Did you know that you have a small scratch on your hand? Let’s clean it and put a bandage on it to prevent it from getting infected. Not a bad action in most cases, but what if…
Let’s say a cottonmouth had buried its fangs into the person’s left foot, and in the attempt to kill the cottonmouth with a 20 gauge the person now has pellets lodged throughout their left leg and those open wounds are filled with the now splattered particles of what used to be a cottonmouth. Would you focus so much attention on the hand, and immediate attention at that?
That’s how I describe the IRS scandals making headlines today. I’ve gone on in other venues and the LAB blog about the evils of profiling. It’s sad that many people agree with profiling, but their position does a 180 when they are the ones being profiled. One’s status as profiler or profiled is often the sole factor in their opinion of the activity. The media headlines and public outrage should not be why specific groups’ encountered additional scrutiny for tax exempt status, but the focus honestly needs to be why ALL groups did not face the same additional scrutiny for the same tax exempt status.
The IRS cannot function in an efficient and effective manner in today’s environment. That’s not a Republican or Democrat observation nor is it a “conservative” or “liberal” observation regardless of how people define the terms depending upon the day of the week, amount of rain, temperature, humidity, and heat index. A portion of the blame is with the agency itself. You can find countless stories of elaborate conferences, supplies, and waste. Sadly, I don’t think the IRS is alone in that inefficiency. I’ve yet to either research or work in any area where some funds, focus, or hours could most likely prove more beneficial and productive if allocated differently. One common problem is that it often becomes easier to simply pour more resources into an ineffective system to achieve the results you need than it is to overhaul the system.
With the IRS, the tax code is too complicated. While some simplification plans by others look nice on paper, my concern is that too much simplification will result in the same problems. Congress needs to make some tough decisions, and they need to pour some sweat into deciphering this code instead of political grandstanding. Each section must be disassembled individually, and then the tough process of what to use and what not to use in the rebuild begins.
Claiming ignorance and using events for political gain just doesn’t pass the common sense “smell test” at this stage. Issues have been spelled out for years in the reports from the National Taxpayer Advocate. I touched on some of the current scandals here in profiles of patriotic tea with links to some really classic and enjoyable reading.
While our Members of the House and United States Senators are off on an Independence Day Holiday recess, the National Taxpayer Advocate submitted its required report.
For those not familiar with the purpose of this report and the recipients, I’ll simply cut and paste from the Preface.
“The Internal Revenue Code requires the National Taxpayer Advocate to submit two annual reports to the House Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance. The National Taxpayer Advocate is required to submit these reports directly to the Committees without any prior review or comment from the Commissioner of Internal Revenue, the Secretary of the Treasury, or the Office of Management and Budget. The first report, due by June 30 of each year, must identify the objectives of the Office of the Taxpayer Advocate for the fiscal year beginning in that calendar year.”
When the Members of Congress return, will we as constituents hear about this report and begin to see efforts to address many of the real issues, some which are in the report and others that point to all the confusion within the tax code? Or will we continue to hear all the grandstanding and investigative hearings on the Hill, and the media spinning the rhetoric accordingly to maximize and retain their respective readers, listeners, and viewers?”
That scratch on the hand might become infected. It’s wise to try and prevent that infection from occurring. In the meantime, I admit that I’m a little bit more concerned with that cottonmouth’s venom getting into the bloodstream, the amount of blood already lost from dealing with the snake without thinking it through, at least a little, even with the circumstances at the time, the potential for gangrene to set in from all those pellets, and even with those concerns I’m taking it for granted that I could withstand what I reckon is a heaping load of hurtin’.
To the Honorable Members of Congress, should I as a constituent plan for anti-snake venom, the need for blood, amputation of my leg, or just continue to hurt while you argue amongst yourselves and think about the best course toward your reelection?
I often wonder what might take place if the statue of Clio still watched over the debates instead of microphones and cameras. Would Congressman of prior generations act any differently in this new environment?