Congress is impotent.
The IRS knows Congress is impotent.
The IRS can safely thumb its nose at Congress in full public view.
Everyone knows the IRS did illegal things when it refused to grant the privilege of tax exemption to conservative groups. “Go fish.” Everyone knows the IRS destroyed the incriminating e-mails. “Go fish.” Everyone knows the IRS is lying when it blames a hard disk crash. “Go fish.” Everyone knows Boehner & Co. has only one response with teeth: to cut the IRS’s budget next year in retaliation. Everyone knows that Congress dares not cut one agency’s budget, above all government agencies: the IRS’s. “Go fish.”
I suppose I should be outraged. “The arrogance of these people!” But why get upset this late in the history of the American welfare-warfare state? This is nothing new. It goes back to — in round numbers — 1789. Executive agencies have done their best to thwart Congress since the beginning. It just gets worse over time.
Congress has two meaningful powers over the other branches of the federal government. It refuses to use either of them. First, it has the power of the purse. It can refuse to fund any agency at any time for any reason. It can, in short, shrink the power of the President. It never doers this. To do this would mean shrinking the federal government. It absolutely will not tolerate such a suggestion.
The other power is to lock the Supreme Court in a box. It can withdraw the Court’s jurisdiction on any judicial issue except those enumerated by the Constitution. The Constitution is clear.
In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.
Congress has not exercised this authority since 1869: Ex Parte McCardle. The memory hole of the IRS’s lost e-mails is nothing but a pothole in comparison to the memory hole for this aspect of the so-called limitation of powers. This one can get the Supreme Court out of the lives of the voters for as long as the voters want to keep the Court on a tight leash. That’s why the Framers inserted this provision. Did your civics teacher ever mention this in high school? When was the last time you saw it mentioned?
Could Congress shut down the Supreme Court on the abortion issue? Yes. Does Congress need the President’s signature to do this? No. Does the pro-life movement ever mention this? No.
The memory hole is very, very deep on this issue.
Congress is emasculated . . . by Congress. Congressmen are the Skoptsi of our era.
Just for fun, when was the last time you read that the U.S. Constitution still authorizes slavery? It does. But this is never mentioned. To mention this would be politically incorrect. Where is this stated? The 13th Amendment.
SECTION. 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
SECTION. 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.
Did you notice the word “except”? No? Neither did your civics teacher. Neither do textbooks on criminology.
To mention it would mean giving public consideration to the judicial possibility of stripping the state — at every level — of enormous quantities of its power. It would enable the public to eliminate most of the prison system, and to substitute restitution to the criminals’ victims, rather than making taxpayers pay for prisons, thereby stripping the victims of all restitution. It would allow the courts to sell a convicted criminal into slavery to raise the money to repay his victims.
What’s that? Victims’ rights? We couldn’t allow that, could we? That would be cruel and unusual punishment. Instead, we lock them up at $30,000 a year per convict. (In New York, it’s $168,000 a year.)
The word “except” is is what is called “hidden in plain sight.” That which is politically inconvenient to our masters in Washington is simply not discussed. No one notices.
So, Congress will continue its investigation of the IRS. And the response of the IRS will not change: “Go fish.”
It’s kabuki theater for the folks back home. It’s Punch and Judy with traditional rubber clubs.
They use real clubs only on taxpayers. Congress needs the IRS for that. Its budget is secure. Congress turns the voters over to the IRS, and then tells the IRS: “Go fish.”