I see that Representative Joe Wilson is once again sharing misinformation, disinformation, distractions, and gratuitous attacks on President Biden and other Democrats (The New Irmo News, February 2).
“Disinformation” refers to false or misleading statements that are intentionally and knowingly repeated. One example of Mr. Wilson’s use of disinformation is where he says he will “limit IRS overreach targeting families and businesses by eliminating funding for 87,000 new agents.” This statement echoes Republicans’ thoroughly debunked claims about how funds in the Inflation Reduction Act, which was enacted last summer, would be used. The law provides the Internal Revenue Service with $80 billion in funding, including $45.6 billion for enforcement activities, but the suggestion this would result in 87,000 additional tax collectors scrutinizing the filings of middle-class Americans is FALSE. The 87,000 figure refers to a 2021 estimate of the total number of employees — not just auditors — the IRS proposes to hire over the next 10 years to restore its workforce to early 1990 levels. And while the IRS plans to conduct more audits, wealthy Americans (individuals earning more than $400,000 a year) and corporations will bear the brunt of that scrutiny, not middle-class families. (According to a Treasury Department spokesperson, the new funding will give the agency the resources to collect the $163 billion in taxes avoided by the top 1 percent of earners every year.) Many of the new IRS hires will be assigned to customer service, with a goal of fully staffing taxpayer assistance centers, and some of the funds will be used to upgrade the agency’s 60-year-old technology infrastructure.
Mr. Wilson was just re-elected to another two-year term. I think he should hit the pause button on his hyper-partisan, campaign-style messaging for a few months and consider a more even-handed approach. Mr. Wilson says he is “grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of South Carolina’s Second District.” I’d like to remind him that he is supposed to represent ALL of his constituents, not just his Republican base. Mr. Wilson recently stood on the floor of the House and demanded that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris resign (because, based on recommendations from military and intelligence experts, President Biden ordered the Chinese balloon to be shot down over the ocean instead of over Montana). I don’t remember Mr. Wilson ever calling out former President Donald Trump for his non-stop grifting, his embrace of foreign autocrats, or for any of the 30,437 documented lies he told while in office, much less his attempt to prevent the peaceful transfer of power on January 6, 2021.
Mr. Wilson says he will “continue to work to keep us all safe,” yet one significant omission on his list of priorities was a proposal to address the epidemic of gun violence in this country. There have been more mass shootings in America in 2023 than there have been days on the calendar. Firearms are now the leading cause of death for American children and youth. On average, 110 Americans die every day from gun violence; 60% of those are victims of suicide. The US Department of Veterans Affairs reports that firearms were involved in more than two-thirds of veteran suicides in every year over the past two decades. One might hope that Mr. Wilson would support and prioritize some of the common-sense gun laws that are favored by a large majority of Americans, like universal background checks and “red flag” laws.
In sum, what I’d like to see from Representative Wilson in 2023 is less disinformation, more “country over party,” and a focus on the problems that are of greatest concern to all Americans.