I didn’t want to write another blog entry for awhile but I came across this article and thought I had something definite to say about it, and it wouldn’t take long to say it. Then I finished the article and realized there was much more to be said. But that didn’t mean my interest in saying it increased. I have better things to do… and yet I can’t resist at least touching on them.
I have frequently advised that one of the ways you can tell if someone is off their rocker is if they cannot keep things in proportion. It can go both ways: turning major things into minor things or minor things into major. Remember that old bit of advice? “Take the log out of your own eye before going after the speck in your brother’s!” Well, what happens if you have a whole ideology built on removing specks, indifferent to your own log?
That, my friends, is contemporary American liberalism, which sees microaggressions at every turn, detects racism and oppression in every corner, and behaves as though there is a bigot behind every tree. I will abstain from documenting the overt aggressions, sexual misconduct, racism, and oppressions that the American left has engaged in right up to the present day, and instead talk (again) briefly about just one: the IRS targeting of conservatives in Obama’s first term.
But first, a matter of proportion as it relates to the IRS’s supposed ‘gutting,’ as detailed in this article published today–which is also the target of my blog post.
We know that the article is going to be written from within the standard Marxist prism from the provided article description:
An eight-year campaign to slash the agency’s budget has left it understaffed, hamstrung and operating with archaic equipment. The result: billions less to fund the government. That’s good news for corporations and the wealthy.
Ok, let’s note the red flags. 1. 6 of the last 8 years occurred on Obama’s watch, with nary a hint that he might be responsible. 2. The beneficiaries of having ‘billions’ more in their pockets… the rich, as always. Damn them. Damn the rich. Damn them right to hell. Presumably, they are all white Christian males, to boot. 3. The government is …. not being funded as well as it otherwise would be? Uh… as if the tax receipts ever have been enough to cover the government’s annual expenses? Really?
My first reaction to the front portions of this article related to ‘red flag’ #3. I mean, its funny. An actual joke. According to the article, how much less money does the IRS collect for lack of being properly funded?
According to the inspector general for the IRS, the reduction results in at least $3 billion in lost revenue each year.
Three billion. That’s an awful lot of money, right?
Well, the overall budget for the United States government on average for the last 10-15 years is around 4 trillion dollars, with annual tax revenue, on average over the same period, just about 3 trillion dollars. So, my first reaction is that if you manage to collect 3,000 billion and leave just 3 on the table, you are actually doing pretty well. But the second reaction is no less important: the US government has been spending TRILLIONS of dollars above and beyond what it actually received and this NEVER ONCE, not really, meant that there was “less to fund the government.”
This irrefutable and well-known fact (certainly smart people like the authors of the article ought to have known it) made me think initially that this was just another ‘hit piece’ against the rich. Damn them! Damn the rich! Damn them right to hell!
Feel free to take a scan at the ‘debt clock.’ We are nigh up to 22 trillion dollars in debt, and that doesn’t include unfunded liabilities, which push the total about 100 trillion dollars. Given this figure, perhaps instead of gnashing our teeth about the ‘rich’ somehow managing to cheat away a paltry 3 billion dollars, perhaps we should ask why we should bother taxing anyone, anyway. If our spending is not tied to the revenue, and we’re just going to borrow it anyway–forever–why not dispense with the charade altogether and let everyone keep their own money? Hey, just spit balling! I know it means giving up your boogeyman, but…
Throughout this conversation bear in mind that Trump is pushing for 5 billion dollars for the border wall, and Democrats are doing their usual thing. However, we know that it can’t be about the 5 billion dollars. It actually isn’t the case that if we spend it on the wall, we can’t spend it on something else. It hasn’t been the case for years that not having the money available has prevented us from spending it, anyway!
Oh, how I remember well how liberals pulled out their hair about the cost of the Iraq war. “That money should have been spent on programs for the poor!” At the time, the projected costs were minuscule, and they still moaned. The final cost ended up being much higher than the projection–about 800 billion instead of 80 billion. That should cause them to faint, right? Heck, it should cause me to faint, too. Except…
Are you aware that during the Obama years, Obama papered over the fallout of failed quasi-government-crony-capitalist mortgage schemes by printing, out of thin air, tens of billions of dollars a month, spiking as high as 85 BILLION dollars A MONTH. In other words, Obama’s treasury simply created, out of nothing, more money in a single year, than the entire Iraq war. And that was just one year. I hate linking to Wikipedia, but it tells the tale: ultimately, 4.5 TRILLION dollars, over course of just a couple of years. Simply ‘printed.’ All it took was a few key strokes, and viola!
The business nerds and conservatives like myself were horrified at this and other massive debt schemes, and can’t believe that we can really get away with it forever without the piper being paid; we’ll see just how well the ‘poor’ fare after the bill comes due, but never you mind, until that date, if the government wants to fund ANYTHING, it will simply do it. It has no need for revenue except to perpetuate a charade. That is to say, the US has been just living off of a credit card for a long time, with almost certain tragedy nearby in the wings. Probably, this is why they do the taxing at all–to continue the illusion that we can pay our bills.
It should go without saying that the Republicans are about as guilty as the Democrats when it comes to this matter. They also appear to spend money even if it doesn’t exist. If there is something they want to fund which doesn’t actually have the money for it, that is not going to hamper it.
Indeed, I half wonder if perhaps this is something that Trump hasn’t yet recognized. He keeps asking for 5 billion dollars to fund the wall. All he has to do is direct his treasury to wave its magic wand for a few days…
I would submit that this phenomena is the REAL reason why the IRS has not enjoyed being fully funded. The REAL reason being that their job is basically symbolic, anyway. It doesn’t really matter how efficient or effective they are in collecting revenues. Both the Democrats and the Republicans don’t depend on those revenues, anyway. So, why risk political capital on an institution which draws the public’s ire? Indeed, isn’t it better if the public directs their anger at the IRS, instead of them?
