Friday, November 6, 2015

IRS Not Guilty

Here's an article to keep handy for those times when someone insists the evil IRS singled out the Tea Party. It's a commentary by someone named Paul Gutterman, director of the business taxation master's program at the University of Minnesota business school. So not exactly a shill for the Democratic Party.

Gutterman writes,

...the Justice Department not only specifically absolved the [IRS] unit’s director, Lois Lerner, but found that she was in fact the first official to recognize the problem and tried to correct it. Yes, this is the same Lois Lerner that Republicans have railed against and wanted prosecuted the past two-plus years.

Of course, none of this is very surprising. In a commentary at the time, I opined that there were no overt political overtones to the alleged scandal, but simply IRS personnel trying to prioritize their workflow because of a lack of resources due to budget cuts...  The irony of this whole episode, I noted, was that Congress caused the very thing of which it bitterly complained about by cutting the IRS budget to the bone....

The truth is that the IRS is probably the most efficient bureaucracy in the world. It costs the agency only 41 cents to collect $100 in revenue. Increase its enforcement allocation and the government is likely to get over a 10:1 return....

In any rational world, Congress apologizes to all involved and restores the IRS budget to at least what it was before the nonscandal began. After all, Justice and the FBI interviewed more than 100 witnesses and reviewed more than 1 million pages of IRS documents to conclude that there was not a single “allegation, concern or suspicion that the handling of [any IRS function] was motivated by political bias, discriminatory intent or corruption.”
But that won't happen, of course, and people on the Right (and way too many people in the middle) will continue to rip the IRS just for existing because they don't like the idea of taxes. For some reason they don't understand that taxes, as Oliver Wendell Holmes and many others have said, are what we pay for civilized society.

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