Pull back the curtain, and there's only more oppression.
Since America just celebrated Independence Day, it seems like a particularly good time to take a close look at America's tax collectors.
America's founders fought a war against an oppressive regime over the issue of taxation without representation. Today, we have the illusion of representation, but power-hungry politicians and special interests have clogged up our political system to the point where today, our Republic is nearly unrecognizable compared to the freedom our nation held so dear at its founding.
The Internal Revenue Service has been at the center of a flurry of scandals, from discriminating against conservative groups in an effort to sway the 2012 presidential elections, to flagrant misuse of taxpayer dollars, all rounded off with a complete disregard for any semblance of accountability or responsibility.
At this point, saying "The IRS is corrupt" is like saying "Space is big." It's true, but it just doesn't seem to measure up to reality. Yes, they targeted conservative groups for undue scrutiny in order to influence an election, but as if that wasn't enough, the agency then repeatedly lied about it in a lame attempt to cover it up - the third or fourth lame attempt at a cover-up of a major scandal since Barack Obama became president. Then, as if that wasn't enough, an audit revealed that both current and former IRS employees were making questionable purchases with government-issued credit cards. As if it weren't bad enough that current IRS employees are misusing their government-issued credit cards, they didn't even bother to cancel cards issued to former employees, even though those cards were still being used. Then there are the multi-million dollar parties referred to by the bureaucrats as "conferences."
The tax collectors have become our overlords once again, making the modern-day Tea Party all the more relevant.
In a move that can be classified as nothing more than utter arrogance, Lois Lerner, the IRS official whose failed attempt at invoking the 5th Amendment turned into a multi-week paid vacation (aka "paid administrative leave") has now offered to testify, but has demanded immunity in return for her testimony. This, of course, calls into question her pleas of innocence when attempting to invoke the 5th: what does she need immunity from if she has done nothing wrong, as she protested so vehemently right before trying to invoke the 5th? Not to mention the fact that her demand of immunity speaks to yet more arrogance from one of the many bureaucrats who would rather lord their power over the common people than to live as true public servants. As a "public servant," Lois Lerner owes answers to Congress and the American People. No one owes her immunity for anything, yet in modern-day Washington, it seems that the entitlement culture is so ingrained, the "servants" of the public now feel they can demand whatever they want in exchange for fulfilling their legal duties.
This is just a partial list of what the IRS is guilty of:
- They targeted conservative groups for unwarranted scrutiny during election season, in an effort to prevent conservatives from organizing effectively.
- They attempted to cover up the scandal for several months, and then deliberately leaked the story in a failed attempt to minimize the damage.
- Top IRS officials lied to Congress and the American people, saying that the targeting of conservative groups was a "mistake."
- Top IRS officials lied to Congress and the American people, saying that the targeting was limited to the Cincinnati field office.
- Lois Lerner, a long-time political operative, and the person in charge of the IRS department responsible for screening charitable organizations, invoked the 5th Amendment, though she had already implicitly waived her 5th Amendment rights. She still has not answered questions from Congress.
- Despite her apparent culpability in the scandal, and refusal to answer questions from a Congressional committee, Lois Lerner remains on paid administrative leave ' essentially a taxpayer-funded paid vacation.
- After the IRS obtained donor lists from at least one conservative organization, IRS agents illegally leaked that donor list to left-wing and media organizations.
- IRS management spent tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to produce two lame training videos parodying Star Trek and Gilligan's Island.
- The IRS has held multiple multi-million-dollar "conferences," which are essentially lavish taxpayer-funded parties.
- Current and former IRS personnel have used government-issued credit cards to purchase personal items, in addition to wasting taxpayer money on expensive food and wine.
- The agency was just caught mistakenly publishing thousands of Americans' Social Security numbers on the Internet.
Put all of this together, and what do you have? A government agency that is completely out of control.
Given the multitude of ills perpetrated upon the American people at the hands of the IRS, the case for keeping this agency gets flimsier by the day. The Internal Revenue Service has become a stumbling block to American freedom.
It gets even better when you start thinking about how much damage has been done to our nation just through our politicians constantly playing politics with the tax code ' one party wants to lower taxes in order to stimulate the economy, the other wants to raise taxes in their endless class warfare, so that the evil rich can fund America's ever-growing entitlement programs. This constant back-and-forth does no one any good.
To top it off, our tax code is so horrifyingly complex that no single human being can possibly understand it all. Tax preparation has become a multi-billion dollar industry, as Americans and their tax preparers do their best to be as thorough as possible, and then are left to keep their fingers crossed, hoping they filled out all of the right forms.
It's only going to get worse when the IRS becomes the enforcers of the Affordable Care Act's individual and employer mandates. The agency can't even keep Americans' Social Security numbers confidential ' why would anyone be so stupid as to trust them with confidential medical information?
And yet, while this completely out-of-control, scandal-ridden government agency has faced only the bare minimum in the way of accountability, they are only set to gain even more power over the American people.
Our Founding Fathers stood together and risked their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor in order to free our nation from an overbearing, unaccountable government intent on arbitrarily imposing taxes on them without their consent. Today we face a system that is even more insidious, as the illusion of representation leaves us with no option to cry out about "No Taxation Without Representation."
It's time to cancel Independence Day, folks.