthony found she made hundreds of thousands of dollars outside of his job. i think that information should be public more often than not when it comes to elected officials and agency heads. host: let's go back to our phone lines and go to rondeau who was calling from williamsburg, new jersey on the credit line. wanda, good morning. caller: good morning good morning good morning to your guests. thank you for taking my call. this country is in turmoil. i don't ink -- we don't have to
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be accountable. we can do exactly what we want. his approach is divisive. it is about the democrats this, the converse is the conservative. if people do what they should be doing, they have nothing to be afraid of. so why continue to tell the people that you should be afraid? he is actually making people fearful and trying to get people to object to what is going on. the people who are robbing this country of the taxes, they should be afraid. if you are doing the right thing, you have nothing to be afraid of. aaron never mentioned or talked about the level of fraud in the stuff that goes on in this country. all he is talking about is they
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should be afraid that somebody is looking at your taxes. well, if you are doing the right thing, you have nothing to worry about. host: go ahead and respond there, aaron. guest: the point is a good one. but this sounds like somebody that has never been audited by the irs. if they find something deep in there that you didn't even anticipate, it could be something as redundant as not keeping your receipt from a business lunch that you held 12 years ago. deducting office space if you have your own business. if the office space is bigger or smaller than you deducted from. there is so many nuances when it comes to filing taxes. that everyday americans are not aware of. the ultra-wealthy have accountants that do a pretty good job of making sure they are paying the right amount of taxes. when i talk about americans should be scared, i would be scared if the irs came knocking
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on my door trying to make sure that i did everything correctly. probably most americans would be in that same situation if the irs came knocking on the door. host: let's talk to david who was calling from los angeles, california on the independent line. david, good morning. caller: mr. white, you have made so many misstatements. i don't know where to begin. you are either grossly uninformed or you're just a blatant liar. donald trump got tax breaks. 80 billion went to the will -- to the wealthy. the irs was targeting illegal -- it just happened they were conservative groups trying to donate generous amounts of money to support the candidates which was illegal. we know this for a fact because the application went from 170
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per year to 1700 per year. and when they did the research, they realized most of them were coming from extreme white wing conservative groups. t party patriot type of groups. and they were trying to dump money into their candidates coffins. a physically went to some of these locations and found political part -- for little -- political flyers. most of the stuff that you said thus far is just factually false. thank you. guest: i am certainly aware of how the irs operates when it comes to 501(c)(3)'s. giving political contributions to any candidate as a nonprofit is illegal.
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if that is happening anywhere, it should be shut down. people receive a tax break for giving donations to 501(c)(3)'s like my own. as we do not engage in politics. we are an organization that helps give -- opt out of their union. with 50 -- what 501(c)(3) should be doing is not engaging in any political --. host: has your group ever been audited by the irs or have you ever been audited by the irs? what was the experience like if it did happen? guest: we go through an audit every year. not by the irs. we go through a group comes in and looks to make sure everything is in line like it should be. the most 501(c)(3) groups have the same practices to make sure
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we are in compliance with whatever the irs puts out there. that is a good business practice. we should be doing that. and to operate in some states, you have to go out and do that. it is one of the ways you can help yourself if you do have a 501(c)(3) or other nonprofit groups. those are some of the ways you can help to avoid misconduct. we certainly hold ourselves to the highest standard doing an audit every year. host: let's go to mongo who is calling from silverdale, washington on the republican line. mongo, good morning. mongo, are you there? caller: yes, i am here. host: go ahead. caller: ok. host: go ahead. caller: hello?
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this is mongo. host: go ahead. caller: i am talking. this is mongo. host: let's go to john who was calling from crystal lake, illinois on the democrat line. john, good morning. caller: good morning. thanks for taking my call. it doesn't sound like this guest, he doesn't want to pay taxes. that is the long and the short of it. i think corporations need to pay more than their fair share. when he claims the irs is going to start targeting regular people, the irs has been targeting regular people the entire time. i don't know where he is coming up with this. i think he doesn't want his company or the megarich to be taxed. they should be. i also want to comment on the marginal tax rate during the biggest economic boom in this country during the 1950's was at 90%.
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and it has just gone down ever since and if he doesn't know already, the billionaires have already made trillions more in profits during these pandemic when wages for workers have stayed stagnant. and the workers still pay a higher tax rate than people like jeff bezos who pays zero in taxes. to me it sounds like this guy doesn't want to pay taxes. i assume he feels taxes are theft in some way. i would encourage listeners to ignore whatever other -- whatever utter bs he has to say. host: go ahead and respond, aaron. guest: my point i made earlier about the ultra-wealthy people paying their fair share of taxes, like i said, these guys have accounts -- have accountants.
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to maneuver the tax and put more money in their pocket. the everyday americans don't have those types of accountants. they don't have the kinds of resources to go out and do that. i am of the believe we should be taxing people as little as possible. putting that money back in the pockets of people. i think they make more -- i think they make better decisions with their money than the government. he is welcome to write the irs and government agencies bigger taxes -- bigger checks were his taxes these year. host: let's talk to joan calling from cleveland, ohio on the republican line. joan, good morning. caller: good morning. listen, all i have to say is i am a commonsense person. the problem i am having is i am always saying for the little guy, i think the government, if they want to do what they are doing, they should start from
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the top person down. start with joe biden and his family, carmella, nancy pelosi, everyone in government. do them and then do your governors. because that is where we are trying to find out. how much money they have, where they are spending it, are they involved in stock fraud. everything. we just need to know. and they need to get rid of the lobbyists. if nothing else, they also should be taken care of first. i thank you. have a great sunday. host: go ahead and respond, aaron. guest: i think it comes back to the point i made earlier. we should be knowing who is influencing our elected officials at the top levels. agencies, is cetera. these people should be disclosing their taxes so that we can see where they are making
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additional money from outside of their government jobs. i think that is a good practice that would help clean these types of things up. that should happen on both sides of the aisle. host: we would like to thank aaron who is the chief executive officer for the freedom foundation for coming this morning and talking about the $80 billion from the irs for hiring an enforcer. aaron, thank you so much for your time. host: coming up next, we are going to talk with rob richie who is going to be here to discuss the groups advocacy for -- voting and other voting reforms. but first it is open forum time. your chance to call in with your top political or public policy issue on your mind this morning. you see the numbers there on screen, start calling in now. we will be right back.
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