Friday, September 5, 2014

Lies, damned lies, and the IRS

Can you believe the sheer brazen gall of it?

The IRS says it has lost emails from five more workers who are part of congressional investigations into the treatment of conservative groups that applied for tax exempt status.

This, after first claiming that Lois Lerner's e-mails had been 'lost' and that no backups existed, only for it to emerge a short time ago that there were, indeed, backups, but that it wasn't feasible to find her e-mails in the broad mass of backed-up records.  (Allow me to state that for a while during my career in the IT industry, I worked in disaster recovery planning.  If I or any other manager or executive had set up or approved any backup system that did not allow for specific files and/or records to be recovered, we'd have been fired on the spot.)

The IRS is coldly, calculatedly, cynically LYING to Congress and to the American people.  Those officials responsible for this corruption have decided that if they brazen it out, they won't suffer any consequences;  and I'm sure that discreet inquiries have already been made to the political powers that be to ask about end-of-term Presidential pardons to cover the asses of the worst offenders.  I don't expect that our feckless politicians (on either side of the aisle) will do anything to discipline those responsible;  and if they try, this Administration will throw sand in the gears on every possible occasion, to ensure that nothing happens until the guilty parties have either left office or retired.

Frankly, I can't think of a better argument for the 'flat tax' and/or 'FairTax' systems than this situation.  Either or both of them could be implemented without needing an IRS to calculate what's owed to the government, or to pursue defaulters.  They'd simplify our convoluted tax system to such an extent that we could fire everyone in the IRS and abolish the department - and that may be the only way to reform it.  I believe it's gone too far over the brink into corrupt, cynical, in-your-face, uncaring partisanship to be salvageable in its present form.  I believe many of its senior officials should be facing serious jail time for the corruption they've allowed - even encouraged - to become entrenched in what's supposed to be an impartial, non-partisan department of the executive.



MrGarabaldi said...

Hey Peter,

Another problem with the IRS is that they believe you guilty before due process and you have to plead your case in THEIR court....and hope you can get the penalty reduced and not lose your house or a years salary or something....

Divemedic said...

I've been fighting with the IRS for about 4 months now. Here is my story:

Rolf said...

"Tell us what you want, so we know what to lose."
Gall doesn't even begin to describe it. Arrogance, even hubris. They KNOW that the Dems will cover for them as long as they target the Republicans. They KNOW the WH and media will do the same.
Root and branch. Tax reform that allows us to fire 98% of them. FairTax would be great. Baring that, we need a LOT of prosecutions. We need incentives for the IT dept to get better at recovering data.
If things don't start getting more trustworthy, it will be clear the social contract has been tossed in the dustbin by government functionaries, and they mean to rule with an iron fist. Respond accordingly.

Chris Eastlund said...

The flat tax is a fail, as it is the computation of what is income that is trouble, not the tax rate computation. Only wage slaves would have an simple calculation.

The fair tax is a fail in most presentations, as the prebate would be an IRS issue. The fair tax sans prebate might kill IRS interference in personal life.

"Please prove you're not a robot" should also note that you have to prove you have the corrected eyesight of someone under 21.

Wraith said...

It's not the's the whole damn Thug Regime.

We all know there's been skullduggery in our government for about as long as it's existed. I'm not naïve enough to believe otherwise, and neither are you. But at least they tried to cover it. Their lies were at least skillfully crafted enough to give them the benefit of the doubt(though not by much, at times). They did this because they feared the reaction of the American people.

Now? They just don't care. They aren't even trying any more. They're no longer afraid of us.

If that doesn't chill you to the bone, I have nothing more to say.

Anonymous said...

@Chris - may be we call "flat tax rate" different taxation systems, but it works in fact - pretty well.
I live in country with flat tax and since implemented - this is the only tax which income to budget increases year by year.
Key factors flat tax to work are:
- No any exceptions. Not at all.
- low tax rate (slightly higher than cost of off-shore transfer of income)

Chris Eastlund said...

@Anonymous For the wage slave, no exceptions. For the business, there are always exceptions - they get to deduct any wages they pay, rent, cost of materials, depreciation, and so on. It's the 'and so on' that causes trouble. This 'and so on' includes things like the gift to the oil industry that is the depletion allowance.

Where you are might have a cohesive societal viewpoint that limits such variations. The USA has become balkanized to the point that any income tax will always become loaded with deductions as gifts to the special groups.

The real problem we have is eliminating the reach of the IRS into every household and every social entity, political or not. A sales tax or fair tax might do that. It can't be done if any income tax exists.

Anonymous said...

@Chris - I'm live in Europe - exactly in Balkans.

You'll be surprised how many countries in EU support flat tax. Yep, sales tax and etc too. It is simple and cheap.

Of course business will deduct salaries & etc - this is the basic of economy.

Chris Eastlund said...

The Balkans are now separate countries, each with reasonably cohesive societies. The term 'balkanization' (at least in my mind) refers to the Balkans during the Austro-Hungarian empire, when trying to rule them all as one was near impossible.

Business & salaries aren't the problem. Deductions for 'intangibles' are the problem. Things like declaring regular income for hedge fund operators as 'capital gains' when they have no money at risk is the problem.

The State of New Jersey has many small city governments. There are often campaigns deriding that state of affairs as inefficient and duplicative. However, only in small governments do the citizens have any chance of keeping things on the level, and it is also true in New Jersey that the biggest cities are the most corrupt.

The Balkan countries might be under the size limit at which the top level of government stays sane. The USA is well above that limit.

jordani said...

@Chris - oops, US is above which limit ? EU ?
Assume countries are states and EU as federation...

I didn't want to argue for term balkanization - sorry. Neither feel it personal.

But we turned someone's else blog to a personal discussion - excuse us, Peter.

Chris Eastlund said...

Countries aren't states in the USA sense, and the USA federal government is now pretty much supreme, not just a Federation of States - that feature of our Republic was lost in 1865. The EU will get there, give them a decade or three.

Comments are moderated, discussions are discussions, whether it is two or more. This one is still on the size and intrusiveness of governments, so we are somewhat on topic - I think.

jordani said...

Sitting on the top of your opinion about comments I'll continue here:

You're shifting dispute out of focus.
E.g. countries (states) can have flat tax and it works quite fine. Those of them which still support complicated tax systems- do that because of private interests of politicians.
Frankly, all my friends from Germany visiting me here, are jealous about what I pay as taxes.

US govt is like EU commission (not exactly - not such power in EC).
They tax me with levies - i.e. flat taxes too. It works too...

PS I'm not so optimistic that EU will survive to bureaucratize as much as US. Long period without war in Europe - never happened before - look what is going now in Ukraine and Russia.

Diamond Mair said... of IRS Employees

• Blog > Geography > United States > Number of IRS Employees |

How many IRS employees are there?


According to the IRS 2009 Data Book, IRS workforce counts up 93,337 employees ‘“ 91,082 of which being full-time permanent. IRS personnel distributes into 9 activity branches: examinations and collections, filing and account services, information services, prefiling taxpayer assistance and education, shared services and support, investigations, regulatory activities, business systems modernization and health insurance tax credit administration.

Aww, c'mon, Peter, surely you don't want to ADD to Øbama's dismal 'employment reports'?

Semper Fi'

Will said...


regarding small cities in NJ:

You are aware that ~80% of their revenue is from their share of tickets written by the NJSP? Good government? Don't make me laugh.

Chris Eastlund said...

@Will BS. Every household in the state would need to have a minor ticket every week to even come close to what we pay in real estate taxes.