Ruhle Invites Democratic Congresswoman To Fact Check 87,000 New IRS Agents Claim

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MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle illustrated some bizarre fact checking standards on Friday’s edition of The 11th Hour. She argued that President Biden is fighting inflation simply because Democrats just passed something called the Inflation Reduction Act while also thinking a Democratic politician is a credible source to fact check GOP claims about the IRA’s provision that will lead to 87,000 new IRS agents.

During an interview with Rep. Katie Porter, Ruhle declared “Inflation Reduction Act, great name” and addressing Biden’s critics, added “Now for all of those who say, ‘President Biden, what are you going to do about inflation?’ You’ve got it.”  

Ruhle proceeded to simply ask Porter to “Explain to us how it’s going to help the American people.”

After Porter explained the Democratic arguments for the bill, none of which had anything to do with the immediate inflation crisis, Ruhle switched to the IRS, “There are some Republicans out there warning, with the passage of this bill, there will be, quote, ‘an army of 87,000 IRS agents coming for Americans earning less than $75,000 a year.’ You want to fact check that?”

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Porter declared that such claims were “a load of malarkey” and that the new agents are really just about better customer service, “The number one agency that the American people would like to have – have– more agents, be more helpful, pick up the phone, build better technology, be more responsive – is the IRS. So, this is an investment in allowing the IRS to modernize and prepare for the wave of anticipated retirements in customer service agents that we’re already facing.”

She then claimed the audit portion was directed solely at big corporations. Proceeding to do her best Tim Russert impression, Porter pulled out a whiteboard and argued, “For every dollar that we invest in IRS enforcement, of the most wealthy Americans, and the largest corporations – with an army of lawyers and accountants to do their bidding – we can recover $5 in taxes that are owed to the rest of us.”

Instead of fawning over the whiteboard gimmick, Ruhle should’ve asked why Democrats voted down an amendment that would’ve codified new agents only auditing the rich, but fact checking wasn’t really Ruhle’s goal for the segment.

This segment was sponsored by 4imprint.

Here is a transcript for the August 12 show:

MSNBC The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle

8/12/2022

11:49 PM ET

STEPHANIE RUHLE: Inflation Reduction Act, great name. Now for all of those who say, “President Biden, what are you going to do about inflation?” You’ve got it. Explain to us how it’s going to help the American people. 

KATIE PORTER: Well, the thrust of the bill is bringing down costs and for American families, in the short term, through things like reducing the health care premiums that families pay within the Affordable Care Act, reducing the price of prescription drugs, and reducing energy costs for families in terms of heating and cooling their homes. So, those are the three areas that families are going to see immediate investments. 

But the other part about this is about creating a kind of, strong, stable, globally competitive economy that’s going to have the kind of energy independence and energy security that will help us fight forces like global instability that can lead to inflation in the future. 

So, I think this is a terrific economic plan in that it both addresses short term concerns, where American families are right now. But also, as a mom, as someone who’s thinking about the future, this sets us up to equal and best our global competitors in terms of the economy of tomorrow. 

RUHLE: There are some Republicans out there warning, with the passage of this bill, there will be, quote, “an army of 87,000 IRS agents coming for Americans earning less than $75,000 a year.” You want to fact check that? 

PORTER: What – what– would a load of malarkey. That is just not true. Let me tell you the straight deal. I get phone calls every day from my constituents and colleagues around the country, asking for help with federal agencies that are not being responsive, that they’re waiting on answers from. The number one agency that the American people would like to have – have– more agents, be more helpful, pick up the phone, build better technology, be more responsive – is the IRS. 

So, this is an investment in allowing the IRS to modernize and prepare for the wave of anticipated retirements in customer service agents that we’re already facing. The audit piece of this is focused on big corporations. And that is exactly why you’re hearing Republicans, who are beholden to those big corporations, try to weaken and attack this piece. 

The reality is, the focus of the bill on the audit piece is on big corporations. It’s on cracking down on corporate tax cheats. And here is how that math works. For every dollar that we invest in IRS enforcement, of the most wealthy Americans, and the largest corporations – with an army of lawyers and accountants to do their bidding – we can recover $5 in taxes that are owed to the rest of us. And ultimately, this kind of investment is going to let us have a more stable tax structure going forward. 

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