It’s great. The terror-inducing IRS is in total defensive mode.
It’s employees just can’t seem to remember anything. “I don’t know.” “I don’t remember.” “I’m not familiar with that detail.” “It’s not my precise area.” “I’m not familiar with that letter.”
This is according to Peggy Noonan in a recent Wall Street Journal article.
If you say you don’t recall, the government cannot get you for perjury.
Of course, taxpayers cannot tell the IRS “I don’t recall how much income I made.” The IRS just assesses a tax, and you have to prove otherwise.
But now the IRS is on the receiving end of an inquisition. The nation cheers.
Are they stonewalling? You bet.
That is the authentic sound of stonewalling, and from the kind of people who run Washington in the modern age—smooth, highly credentialed and unaccountable. They’re surrounded by legal and employment protections, they know how to parse a careful response, they know how to blur the essential point of a question in a blizzard of unconnected factoids. They came across as people arrogant enough to target Americans for abuse and harassment and think they’d get away with it.
Congress now has its work cut out for it.
Noonan lists the lies, deceptions, and spin the IRS supplied Congress with in 2012.
If Congress takes this lying down, then it is admitting in full public view that it is toothless, feckless, and moronic. I think Congressmen know this. So, this time it will keep pushing.
Noonan recounts a horror story of some conservative who got in the IRS’s cross hairs. The story is gaining traction. The lady is now suing the IRS. Good. The story is here.
Noonan is correct.
A dead serious investigation is needed. The IRS has colorfully demonstrated that it cannot investigate itself. The Obama administration wants the FBI—which answers to Eric Holder’s Justice Department—to investigate, but that would not be credible. The investigators of the IRS must be independent of the administration, or their conclusions will not be trustworthy.
An independent counsel, with all the powers of that office, is what we need.
Again, if what happened at the IRS is not stopped now—if the internal corruption within it is not broken—it will never stop, and never be broken.
Sadly, she remains terminally naive. This is not good for a columnist and former presidential speechwriter. She ended her editorial with this: “The American people will never again be able to have the slightest confidence in the revenue-gathering arm of their government. And that, actually, would be tragic.” It would not be tragic at all. It would mean that the American people are coming to their senses after a century of abuse.
We can always hope. That’s the American way: hope in the face of overwhelming facts to the contrary.
The IRS is the heart of the American empire. Congress will not shut it down. Nothing significant will change. But at least we can enjoy the show: pontificating Congressmen vainly trying to get the IRS to stop stonewalling, but unwilling to cut its budget — the only thing the IRS fears.
It will all be sound and fury, signifying nothing. But it will be fun to watch.