Obama’s Legacy: A Government That Makes Paranoid Conspiracy Theories Seem Possibly Sane

192px-President_Barack_ObamaGlenn Harlan Reynolds, Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee and owner of the Instapundit blog, writes in USA Today of a “weaponized” IRS and the even more scandal-ridden NSA as sure signs that the Obama administration is the least trustworthy since the Nixon era:

At a tax symposium at Pepperdine Law School last week, former IRS chief counsel Donald Korb was asked, “On a scale of 1-10 … how damaging is the current IRS scandal?”

His answer: 9.5. Other tax experts on the panel called it “awful,” and said that it has done “tremendous damage.”

I think that’s right. And I think that the damage extends well beyond the Internal Revenue Service. In fact, I think that the government agency suffering the most damage isn’t the IRS, but the National Security Agency. Because the NSA, even more than the IRS, depends on public trust. And now that the IRS has been revealed to be a political weapon, it’s much harder for people to have faith in the NSA.

As I warned President Obama back in 2009 after he “joked” about having his enemies audited, the IRS depends on trust:

Should the IRS come to be seen as just a bunch of enforcers for whoever is in political power, the result would be an enormous loss of legitimacy for the tax system. Our income-tax system is based on voluntary compliance and honest reporting by citizens. It couldn’t possibly function if most people decided to cheat. Sure, the system is backed up by the dreaded IRS audit. But the threat is, while not exactly hollow, limited: The IRS can’t audit more than a tiny fraction of taxpayers. If Americans started acting like Italians, who famously see tax evasion as a national pastime, the system would collapse.

Since then, of course, the new “weaponized IRS” has, in fact, come to be seen as illegitimate by many more Americans. I suspect that, over time, this loss of moral legitimacy will cause many to base their tax strategies on what they think they can get away with, not on what they’re entitled to. And when they hear of someone being audited, many Americans will ask not “what did he do wrong?” but “who in government did he offend?”

This is particularly true since the Obama administration is currently changing IRS rules to muzzle Tea Partiers...

[continues at USA Today]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

Latest posts by majestic (see all)

7 Comments on "Obama’s Legacy: A Government That Makes Paranoid Conspiracy Theories Seem Possibly Sane"

  1. horseshit.
    the link provided show nothing of the sort, nothing more than Bush II.
    and the IRS is simply doing its job. if you’ve ever worked at a
    non-profit, you know all about those 501 rules. guess what? the
    corporate funded Tea Party didn’t play by the rules. what’s scarier is
    that they and right-wing churches have been skirting the rules for years
    with little oversight.

    • What gets me is the sudden outrage over this from the people who told me “If you’ve got nothing to hide, then you have nothing to worry about” eight years ago. And from the same people who were okay with the idea of the government doing this to Muslim groups or black groups or gay groups or anti-war groups or social justice groups or labor groups, but now that we the public basically make it so easy for the government to collect every useless bit of nonsense we spew out into the aether, we’ve all got to put on tricorner hats or some stupid shit like that.

    • The Inspector General concluded that the IRS acted improperly. But you keep drinking that koolaid.

  2. Nice of USA Today to offer 5th-grade thinking to accompany the 5th-grade reading level.

  3. Glenn Reynolds. Now there’s a thinker. And I quote:

    “Spend a little while on Twitter or in Internet comment sections and you’ll see a significant number of people who think that the NSA may have been relaying intelligence about the Mitt Romney campaign to Obama operatives, or that Chief Justice John Roberts’ sudden about-face in the Obamacare case might have been driven by some sort of NSA-facilitated blackmail.”

    Dingbats on the internet are convinced the “Kenyan Muslim Space Alien Pretender Chicago Gay Muslim Thug Who Stole The Election & Something About ACORN” is up to something, therefore, he is indeed up to something. Can’t argue with that logic.

  4. BuzzCoastin | Jan 21, 2014 at 6:01 pm |

    Our income-tax system is based on voluntary compliance

    I remember when that was on the front of the 1040 instruction book
    most people don’t think of reporting or paying as voluntary
    especially since they can access your bank account & take money

    factor in the fact that THEY print the goddamned money at will
    (need $17 trillion Mr. Bankster? cummin right up!)
    they don’t need taxes, they need control

  5. Obama is a piece of shit, but it’s USA Today, so you know . . . fascist propaganda.

Comments are closed.