Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, of Highland Park, was a tiny bit closer to reality during a March 21 floor speech in the House when he said, "According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the IRS would need to hire over 16,000 people ... to audit the American people and impose the new taxes and mandates."
It's tempting to point out that Republicans have spent much of the last month scoffing at CBO estimates — particularly the ones that say new health care regulations will reduce the federal deficit by $138 billion in the first decade and $1.2 trillion in the second decade.
But it's even more tempting to point out that CBO made no such estimate at all.
As the nonpartisan FactCheck.org and the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact.com both explained in their lengthy analyses of the popular claim about an army of new IRS employees, the estimate was generated by the Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee and released on March 18. (See supporting documentation and fact-check links here)
As soon as Republicans began to attack Obamacare by pointing out that the IRS would get more power under Obamacare, liberals have tried to downplay that increase in power. Anthony Weiner famously wouldn't answer Bill O'Reilly when O'Reilly pointed this out. The latest is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, who claimed that there is no requirement to get health insurance.
It's true that many have overblown the involvement of the IRS for the sake of politicization and hyperbole, however there's no doubt that the IRS will have more power under Obamacare. There's also no doubt why the Democrats are so keen to downplay this increase in power. Charles Krauthammer said it best. He said it didn't take a psychologist to figure this out. (Krauthammer is himself a psychologist and thus the reference) People dislike the IRS and they don't want to see the IRS with anymore power.
So, folks like Zorn focus on the hyperbole. It's true the IRS won't be sent with guns to your home. It's true they won't garnish your paycheck or put liens on your home. They will do something. They'll have to. Health insurance will now be required. That requirement will be enforced and it will be enforced by the IRS. Unless it's enforced properly it will hold no weight. Without that requirement, Obamacare falls apart. People have to get insurance or they'll wait until they're sick to get insurance under Obamacare. The likes of Eric Zorn want to get into minutae but it isn't the minutae that's important. What's important is that the power of the IRS will be expanded. That people dislike.