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Valued Social Butterfly
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Re: Republicans chase fake IRS scandal, but ignore the real IRS scandal

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Message 121 of 123

Lk, this is a very important thread, and a must-read. Underfunding the IRS is indeed the real IRS scandal, and it is deliberate. It's easy for everyone to see the IRS as the potential enemy, but we all have to remember that our democracy is made possible by this very important agency.

 

I understand why the right would want to paint the IRS as corrupt. They would like to reduce our entire government to a size that can be drowned the bathtub.

 

Excellent posts.

 

 

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Trusted Social Butterfly
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Re: Republicans chase fake IRS scandal, but ignore the real IRS scandal

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Message 122 of 123

I had an uncle who worked at the IRS local office. He was an attorney whose specialty was taxes and estates and his major job was making sure that Uncle Sam received what it was due when some wealthy person died. He also was involved in investigating organized crime and their attempts to evade taxes. After he retired from the IRS, he hung up his shingle in private practice as a tax and estate attorney. He taught me a lot about tax schedules and even represented me when I was audited by the IRS (I wound up getting back more money from Uncle Sam). He was non political, but was a life long registered Republican. But he counted among his friends many local Democrats including former senator Howard Metzenbaum. 

 

One thing he told to me was that the IRS's major job is to collect revenue and enforce the tax laws as passed by congress. During the Nixon yeas, he was very critical about President Nixon's attempts to politicize the IRS and use it against his political enemies. 

 

Another thing he was very critical about was the use of offshore bank accounts and trusts that were used by not only organized crime, but many wealthy American citizens to evade paying taxes. He was also very critical of congress' underfunding the IRS to the point where the agency could not properly do their job of investigating those offshore tax havens. He believed (during the Reagan years especially) that was deliberate since congress appropriates money for the IRS to do its job. 

 

During the 1990s, my uncle was very critical of how because of underfunding, the IRS had not upgraded their computer systems to the times. The IRS computer systems were way behind those being used by private companies and the IRS was slow to adopt to the use of the internet, not only for filing taxes, but reporting income and taxes paid. Again he believed that may have been deliberate because congress was underfunding the IRS. 

 

He also said that the relatively low salaries paid to IRS attorneys often resulted in many yonung talented lawyers learning taxes and how the IRS operates; then leaving for more lucrative jobs in the private sector. He was tempted many times, but he liked the job as well as the security of working for Uncle Sam. He also felt that he had a "duty" to work for the government since it was the GI Bill that put him through college and law school and the IRS that gave him that chance. 

 

He died in 2000 at the age of 77 of a heart attack on his way to his office. Even though he could have had a comfortable retirement, he enjoyed being engaged in the practice of law. I often wonder what he would have to say about this current IRS "scandal" being investigated by congress. No doubt his answer would be that perhaps those lawmakers trumpeting the loudest should also be investigated. 

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Republicans chase fake IRS scandal, but ignore the real IRS scandal

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Message 123 of 123

Leave it to the House Republicans to attempt to make political points by pursuing a scandal with the IRS' "targeting" tea party groups as to their tax exempt status. The truth is that the IRS also "targets" liberal groups seeking the same tax exempt status as well. Now some right wing members of congress, like Texas senator Ted Cruz, are calling for the impeachment of AG Eric Holder. Despite evidence that the missing emails of Lois Lerner are not part of a massive cover up, the GOP is pursuing this with all the dogged determination of the Watergate panel trying to uncover the massive cover up in the Nixon White House.

 

But unlike the Watergate investigation; this will discover only smoke (mostly blown by the Republican representatives) and no fire while Watergate discovered a raging bonfire. 

 

But the real IRS scandal is the House of Representaitves making. It involves budgetary cuts that have hampered the IRS' ability to do its job. Because the IRS has had its budget cut by 14%. Salaries of IRS employees have been cut by 20%. Vacancies are not being filled. Read on:

  

Congressional Republicans’ version of the scandal originally went like this: President Obama ordered the IRS to target right-wing organizations applying for tax-exempt status as non-political “social welfare” groups, leading the agency to harass those on the president’s Nixonian enemies list.

  

It turns out that none of that ever happened; the IRS targeted liberal groups as well as conservative ones, not a single Tea Party group was denied tax-exempt status (despite overwhelming evidence that many of them were engaged in political activity), and no evidence ever emerged that the White House was involved in any of it. Still, that hasn’t stopped Republicans from escalating the “scandal” in increasingly ridiculous ways.

  

The current outrage centers around the IRS’ claim that thousands of former IRS official Lois Lerner’s emails were lost when her computer crashed in 2011. Although evidence and logicsuggest that this was not part of a massive cover-up, Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is threatening to impeach Attorney General Eric Holder unless he appoints a special prosecutor to investigate it, and Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Bill Flores (R-TX) have introduced a bill promising a $1 million bounty to anyone who can restore the lost emails, while threatening to cut the salaries of IRS employees by 20 percent unless the emails are recovered.

 

 

As it happens, Republicans have already hammered IRS employees with cuts since they took control of the House of Representatives in 2011 — and they didn’t even need a “Nixonian” “scandal” to do so.

 

 

In a report released Wednesday, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities illustrates just how badly Congress has constrained the IRS’ ability to do its job. Due to a combination of discretionary budget cuts and sequestration, the IRS has been left with an $11.3 billion budget for 2014. That’s $840 million lower than it was in 2010, amounting to a 14 percent cut when accounting for inflation.

 

CBPP Chart 1

 

As a result of the cuts, the IRS has been forced to reduce its workforce by 11 percent since 2010, even as the agency’s workload has substantially increased (for example, in addition to the IRS’ new campaign finance responsibilities, CBPP notes that the number of individual tax returns has grown by 1.5 million annually over the past decade).

 

CBPP Chart 2

 

Furthermore, even as the IRS’ remaining workers have been forced to take on more responsibility, the agency’s training budget has been slashed by an astonishing 87 percent between 2010 and 2013, the most recent year with available data. If Congress wants to know why the IRS struggled so badly at sorting out the glut of groups that applied for tax exemption, there is your answer.

 

 

Republicans are clearly desperate to uncover a real scandal at the IRS. But if they really want to improve things at the much-maligned agency, they need look no further than their own budget proposals.

 

Read more at this link:

 

http://www.nationalmemo.com/gop-chases-fake-irs-scandal-makes-real-one-worse/?utm_source=Sailthru&ut...

 

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