HUMPHRIES: The Bully of the Week: The IRS

Ogres at the IRS give out bonuses to its own tax-delinquent employees

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The Internal Revenue Service is often a strong contender for Bully of the Week, and if we’re going to hand out a Bully of the Year award, the agency will probably be in the running.

But it gets the honor this week because it takes a very special sense of bureaucratic entitlement to hand out bonuses to IRS employees guilty of serious disciplinary problems — including tax delinquency.

Yes, the IRS just gave out bonuses to employees who didn’t pay their taxes.

The Treasury inspector general, J. Russell George, insists that no laws were broken by handing out these bonuses, but he said “providing awards to employees who have been disciplined for failing to pay federal taxes appears to create a conflict with the IRS‘ charge of ensuring the integrity of the system of tax administration.” No, really, Sherlock?

Before he got erased from history, then-Sen. John Edwards used to say there were two Americas. Maybe he had a point. There’s one America for the politicians, bureaucrats and people with the right connections, and another one for the rest of us.

The government wants to play Robin Hood, robbing from everybody they say is rich and handing the money out to people they think deserve it more. However, at the same time, people inside the system get to play fast and loose with the rules dropped on the rest of us.

Why should someone who can’t pay his taxes on time be working for the IRS at all, never mind collecting a bonus?

Or maybe we ought to think about getting rid of a tax system that not even IRS employees can figure out. That way, we wouldn’t have a system empowered to hold us guilty until proven innocent, prying into every corner of our lives, costing us billions of dollars a year to fill out compliance paperwork. We’d be a lot less bullied that way.

Rusty Humphries, a nationally syndicated talk-radio host, is a contributor to The Washington Times.

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