Pass the Popcorn, Please, II

As ObamaCare and its troubles dominate the news, lurking in the background is the IRS scandal. The Chief Counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) wrote an op-ed on FoxNews that noted the lawsuit filed by the ACLJ isn’t going to be dropped. Jay Sekulow, the Chief Counsel, noted five reasons why the IRS scandal won’t go away. I’m going to focus just on his fifth point:

Fifth, the IRS targeting scandal is directly relevant to the mother of all policy disasters, ObamaCare. With the IRS set to function as ObamaCare’s enforcement arm, every story of corruption, incompetence, and malice casts doubt on the IRS’s ability faithfully and lawfully discharge its responsibilities within our health care system. [emphasis in original]

Eliana Johnson of the National Review had two tweets last night that highlight this issue. Here’s the first:

IRS source tells me that “last thing in the world anybody wants right now is IRS connected to that pile of crap at”

Here’s the second:

IRS source says agency still working to link IRS sys to HHS and CMS. “Our guys can’t move until HHS and CMS get their crap together.”

President Obama promised that the website would be functioning by month-end. It’s apparent to almost everyone that is not going to happen. Meanwhile, individuals need to enroll by December 15th in order to have coverage by January 1st; the back-end payment system has apparently not yet been built! (The key point in the testimony begins at about 3:20):

If health care weren’t such a major issue this would be laughable. Unfortunately, it is a major issue. I have not talked with many individuals at the IRS regarding health care and the IRS’s role in ObamaCare. I notice that in today’s IRSAC report that IRSAC identified as its very first issue the IRS’s funding level. IRSAC rightly noted that, “Reducing the IRS’s budget constrains IRS effectiveness and efficiency, which results in taxpayers’ loss of respect for the agency and our voluntary tax system.”

I identified this issue earlier this month. I’ll repeat what I said then:

For the IRS to function effectively, it needs both a reasonable budget and to be apolitical. It’s vital that the Department of Justice go after individuals who turn the IRS into a political organization from an apolitical one. Yet the current Administration apparently doesn’t see the urgency in this issue. That’s a huge mistake, and one that will definitely come back to haunt them and all Americans. We need a well functioning IRS…and given what the Administration is doing (and not doing), it’s very likely the budget for the IRS will continue to shrink.

The Obama Administration needs to give more than lip service to the investigations of the IRS scandal. Does anyone really believe that the Department of Justice is doing anything in regards to this? The budget of the IRS will not be increased until the scandal is resolved. As Mr. Sekulow noted, the IRS scandal and the troubles of ObamaCare are directly linked.

The individuals I have dealt with at the IRS are normal hard-working people doing jobs. The IRS deserves better than what it’s getting from the Obama Administration. IRSAC’s recommendation is laudable, but Congress’s cutting the IRS’s budget is also reasonable until the scandal is resolved. The onus here lies on the current Administration. I suspect IRSAC will be repeating their recommendation in next year’s report.

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