The National Memo’s David Cay Johnston explained the real scandal at the Internal Revenue Service on Thursday’s Democracy Now. His answer shows how the Republican agenda is to deprive the agency of funding in order to keep those who report their own income immune from investigation:
The Internal Revenue Service has been given all of these duties that are beyond collecting taxes, and they have enormously added to their burdens. So, in the last 10 years, the budget of the IRS, adjusted for the size of the population and inflation, has come down 17 percent, while the duties it’s been given have gone like this. Now, if you’re a wage earner and—or pensioner, you have your taxes taken out of your money before you collect it. You’re not being affected by these budget cuts. But people trying to get a tax-exempt status, there aren’t enough people to process the complaint—to process the permit requests. People are not being audited at the level they should, who are very wealthy and who self-report. There is no independent verification of their income. And we know that self-reported income, roughly a third of it, tends not to be reported overall—some people are scrupulous; some people are the exact opposite—and that verified income, like wages, 99.9 percent of that gets reported to the government. So, the IRS is being asked to do things it doesn’t have the budget to do. Its workers have not had pay raises in three years. IRS employees are held to a higher standard than anybody else in the government in terms of their conduct. And they simply cannot do all the things that Congress is asking of them.
He went on to explain why no one at the IRS likely committed a crime, since the law is purposely vague.
Johnston also describes the Citizens United decision as our “Plessy v. Ferguson,” pointing out that there were only six corporations in the United States when the nation was founded.
If you really want to understand this whole “scandal,” watch this interview.
Copyright 2013 The National Memo