The Internal Revenue Service has finally released a comprehensive list
of the organizations it targeted for intrusive scrutiny. This came about under pressure from federal judges fed up with what they said was the agency’s stonewalling.
The move was spurred by a class-action lawsuit brought against the IRS for targeting (via extra scrutiny) conservative Tea Party groups' applications for tax-exempt status, so the list is important to determine who would have a claim against the agency.
The release of the list containing 426 organizations is much higher than the 298 that the IRS inspector general acknowledged in May 2013 when investigators first revealed the scandal. We, the people, are responsible for this mess. We could demand, for example, that the IRS be eliminated, as former presidential candidate Ted Cruz proposed.
Eliminating the IRS would presuppose getting rid of the income tax, or massively reducing taxes in general, which would mean long-term phasing out of the insolvent Medicare and Social Security programs, among other things.
If we’re unwilling to face the fiscal mess created by a government doing too many things outside the boundaries prescribed by the Constitution, then we have no business complaining when the government does whatever it “has” to do in order to gain revenue.
The IRS exists to maintain and grow the government, so of course they’d go after Tea Party and conservative-libertarian groups. These groups stand for limits on government. Ted Cruz and some of these groups are calling for the elimination of the IRS. In a way, we can’t blame the IRS for seeking to protect itself.
But the IRS exists only at the discretion of the people. We are still a democratic republic, and we still have freedom of speech. If (or, sadly, when) we get an actual dictatorship, then I will consider us to be victims.
But let’s not forget what led up to the dictatorship: Years of yawning and shrugging indifference on the part of clueless voters. “Government is corrupt. What’s a citizen to do?”
If you haven’t read "Atlas Shrugged," Ayn Rand’s classic masterpiece on the collapse of society at the hands of an overreaching government, then now is a good time. Throughout the book, as the parallel universe U.S. gradually collapses from democratic socialism, people mutter to themselves, “Who is John Galt?”
I won’t spoil the story, but the expression was, in part, an acknowledgement of the hopelessness and helplessness people felt for reasons they could neither name nor comprehend. “Where have all the great guys gone? Where has the great country gone?”
To find out the answer, read this book. The fact that you are reading this now suggests that you will not be disappointed.
It’s a hopeful story, ultimately, but only if the people — led by the best and brightest in society — take matters into their own hands. Government authoritarians are actually weak, unprincipled, mediocrities who can be defeated when the virtuous assert themselves and withdraw their compliance.
Donald Trump’s candidacy, filled with anger, represents the present emotional response of many to today’s real-life decline in America. Anger is healthy, but it’s not enough. The IRS merely cashes in on it all.
The IRS collects over $2.4 trillion each tax year. It processes around 234 million tax returns annually. No government agency given this kind of power can possibly stay free of corruption. And the problem is not merely a corrupt IRS. It’s the IRS itself. By its very nature, the IRS has to be corrupt.
How brazen it gets is measured only in time.
We did not need a powerful IRS before government got so massive in the New Deal 1930s. The IRS as we know it exists not because the country requires it, but because the government requires it. Limit government to its Constitutional functions, including a repeal (or phase out) of the income tax, and we’ll be free of this growing — and very expensive-tyranny.
Ronald Reagan got it right when he said: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”
If today’s generation of Americans won’t fight to sustain freedom and individual rights for themselves, we will all lose them. Freedom was the exception, not the rule, of human history, and America was its most shining example. Are we really ready to let that go?
Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D., LCSW is a psychotherapist and author with a private practice in coastal Delaware. He is the author of “Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (and How to Tell the Difference).” For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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