April 7, 2015
Rare: by Merrill Matthews
Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen recently told The Hill that Congress can’t abolish the IRS.
But looking at the long list of IRS abuses, something needs to be done. Consider some of the revelations that have emerged just over the past few years.
Many IRS employees haven’t paid their taxes.
Even as the IRS demands you pay your taxes, the Washington Post reported a year ago:
The [Inspector General] report said more than 1,100 employees who failed to pay their taxes received discretionary awards of more than $1 million in cash bonuses and more than 10,000 hours in extra paid vacation.
At least five employees received performance awards after being disciplined for intentionally under-reporting their tax liabilities for multiples years, paying taxes late and under-reporting income.
So IRS employees can cheat on their taxes and be financially rewarded for it. What rank hypocrisy! Question: If I fail to pay my taxes will the IRS give me a bonus—or jail time?
They wasted money making Star Trek videos.
Remember when we found out two years ago that IRS employees had spent at least $60,000 making Star Trek and Gilligan’s Island “training videos”?
Those videos hinted at the problem of the agency’s willingness to have a good time on the taxpayers’ dime. Another IG report found, “In all, the agency spent nearly $50 million on employee conferences from 2010 through 2012.”
They’re stealing from taxpayers.
At least the misspending mentioned above was lawful, if inappropriate. But the New York Post’s headline regarding a 2013 IG report said it all: “IRS employees used company credit cards to buy close to $500,000 in wine, internet porn, diet pills and more.”
To be sure, the IG found the vast majority of credit card uses were appropriate. But many weren’t. And I’ll bet none of them were severely reprimanded.
They rehire questionable employees.
But at least if these problematic IRS employees leave, or get fired, they’re gone for good, right? Um…from Forbes:
The Inspector General identified hundreds of rehires despite prior substantiated conduct or performance issues. Some were serious. They ranged from unpaid taxes, unauthorized access to taxpayer information, leave abuse, falsification of official forms, unacceptable performance, misuse of IRS property, and off-duty misconduct.
Agents often abuse the public.
Congress passed legislation in 1998 that prohibited IRS supervisors from using quotas such as property seizures as a way of evaluating agent performance. So how’s that working out?
But the TIGTA [Inspector General] report said some IRS supervisors still use such records when evaluating their workers, while others have used the amount of money or property seizures their employees collected as an alternative means of establishing quotas.
They’re unionized liberals.
NewsMax points out that 96 percent of IRS employees’ PAC contributions go to Democrats:
TEPAC [Treasury Dept. union’s PAC, which includes IRS], which receives voluntary contributions from IRS employees who are represented by the National Treasury Employees Union, gave a total of $583,912 to federal candidates, only 4 percent of which went to Republicans, according to a syndicated column written by Jeff Bergner, a former federal official.
And they are doing union work on the taxpayers’ dollar.
The NewsMax article continues:
Meanwhile, there are 200 union representatives employed by the IRS who are paid salaries by the taxpayer, not through union dues. Some earn in excess of $100,000 per year to exclusively focus on union work, according to Bergner.
In total, the cost to taxpayers for IRS union work in 2013 was $23.5 million, and added up to 573,319 man hours.
So they use your tax dollars to pay themselves to work to elect Democrats who will give them more of your tax dollars.
Some employees target conservatives.
So maybe it’s clearer now why partisans like former IRS manager Lois Lerner harassed, slow-walked, and ignored conservative-leaning organizations’ tax-exempt applications. Oh, and the Justice Department just announced it won’t be prosecuting her.
The IRS has some 87,000 employees, and many if not most are dedicated civil servants who do their best to serve the public. While none of these eight transgressions—though there are many more—individually would be enough to scrap the IRS, it’s clear the agency is beset with problems that won’t be solved quickly or easily—especially by smirking, condescending, and dishonest commissioners, and we’ve see a bunch of that lately.
So even if the government needs some agency to handle the task of collecting taxes, it doesn’t have to be the current IRS. It’s time to wipe the slate clean and start over with a new, much smaller agency with limited duties and an equally limited budget.
In other words, Congress should take Koskinen up on his challenge and abolish the IRS.
More at Rare
Disclaimer: This article was not written by Lorra B.