Wall Street Journal editorial: Leaker of IRS data to ProPublica wants Democrats to hike taxes

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The Wall Street Journal editorial board argued the leaker of IRS data containing tax return information on many of America’s wealthiest individuals wants to “serve the left’s agenda” on tax legislation

In a Tuesday editorial, the board wrote the leaker to ProPublica sought to influence the debate over taxes in Congress, and to coincide with the left wing of the Democratic Party’s push for increased taxes on the wealthy, including the implementation of a wealth tax

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“The ProPublica story is a long argument that somehow the rich don’t pay enough. The timing here is no coincidence, comrade,” the board wrote. “Someone at the IRS—or someone who hacked the IRS—leaked the documents to influence the debate in Congress.”

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, opened his Tuesday committee hearing by mentioning the data dump, the same day the ProPublica article was published. “Right on time,” the board wrote, noting Wyden’s stated commitment to coming up with a proposal to make sure the rich are “paying their fair share.”

The board also noted there was no evidence of illegality in the published data, and that ProPublica was attempting to manufacture a scandal by calculating a “true tax rate” by comparing gains in wealth versus the amount of income tax paid. 

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“But wealth and income are different, and what Americans pay is a tax on income, not wealth,” the board wrote, before explaining that preferential tax rates for capital gains and dividends have been long supported by bipartisan majorities. 

“This has changed as the political left has risen in the Democratic Party, and Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders ran for President calling for a new tax on wealth,” it continued. “The political point is that Ms. Warren and Mr. Sanders lost. Mr. Biden didn’t run on a wealth tax.”

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“This still leaves the real scandal, which is that someone leaked confidential IRS information about individuals to serve a political agenda,” the board wrote. “This is also the same IRS that Democrats now want to infuse with $80 billion more to chase a fanciful amount of uncollected taxes. As part of this effort, Mr. Biden wants the IRS to collect ‘gross inflows and outflows on all business and personal accounts from financial institutions.’ Why? So the information can be leaked to ProPublica?”