Editorial: Has IRS Destroyed the Public Trust in Perpetuity?
By Brandi Makuski
President Obama announced Wednesday night that acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller has resigned in the wake of the agency scandal in which conservative groups were targeted.
The IRS admitted earlier this week it specifically investigated groups seeking tax- exempt status with words like “patriot”, “Tea Party” or “conservative” in the title. Officials from the agency required these groups to disclose Facebook and Twitter posts and names of all individuals associated with the group, and some groups claim they’re still waiting to hear back on their tax-exempt status years after first applying.
Whether Miller actionably allowed the bias or merely was sitting blindly at the helm when it happened is irrelevant. The damage is done. Honestly, the guy’s lucky he’s getting off so easy- he’s still getting a pension.
But now, the American public is faced with actual proof of a claim we’ve all griped about for years; our government is, at least in part, crooked.
The problem is deeper than what is shown at face value. During a presidential address Wednesday night Obama said “Americans have a right to be angry about it, and I’m angry about it,” and promised swift audits of the Internal Revenue Service’s management practices.
That’s lip service. I’m mad as hell. And you should be too.
American has a long history of bias against people who look different. Black people, women, Asian- Americans during World War II, gay people, folks of Middle Eastern descent- all have faced varying forms of prejudice or violence because they were different from your traditional American WASP. Even liberals were discriminated against during the 40’s and 50’s by an over-paranoid government weary of Communism.
Our country can’t claim to be better than it was in the past because we’re still discriminating against people for their political beliefs. America’s nearly as divisive as it was some sixty years ago, and that’s a scary thing because we still like to think of ourselves as that great nation our grandparents touted post- WWII. But really, how great can we possibly be if our nation’s top tax collecting agency targets groups with words like “patriot” in the title?
Politicians from both sides of the aisle have slammed the IRS for targeting the groups. Congressman Vern Buchanan from Florida said the resignation “is a necessary first step but more heads need to roll.”
Miller’s resignation was part of three-step plan President Obama outlined Wednesday night to fix the problem. The other two steps are to put additional safeguards in place, and to “work with Congress as it investigates”.
“The good news is we can fix this,” Obama said.
I wonder if we can. I wonder if the agency responsible for pooling taxes for government use can be “fixed”, as the president claims, particularly when none of the individuals responsible for the organization answer directly the very taxpayers whom fund it.