American Elephants

Three More Reasons to Fear the IRS by The Elephant's Child
May 21, 2013, 6:06 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: , ,

From> Reason TV Three good reasons to be scared as hell of the IRS.

This is the biggest one, for everyone, even if you are currently not paying any taxes will be affected by the performance, the ethics, the discretion and the efficiency of the IRS who will be in charge of monitoring your personal relationship with ObamaCare as well as your relationship with Uncle Sam.

You are asked to believe that the full might and power of the Internal Revenue Service was brought to bear on ordinary citizens who were expressing their political preferences, often for the first time, to keep them from having any influence in the  upcoming election, and the president who was running for reelection  and using every influence he could bring to bear on winning was completely unaware of the effort.

1. It’s always been a political weapon.

John F Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon all sicced the IRS on enemies and dissenters. And they were just following in the footsteps of Franklin Roosevelt, whose son said his father was “the originator of the concept of employing the IRS as a weapon of political retribution.”

2. Its rulings are super-complicated and capricious.

The federal tax code is longer than Atlas Shrugged, Ulysses, and the Old Testament put together. It’s so complicated that even former IRS commissioners need help preparing their returns.

3. It’s Obamacare’s enforcement mechanism.

Starting next year, the IRS will be the cop patrolling the Affordable Care Act’s mandates, with the agency overseeing some 47 tax provisions related to Obamacare. You won’t just be reporting income anymore. You’ll be explaining when, where, and how you bought health care as well.

And What Does David Warren Think? by The Elephant's Child

Do you know David Warren, Canadian journalist, now writing what he calls “Essays in Idleness“? If not, you should. His is a different voice, cranky and frank and always knowledgeable and interesting. Read the ‘About’ to get a sense of the man who is writing, and the first piece titled “Neil Reynolds” which is a fond obituary for two men who once hired him. It is a charming reminiscence.

The paragraph below is from an essay titled “The yairs chronicles,”which is his reaction to scandal central here in the adjacent nation. I wanted to call this bit to your attention, for I think it is worth your notice.  If you should happen to wander around a bit and read the whole piece or others, you will only be the richer for it.

People might think a man like Barack Obama would know something about politics, since he has been bathing in them most of his life. He does in fact know something about them, but not much. This is because his acquirements were all in a specialized area of politics — that of getting oneself elected. … Once outside that specialization, poor Obama is at sea. He was never exposed to the craft of governing, only to the craft of getting power. His ideas of how things work, of what can & can’t be done by government agency, are absurd & laughable. To be fair he is, in this respect, a typical politician. They all studied the same specialty; not one in a hundred studied anything else.

But leave all this aside. We still assume that, since he has the power that goes with the office, Obama must have influence over what falls out. On democratic theory, he could be held accountable. He could be replaced by someone who knows what he is doing, or is more likely to do what the people want. His replacement would then be judged by the same criteria.

Oh, go on, read the whole thing. There are some utterly delicious bits there, even if you disagree.

Competence, Responsiblity, Intelligence and Ethics by The Elephant's Child

People in responsible positions have behaved very badly. Lies and excuses are flowing. I didn’t know. Nobody told me. I’m not responsible. It wasn’t illegal. It wasn’t my decision. I wasn’t aware. It’s irrelevant. I didn’t understand what was happening. Don’t blame me. How do you begin to get your mind around what is going on?

Cascading scandals. Today’s scandals are piling on top of earlier scandals that we don’t yet understand. Who is responsible? Who knew? Who is lying? Who is telling the truth? Who are the whistleblowers? Who is being sent out to take the fall to protect someone more important?

One begins to long for the days of historic Japan when the person in charge took responsibility, pronounced his shame and committed seppuku. It may seem barbaric now, but it brought a quick finality to the problem, tied it in a neat package so the remaining people could put their lives back together and get on.

Young graduates are entering society with big hopes and enormous debts. In Oklahoma a 1½-mile wide tornado has destroyed an entire town, flattened homes, and a death toll of twenty-five people almost sounds like a good thing, for it could have been so much worse. Cascading grief.

Senator Carl Levin is engaged in calling the Apple computer corporation to task before the Finance Committee for not paying more taxes even though they have carefully followed the laws made by the U.S. Congress. One reason that  those new graduates are not finding employment to pay back their student loans is because the law of  unintended consequences is making a burgeoning scandal out of ObamaCare, a law passed by a Democrat Congress without a single Republican vote.

The people holding committee meetings designed to get to the bottom of the scandal are also the people who have passed the laws, or passed the buck to some agency, to make the rules that are currently fouling everything up. We’re all human and fallible and make mistakes. But you don’t get off the proverbial hook by appearing before a committee and offering the  passive “mistakes were made.”

Yes. A  lot of mistakes have been made. People have been killed, unnecessarily. One quite innocent businessman has had to pay $80,000 worth of legal bills because someone in the IRS or in the Treasury Department or in the White House thought it was acceptable to go after someone’s entire financial dealings because they dared to donate to the president’s political rival  before an upcoming election.

Those illegal and unethical attacks have had the desired effect. Big donors are afraid of the IRS. The head of Health and Human Services left, by a massive bill that nobody had read, in charge of rolling it out, is finding out that the law of unintended consequences means that everyone is trying to avoid participating in a system that they believe to be unworkable and unaffordable. So she is out trying to bully those very entities which she will regulate into financing a program to make people like the unlikable. ObamaCare itself is a scandal that is ruining the economy.

With all those scandals, it’s no wonder that people do not yet understand the depth or the meaning of all these failures. Large numbers of the population have never heard of Benghazi, nor Kermit Gosnell, Steve Miller, nor Frank VanderSloot. Well, it’s no wonder. This may be the information age, but the information flow is not pared down and carefully formed so we get only that which is important, and if it were so, it would be someone else’s judgment as to what is important.

Twitter, designed by its limits to be confined to 140 characters (including spaces), would seem designed to be short, direct and immediate. Yet it is not turning out to be a conveyance of the most important information, but mostly an all-American repository of smart remarks.

You have to dig out the important information for yourselves. Reject the news about Beyoncé and the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy, and take notice of what is going on. Because what your Congress is doing will change your life. Take away your freedom. Even though they work for you, you can’t trust them. We have to remind them constantly of their responsibilities. There is a there there. It does matter.

A free society, if it is to remain free, requires citizens who take
the risk of standing up to be counted on the issues of the day.
………………………………………………………Walter Wriston

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