Fact Check #1: The anti-IRS agenda
That didn’t stop Republicans from bringing up the lie in the leadup to the midterm elections and during the first weeks of their control over the US House of Representatives.
The truth: The IRS plans to hire 86,852 employees over a period of 10 years to replace retiring personnel, expand their IT offices (not agents), modernize the agency, and bring up the total IRS staff to what it was more than a decade ago. Since 2010, there’s been a 17% reduction in total IRS staff.
· Replace 52,000 retiring IRS employees over the next 6-10 years just to maintain current staffing levels
· Add 5,000 customer service representatives who deal directly with the public
· Increase total staff from 79,000 to 113,000 over 10 years
The part of the Inflation Reduction Act that allocated basic operating funds to the IRS also included provisions to crack down on high-income tax evaders. $4.8 billion of the IRS funding package is specifically allocated to modernizing technology at the IRS.
Of course the House can’t “defund” the IRS, nor do they have the power to singularly dictate hiring practices by the agency. And the House didn’t defund those agents, despite what Republicans are claiming online.
Issue #2: Voting age, Consent Age, Child Marriage
Walker tweeted that the legal drinking age should be the same as the legal voting age.
Using the legal age of drinking in some sort of false-equivalency has been a recycled tactic to persuade the public of a need to disenfranchise millions of young Americans for decades.
The false narrative is further contradicted by the fact that there is no federal minimum age for drinking, despite what most people think. The 1984 National Minimum Drinking Age Act required that a state prohibit alcohol sales to persons under 21 to receive state highway funds, but it’s not a federal law in the sense that drinking alcohol is illegal for persons under 21 – only purchasing it is.
In fact, only 14 states plus DC currently ban underage drinking in all cases. In six states, if you’re on private property you don’t even need parental consent to drink at any age.
The drinking-voting comparison isn’t just inappropriate, it’s entire premise is a lie.
The voting age was lowered from 21 to 18 via the 26th amendment in 1970 in large part due to the Vietnam war and use of the draft for men between 18-21 years old. The push was driven by anger that someone could be forced to die in war but not have a voice in the electing the government that declared it. The amendment was proposed and ratified in less than four months.
The voting age cannot be changed without a constitutional amendment, which the GOP does not currently have the support to do.
The amendment would need two-thirds support from both the House and the Senate, then 38 state legislators would also have ratify before the amendment is added to the constitution.
(Of note, the Equal Rights Amendment recognizing women as equal to men in the eyes of the law still has not been ratified by 38 states)
At the same time conservatives are arguing to increase the voting age, they’ve also been arguing to lower the age of consent.
Conservative pundits, personalities and even politicians have defended child rape, marriage, and forced motherhood in alarming numbers recently.
Republicans have made no secret of their belief that children as young as 10 should be forced into giving birth, even if they were sexually abused by a relative, or if the child might die.
The United States has no federal law setting the minimum age for child marriage or for the age of sexual consent. The United States is one of only a handful of nations with no minimum age set by the federal government (joining South Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Somalia).
The United States could pass laws setting a minimum age for child marriage without a constitutional amendment, but have not. They could also set a federal age of consent but have not. With Democrats like Jared Moskowitz defending men like Matt Gaetz ,who paid a 17-year-old girl for sex, it’s no surprise that Republicans are jumping on the chance to legalize child rape so boldly.
*When pressed about his relationship with Gaetz and the sex trafficking allegations in an April 2021 interview, Moskowitz said “what’s really the difference between 17 and 18?” Moskowitz got his position with the Florida Department of Emergency Management through his friendship with Matt Gaetz, an alleged sex trafficker of young boys and girls. Moskowitz received his next appointment from Ron DeSantis, also the subject of trafficking investigations. Most recently, public records revealed that Kent Stermon - the DeSantis ally and far-right funder under investigation for sex trafficking - made his last political donation to Moskowitz before committing suicide.