Friday, May 17, 2013

My View

Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...

Last week, I mentioned how the IRS was going to be the enforcement arm of Obamacare. After the revelations of this past week, that should make each and every one of us very nervous. The IRS targeted conservative groups, delaying the approval of their application as a tax exempt organization. Oh, the IRS went far beyond delaying the applications. The government agency wanted to know who every donor was; wanted to know those donor's occupations and addresses; even going so far as asking some groups for copies of their Facebook posts or tweets that had been posted to Twitter. The funny thing about this tactic used against conservative groups was that groups that leaned to left breezed through the application process. Yet the IRS wants us to believe there was no bias, no deliberate delay. And I have a bridge that I need to sell to you.We all know that the enforcement powers of the IRS can make life miserable for anyone that gets afoul of that agency. The IRS tried to use its power to discourage the applications of groups that have a political orientation that is contrary to the current regime. And the claim that low level functionaries in the Cincinnati IRS office were responsible for this? Complete and utter bulls**t. This was orchestrated from the highest levels in Washington. Seeing this kind of action by this powerful agency should give everyone pause when you consider how involved this entity will be in our individual health care system.

In times past, when men cursed and beat the ground with sticks, it was called witchcraft. Today, it is called golf.

Sarah Hall Ingram. Does that name sound familiar? It should. She is the IRS official that was over the division that approved or denied the applications for tax exempt status by civic and charitable organizations. Hall served in this capacity from 2009 to 2012, the time frame when the IRS went into its delay and discover mode with the applications of conservative groups. Hall has been, up to now, insulated from this controversy as her successor, James Grant, is taking the fall for the actions of IRS agents. Grant was, however, the deputy commissioner of this department while Hall helmed this division. Why is this important? Hall now heads the IRS Division responsible for implementing Obamacare. Feeling a bit uneasy yet? Imagine the potential for interference and undue involvement from the IRS in the healthcare arena. I for one do not want the government any more involved in my health decisions than they currently are. And to have the IRS Division responsible for enforcing Obamacare led by Hall, who was on watch when her division went on a witch hunt, is deeply troubling.

Changing my lifestyle is difficult. I cannot find a decaffeinated coffee table anywhere.

Lest you think that I exaggerate about the involvement of Hall and others out of the Washington office of the IRS, inquiries to conservative groups about their donors originated from the Washington office of the IRS as well as Cincinnati, El Monte, CA, and Laguna Niguel, CA. While Hall has not been directly implicated (yet), I find it very hard to believe that these3 actions did not occur without her knowledge as the Commissioner of this division. Douglas Shulman, who was Commissioner of the agency and retired in November, 2012, received a briefing about the reviews initiated by the Cincinnati office from the Treasury Inspector General. The current acting Chairman of the IRS, Steven Miller, was also briefed in November 2012. The problem this whole situation presents is that a powerful agency charged with impartially enforcing the tax law has been dramatically politicized, and that politicization has been used to hammer opponents of the current administration. This should make all of as citizens very afraid, and we should push our elected leaders to scrutinize this agency and its actions thoroughly.

"I am" is the shortest sentence. "I do" is the longest.

And that, my friends, is my view.

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