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Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Young Americans Have Good Reasons to Dread Biden’s Plan to Expand the IRS

More IRS snooping will not solve the challenges facing Americans.

Image Credit: iStock-diego_cervo

Millennials and Gen Z have grown up watching politicians saddle them with economic hardships and make a mockery of their right to privacy. Now, the Biden administration wants to double down and rob young Americans of their economic privacy.

Alongside the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill is a provision that would force banks to report the transaction details of all accounts with over $600 to the IRS. But the thought of government agents breathing down one’s neck is vexing for young people, who already account for a sizable portion of the $1.7 trillion in student loan debt and have an unemployment rate twice that of older Americans. Whether it’s investing in cryptocurrency, buying a firearm, or giving to charity, this measure will only dissuade young Americans from making financial decisions that best serve their interests and values.

Like any monopoly, the government has a vested interest in shutting out competition, including currencies that compete with the ever-devaluing dollar. Biden’s recent announcements of a national cryptocurrency enforcement team and consideration of increased regulations on digital currency are clear signals that this administration is no friend to the crypto market, where more and more young people are putting their money. On top of Uncle Sam taking a big chunk of their crypto profits through capital gains taxes, the threat of the IRS monitoring each time a young person invests in a currency frowned upon by DC will increase buyer hesitancy, creating yet another barrier to getting out of debt and securing financial stability.

Speaking of items frowned upon by DC, it’s not difficult to imagine how increased IRS scrutiny into young people’s bank accounts will deter them from buying firearms. Over the last several years, state and local governments have started violating gun owners’ privacy in unprecedented ways with Emergency Risk Protection Orders (otherwise known as “red flag” laws), which are currently on the books in 19 states and Washington, D.C. The Biden administration supports expanding these laws, even as police have used them to kick down young Americans’ doors and—in the case of Maryland resident Duncan Lemp—kill them in their sleep.

A blow to the young philanthropic spirit would be another piece of collateral damage of the IRS provision. A recent study showed only one-third of young Americans give to charity, due to high costs of living and unfavorable markets. Whereas the IRS can easily weaponize itself against ideological enemies—as seen with the IRS’ admitting to targeting at least 40 conservative groups in the early 2010s—economic barriers combined with the stripping of donor privacy will discourage young people from investing in the change they want to see in the world.

Millennials and Gen Z came of age as the surveillance state came into existence, starting with the passage of the Patriot Act in 2001. Now, the government’s oft-spoken mantra “if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear” is coming for young Americans’ bank accounts. But neither the IRS snooping on their Venmo transactions nor demanding 37 percent of your Dogecoin gains will solve the problems that America faces.

This economic tyranny will only continue to build the case for young people that the government is working against their interests, not for them.

  • Sean Themea serves as chief of staff for Young Americans for Liberty (YAL). A recovering progressive, Sean has appeared on Fox Business, Newsmax, The First TV, and OAN.