When the Tea Party (more about them below) ascended, they wanted to change things, and were rebuked by both the GOP and the Dems as “not willing to govern.” That was probably America’s last chance.
Ok, so that was my main line of criticism to the article. I don’t think its topic is worth getting worked up about, and indeed, it almost makes no sense to get worked up about the ‘budget’ anymore. I have no faith that this ship will be righted in time to make a difference. I don’t know the time scale, but the bill will come due. I hope you are ready, my friend.
And yet there were a few other things in the article that made me chuckle.
As I mentioned above in the red flags, I thought it was interesting that it referenced the “8 years” without mentioning that 6 of the 8 were under the Obama administration. It was a red flag only, but sure enough, the rest of the article could never bring itself to lay the under-funding at Obama’s feet.
I’m not going to dwell on it too much, but for kicks, I couldn’t help but notice that in an article that is 5,500 words long, Obama is only mentioned by name, thrice. One of the times, Obama is commended for getting collections to ‘rebound.’ The rest mention his name only as a path to linking the Republicans.
Its almost as if Obama was not president for 8 years!
And then, I had to laugh… I did a quick word search using Microsoft Word, and the Democrats–Obama is a Democrat, mind you–are mentioned four times in the article. The Republicans? 32 times.
And that is why the MSM is regarded with distrust. The authors probably had no idea that they were slanting the blame for the IRS’s situation towards the Republicans. Fish do not know they are wet. Was this all an attempt to malign the Republicans, come hell or high water? Actually, I think it more likely that the authors couldn’t dream of there being anything negative to say about Obama. I mean, when that man poops, gold bricks come out. Right? Every one knows that.
Occasionally the authors alluded to controversies which might have damaged the IRS as an institution… oh, like using the IRS as the bookie to collect the individual mandate, which the Obama administration lied through their teeth about in order to get it sold to the public… and SCOTUS. Hey, no Democrat responsibility there, right? I mean, look at all the Republicans who voted for Obamacare! I trust the reader knows how many?
Or, what about Obama’s use of the IRS to stifle the speech of his foes? (You are a fool if you think Obama had nothing to do with that. A 100%, pure grade fool.) The authors say,
And inspector general reports later pointed out that the IRS division that oversaw tax-exempt organizations had also targeted progressive groups and concluded that the IRS had taken prompt action to address the previously identified problems in the nonprofit unit.
lol, well, they only took ‘prompt action’ because conservatives finally put two and two together and figured out that theirs was not a singular incident, but a larger pattern. Man, they must think we are really dumb. But anyway, this is again where a failure to maintain proportion signals the presence of partisan insanity. The same information was organized by NPR (NPR!) into this chart:
Right. The IRS did indeed ‘also target progressive groups.’ 7 of them, apparently. OMG, yea, that IRS, they were SOOOOO even handed! Let’s not even consider whether or not 104 vastly outweighs 7. Let’s just spew, “the IRS division that oversaw tax-exempt organizations had also targeted progressive groups” and, so, well, obviously a non-issue. I can’t believe people fall for this stuff.
(While we are on the topic, let’s observe that 100% of the ‘progressive’ groups were approved, whereas only 46% of the conservative ones (at that time) had been approved. FYI, many of those conservative groups were indeed vindicated–5 years after it mattered; they were hamstrung in the lead up to the 2012 election, which was all that Obama needed.
But even this does not tell the tale. Eventually, another report would come out, this time only after Trump was elected, and the IRS actually apologized. The liberal media read this as a vindication of the IRS (and Obama), because it seemed that even more progressive groups were targeted, diminishing the accusation. But not so fast. This other report does not say that at all [although the second report was probably generated for the sole purpose of liberal outlets being able to blot out one of Obama’s many blemishes]. The other report ADDS to the previous report, which already found that conservatives had been disproportionately targeted. But there was an interesting chart, below:
From this, the liberal advocates ballooned the 7 cases to 61, and that’s supposed to make it all better. What I liked about this chart was how it showed that 53 of these were still processed in a timely fashion. 7 had to wait for 1-2 years. Only 1 had to wait for more than 2 years. What about the conservatives?
USA Today (no, NOT FOX!) put it well:
WASHINGTON — In February 2010, the Champaign Tea Party in Illinois received approval of its tax-exempt status from the IRS in 90 days, no questions asked.
That was the month before the Internal Revenue Service started singling out Tea Party groups for special treatment. There wouldn’t be another Tea Party application approved for 27 months.
In that time, the IRS approved perhaps dozens of applications from similar liberal and progressive groups, a USA TODAY review of IRS data shows.
As applications from conservative groups sat in limbo, groups with liberal-sounding names had their applications approved in as little as nine months.
Our august authors mention that ‘some progressive groups’ were targeted too, completely skewering one’s perspective on the affair. But if you actually read the report (which the article, in fairness, did provide), it explicitly states that the impacted groups experienced on AVERAGE, the potential ‘political cases’ were open 574 calendar days (with one reaching 1,138 calendar days (28 just gave up and withdrew. Understandable.) See page 14.
With “some crossing two election cycles.” Which was, of course, probably the whole point.
As I finished the article, I had trouble figuring out what possible purpose it had served. It was moderately interesting, but seemed more interested in skewering Republicans, and minimizing Obama and the Democrats. This is really too bad, because the really important thing is the country’s massive debt, and the almost inevitable terror it will eventually unleash. But know this–when the country finally collapses into financial oblivion, Obama will share absolutely NO BLAME. Why, he is as pure as the wind-driven snow.
Cue the accusation of racism.