The White House publicity machine has tried to turn the national conversation from the topics of the day to attempt to make our President relevant again. Obama, who has gained the new nickname Griffin (as in H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man), has all but disappeared since his failed attempt to change the national gun laws in the beginning of this year. To clear grass so high that Obama needs a weed whacker just to be seen, his team has attempted a typical Obama technique. In this case they are creating a new mantra to discredit legitimate concerns of American voters by calling the various missteps of his administration “phony scandals.” The IRS is one of those phony scandals.
One would think that any American with a brain would be concerned that the tax collecting agency of the United States was operating in an abusive manner. One would think everyone would view charges of abuse by the Internal Revenue Service as something of the highest magnitude of concern regarding governmental abuse that could happen at any time to any citizen. Almost all Americans lived in deep fear of receiving a letter from the IRS long before this scandal broke.
President Obama immediately came out to relieve the existing commissioner of the IRS from his duties (a man who had one month left at his position) and replaced him with a new guy who was given a month to do a top-to-bottom review of the IRS. This is an organization with 100,000 employees and hundreds of offices. Surely one month will be plenty of time for a comprehensive operational review. That month is now over so kids everything is fine and we can move forward assured there will be no more abuses by the most feared organization in America. By the way, nobody really did anything wrong and it is all a big misunderstanding.
Let’s focus on a couple of aspects of this. As someone who has worked with the IRS for 35 years, I have seen the transition of the organization. If there was discretion for the agents previously, that has disappeared over the years. You can tell in dealing with them that today the people at the lower rungs just execute and don’t really think very much. When you talk to agents that have been around for a while, they will tell you how the organization has changed and how they often have become nothing more than clerks. So when the world was told at the beginning of this scandal that it was a couple of rogue agents in Cincinnati who made these decisions, it was quite laughable.