Fox News host Martha MacCallum confronted White House senior adviser Gene Sperling over the newly released Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers Wednesday.
MacCallum asked if inflation has peaked and will begin to decline in the near future, given that the CPI did not change from June to July. Sperling responded that although prices are “still too high,” one month of no change in inflation is a “good sign” as prices of car rental, gas prices and appliances begin to decrease.
The Fox News host said inflation remains at a historically high rate of 8.5%, and asked if Americans should expect the CPI to rise again. She pointed out that Sperling and the White House have continuously said inflation is “transitory.”
Sperling then claimed that in May and June of last year, “literally everybody was projecting that prices were going to go down significantly.”
“No, not everybody,” MacCallum pushed back. “I’m just asking you to own it, you know, just say ‘here’s what I think, I’ve been dealing with this for years and years.'”
The senior adviser predicted that the year-over-year inflation rate will be lower, but admitted he cannot make any guarantees.
MacCallum then questioned him on the Inflation Reduction Act, introduced by Senate Democrats Chuck Schumer of New York and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, which intends to add 87,000 agents to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Sperling claimed the IRS has been “poorly invested in” regarding technology and personnel, impacting the capacity to effectively carry out its job.
“How did that happen?” MacCallum sarcastically asked. “The cost of government goes up and up and up every year. So why would we be so far behind the eight ball with this technology?” (RELATED: For A Moment, It Seemed Like MacCallum And This Biden Adviser Would Start Screaming At Each Other)
Sperling said it is “disturbing” that audit rates are not hitting those of the wealthiest income brackets, allowing them to hide incomes.
“There is no question this is about greater enforcement in auditing of those who make well over $400,000,” he said.
“It’s like a city block, the IRS. I’m just asking why the people who are already paid to do that job can’t do the job,” MacCallum responded. “Why you have to add so many employees and government keeps growing and growing and we spend more on it every single year, and yet you’re telling me ‘oh, it’s been falling behind for decades.'”
“You have your own TV show and you can offer that opinion, I think most experts—” Sperling said.
“That government’s been growing?” she asked. “That’s a fact.”
The adviser said there has been very minimal investment in the IRS which has led to a lack of personnel to target those of the highest income brackets using “sophisticated tactics” to evade taxes.
MacCallum then compared the administration’s efforts to increase the size of the IRS to their lack of intervention for Border Patrol agents at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“What do you say to that Border Patrol official when you are telling them that you’re going to add tens of thousands of people at the IRS but you’re not gonna go down there and help them out,” she said.
Sperling said the issues at the border are legitimate concerns, then added that experts and former IRS commissioners on tax enforcement believe people at the top are not paying their fair share in taxes. MacCallum concluded that many border experts have said enforcement at the border has crumbled and the administration needs to ramp up their efforts to improve conditions there as well.