- - Monday, January 26, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Internal Revenue Service’s woes did not begin or end with Lois Lerner and the agency’s targeting of political opponents with punitive action. Earlier this month we became painfully aware (again) that political games and punishing the taxpayer appear to be the burgeoning raison d’etre of the tax-collecting agency.

As this newspaper reported, January brought us a dire warning from IRS Commissioner John Koskinen: Budget cuts were leading to cuts in services for taxpayers. Very much like the closing of World War II memorials during sequestration, it appears the federal government only has eyes for you when it comes to whom to punish when they don’t get what they want.

The hysteria is due to the agency’s massive $10.9 billion budget being dinged with a $350 million cut. Among the punishment to be meted out will be delayed refunds and lousy customer service in general. The Blaze reported the National Taxpayer Advocate (an “independent office” inside the IRS) report released to Congress warned taxpayers will receive “the worst levels of taxpayer service since at least 2001” and that more than half of all calls to the IRS will go unanswered.

Also in the National Taxpayer Advocate report was a remarkable admission, according to the Daily Caller, that “The IRS does not answer the phone at local offices and has even removed the option it once provided for taxpayers, including the elderly and disabled, to leave a message … .” The report noted the disabled or elderly should email the IRS for help, yet, according to the report, “Demographic research data show only 57 percent of adults over age 65 use the Internet compared with 87 percent of all adults … . For those without Internet access, the only viable ways to reach the IRS are by phone, or in person,” the report stated.

So if you’re elderly or infirm and don’t use the Internet, you’re out of luck.

In the midst of the sturm and drang flowing from Mr. Koskinen’s office about the hell about to be unleashed because No Money, a rather curious financial decision his office has made is coming to light. IJR.com reports, “The same company fired for the disastrous rollout of the Healthcare.gov website is been rewarded with another job by the government, and it’s one that is possibly even more important: CGI has won a contract with the IRS to keep track of Affordable Care Act user subsidies and taxes.” To the tune of a $4.5 million contract.

As the IRS screams about not being able to issue your refund in a timely manner, or answer their phones, or provide easy access for the elderly because they want their $350 million back, there is another answer: They could stop wasting billions of dollars every year.

In 2013, this newspaper reported, “The Internal Revenue Service paid up to $13.6 billion in bogus claims for the Earned Income Tax Credit last year and as much as $132.6 billion over the past decade, according to an internal audit that already has some members of Congress questioning how the agency will be able to administer Obamacare … .”

A headline from the Fiscal Times in 2014 declared, “IRS Does It Again — Wastes Another $13 Billion,” also owing to the Earned Income Tax Credit debacle. In other words, the IRS is wasting more taxpayer money each year than its entire $10.9 billion annual budget.

The Washington Times also reported in 2013 on other fraud and waste at the IRS, including, “Everyone always wants the latest technology, but a government auditor said Tuesday that the IRS wasted millions of dollars on BlackBerrys and wireless modem aircards that employees don’t need or even use … .”

Late last year NextGov.com revealed, “The Internal Revenue Service concedes its mismanagement of software licenses has wasted millions of dollars … it appears the agency’s server software has also been mismanaged, resulting in the waste of between $80 million and $114 million, according to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration … .”

With financial chaos like this consuming the tax law enforcement agency of the United States, it’s easy to understand why Americans look askance at a federal government that constantly insists it must take more of our hard-earned money because the monster of government is still hungry.

This political game to con you out of your money is the equivalent of a 700-pound man, so obese he has grown into his lounge chair, arguing that he needs 10 more pizzas and he’ll be able to get up.

Waste and fraud is not the exclusive purview of the bureaucrats at the IRS. The monster of the federal government as a whole needs feeding and managing as it gets bigger and more ravenous. Remember the billions of dollars the IRS alone burns in its annual bonfire of cash the next time someone from the government or the legacy media tells you you’re going to have to suffer because the feds don’t have enough of your money.

The IRS‘ organizational incompetence, financial anarchy and contempt for the citizen is just one example of a government gone rogue and why independent conservatives demand and work for a smarter, more accountable and efficient federal government.

Tammy Bruce is a radio talk-show host, author and Fox News contributor.

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