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Government Overreach at Its Worst

By Sen. John Thune

October 8, 2021

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) already knows how much money you make. And now, it wants to know exactly how you spend it. Washington Democrats are attempting to fund part of their reckless tax-and-spending spree through a new proposal that would increase funding to the IRS by $79 billion so they can double – yes, double – the size of the agency. Their proposal would require banks, credit unions, and other financial service providers to report to the IRS when a business or customer makes total deposits or withdrawals that exceed a certain amount – $600 if the president has his way. Essentially, anyone who has a job or has saved a bit of money could be subject to Washington bureaucrats snooping through his or her checking account.

South Dakotans want no part of this big government overreach, and I couldn’t agree more. My office has heard from thousands of concerned South Dakotans who do not want IRS agents prying into their most basic, personal information. They won’t, if I have anything to do about it.

We do not need the government monitoring every purchase law-abiding Americans make from the App Store or how many times they buy a cup of coffee or what they’re getting their kids and grandkids for Christmas. This proposal is a blatant invasion of privacy. And for anyone familiar with the IRS, it’s not at all reasonable to believe the agency has the capability to manage all of this additional information given its troubling record of already failing to protect confidential taxpayer information. Flooding the IRS with more – and I would argue highly unnecessary – data, while at the same time burdening taxpayers, financial institutions, and already overwhelmed IRS service centers with more paperwork lacks common sense.

How would a proposal this far out of the mainstream even be a serious topic of discussion in Washington? Great question. A big reason is that Democrats are looking for new ways to fund part of their multi-trillion dollar tax-and-spending spree. The Democrats’ proposal to double the size of the IRS and track taxpayers’ financial activity should never have even seen the light of day. But these days, there is pretty much no area of life that Democrats think wouldn’t be better run by the federal government. If there was a clearer difference between the two parties, I’m not sure one exists.

Rest assured, I am working hard to stop this nanny-state style monitoring of your bank account. I recently led dozens of my colleagues, including every Republican member of the Senate Finance Committee and Senate Banking Committee, to stand up to Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and push back against this excessive intrusion into Americans’ private lives. I also cosponsored legislation to place necessary guardrails around the IRS and protect taxpayers’ rights. South Dakotans entrusted me to stand up for them against invasive, radical policies, and I will continue to be a tireless fighter on their behalf.