In his quest to find pots of new money to fund a massive expansion of government, President Biden is proposing to pour $80 billion in the IRS to help the tax agency squeeze hundreds of billions of dollars supposedly hiding in the nation’s couch cushions and tax havens:

The president’s proposal to boost the Internal Revenue Service’s budget over 10 years would help the agency curb tax evasion by increasing and better targeting audits of high-earners and large corporations…

It would also include new disclosure requirements for owners of businesses that are not corporations and for other wealthy people, according to the report.

Soaking the rich/corporations/the guy behind the tree is a time-honored political strategy, never mind that it ruthlessly exploits class envy. Then again, we’re talking about Joe Biden, who, despite being a wealthy man himself, still peddles a working-class line:

“I’m not trying to punish anybody, but damn it – maybe it’s because I come from a middle-class neighborhood – I’m sick and tired of ordinary people being fleeced,” [Biden] said earlier this month.

He is seeking to punish somebody, and using the IRS to do it:

The administration is expected to portray the $780 billion it expects to collect through enhanced enforcement as conservative. That figure includes only money directly raised by enhanced tax audits and additional reporting requirements, and not any additional revenue from people or companies choosing to pay more taxes after previously avoiding them.

Previous administrations have long talked about trying to close the so-called tax gap — the amount of money that taxpayers owe but that is not collected each year. This month, the head of the I.R.S., Charles Rettig, told a Senate committee that the agency lacked the resources to catch tax cheats, costing the government as much as $1 trillion a year. The agency’s funding has failed to keep pace with inflation in recent years, amid budget tightening efforts, and its audits of rich taxpayers have declined.

As is almost always the case with government revenue projections, these so-called “conservative” figures will miss the mark – by a lot. This will fuel demands for even more, and more enhanced, enforcement – because surely, that pot of gold is out there, the IRS just needs to squeeze harder.

Eventually, and inevitably, the IRS will turn its eyes and enforcers to those who are by no means rich, but are much easier pickings – the middle class.