Ross: Republicans are really using the debt crisis to spend more

May 29, 2023, 7:13 AM | Updated: Jun 2, 2023, 10:00 am

Republicans debt...

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., speaks during a Senate Appropriations hearing on the President's proposed budget request for fiscal year 2024, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, May 16, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Here’s what Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) said over the weekend about what it would take for him to vote to raise the debt ceiling.

“I am not going to do a deal that marginally reduces the number of IRS agents in the future at the expense of shrinking the Navy,” Graham said.

More from Dave Ross: IRS funding lost in debt limit bill, tax cheats rejoice

So, he’s saying two things – he thinks the IRS budget needs to be cut, and the military budget needs to be increased.

“If we adopt the Biden defense budget, it increases defense spending below inflation. A 3.2% increase in defense is below inflation,” Graham said. “The new defense budget takes the Navy from 298 ships to 291, at a time when China is going to increase their Navy by almost a third.”

So, he wants even more defense spending, but Kevin McCarthy’s condition for a deal was that we would have to spend less than last year! There is a huge contradiction here.

“This is Memorial Day weekend, we’re celebrating those who died for our country,” Graham said. “I am a Republican from the Reagan camp. Ronald Reagan would not do this to our military.”

Well then, Senator, if you really believe that, why are you cutting the number of IRS agents? They are the people that bring in the kind of money you want! The money that the top 5% are illegally not paying because they know they can get away with it.

And in 2021, we heard about the astounding amount of unpaid taxes being illegally withheld in the sworn testimony of Donald Trump’s IRS commissioner Charles Rettig.

“The published tax gap estimate of the Internal Revenue Service, the current one that’s out, is for tax years 2011 to 2013, which has a gross tax gap of $441 billion,” Rettig said. “I think it would not be outlandish to believe that the actual tax gap could approach and possibly exceed $1 trillion per year.”

I’ve said it at least three times during this debt debate: if you defund the agents whose job it is to collect the money, you are not going to reduce the debt. Especially if you have people like Senator Graham who are using this crisis not to spend less money but to spend more!

Here’s an idea, Senator – you give the IRS the staff it needs to collect all those legally-owed taxes, and you can funnel all that recovered money to keeping the Navy afloat.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: Republicans are really using the debt crisis to spend more