President Bushs proposed $2.23 trillion budget that he will send up to Congress this week is symptomized by tax cuts and a general slowing in the growth of government, with a few exceptions. The ballyhooed $674 billion economic stimulus package is characterized mostly by tax cuts. Defense and homeland defense spending are up from last year 5% bump up in defense and almost a 10% increase in homeland defense programs. For the most part, overall government spending is being held to no more than a 4% growth over last year. So what to do about the more than $300 billion in deficits projected over this year and the next? Part of the answer appears to be <a href="http://www.sptimes.com/2003/02/02/Worldandnation/Tax_cheat_Bush_arms_h.shtml">increasing the Internal Revenue Systems (IRS) budget</a>, beefing up their auditing capabilities, and even allowing them to contract with private sector collection agencies to get money owed to Uncle Sam. In the Bush budget the IRS gets more than a 5% increase in their budget, raising it to over $10 billion. This includes an additional $133 million extra to conduct audits of high income taxpayers. But all you people earning at, or just above, subsistence level shouldnt feel left out. Thats because the budget includes $100-million to gather added information on people before they qualify for the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/individuals/article/0,,id=96456,00.html">Earned Income Tax Credit</a>, which provides benefits to lower-earning Americans. Clearly, the IRS is looking to identify and ensure that tax fraud becomes less of a factor in any future budget deficit. The Treasury Department projects that over $13 billion in taxes go uncollected because the IRS doesnt have the auditing capacity to do a more effective check on returns. In addition, they believe that almost $10 billion in earned income credits were paid in error last year. And, if you get audited, or its determined that the earned income credit you claimed was an error, you may not have to make a visit to the IRS office to discuss matters with a tax agent. Thats because the Bush budget also provides authorization for the IRS to contract the services of private sector collection agencies to get their money. Previous attempts to allow the use of collection agencies have been voted down by Congress. But, with $300 billion in deficits staring them in the face, will Congress have the will to resist any part of the package? Or will the Republicans, nominally in charge and on record as abhorring taxes, say nay to increasing the power of the tax collectors and insist on actually reducing government rather than merely slowing the growth of government?