20 May 2013

The IRS Scandal

Big Brother, Krugman 21 Comments

Help me out here. The only reason this IRS scandal has any traction, is that the IRS itself admitted it had targeted Tea Party and other groups. There were lots of conservative types complaining about special scrutiny before, and nobody cared.

So why did the IRS come forth with this? And doesn’t it seem weird that all the other scandals broke at the same time?

I have no real explanation for all of this, I’m just very surprised. It would be like Krugman saying, “You know, the big drop in even short term deficit projections, despite (what I have described as) massive fiscal austerity, and all with no ill effect on unemployment, is really really awkward for the Keynesian position. I’m sorry I misled my readers; I’ll try to restore your confidence in IS/LM in the future.”

But Krugman would never say such a thing; instead he would run victory laps. It would be left for his critics to allege it. So is the IRS more intellectually honest than Paul Krugman?

21 Responses to “The IRS Scandal”

  1. RPLong says:

    Maybe the system wants us to know that it can target us. Maybe that’s the message. Maybe that’s why it happened at the same time the journalist/email scandal broke, and that’s a part of the message, too. Sounds like they want us to know that they will go after us.

    I mean, why else? I don’t want to be a conspiracy whacko, but what else am I supposed to think?

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Either that, or some faction decided it was unhappy with Obama and his inner circle, and wanted to let them know what was up.

      • Ken B says:

        Or to fulfill biblical prophecy.

      • Z says:

        That’s probably it. A few whistleblowers who took their job seriously and believe they are doing the public a service saw something blatantly wrong and went public with it.

    • Ken B says:

      That there are thugs about, who will abuse their powers when egged on by their leaders?

  2. Martin says:

    Alternatively, research by a newspaper underway which could lead to an embarrassing publication. Admitting could also be form of damage control.

    Alternatively, alternatively, Obama might have instructed them to reveal it lest it be revealed at a less opportune time. Reveal all scandals together, and reveal them at an opportune time (i.e. before elections where a lot of Democratic party seats might be up for grabs). People have limited attention, so you might get a “scandal discount”, and people don’t remember multiple scandals longer than single scandals.

    Might be an interesting paper, timing of scandals and elections…

    • JimS says:

      Admission is a form of damage control, most definately.

      If Clinton had come out and said “Yeah, Monica Lewinsky and I did so. We all have our weak moments. For all have sinned, etc.” Nothing would have come from it. But instead, they mess around, get a special prosecutor, hearings, impeachments, disbarment, etc. All of that would have been avoided by a painful week of yeah, I did it.

  3. valueprax says:


  4. Ken B says:

    It was about to break via other reports. Note also that the story we got from the IRS woman has fallen apart; this suggest a hurried attempt to control spin not a vast conspiracy.

  5. Silas Barta says:

    The IRS may be brutal but they seem to also be very committed to honesty. One time they mailed me a check for $400 for a credit they noticed I didn’t claim on my taxes but was eligible for. Go fig.

    • The Existential Christian says:

      I actually had a similar experience. I always have self employment income and usually owe a considerable amount each year. One year I actually did my math wrong, and paid more than I owed, and received a check for $750 that I had overpaid.

  6. steveZ says:

    The only reason the three scandals are getting so much air time is that one of the factions (republicans) wants this info to get out. Not that they made any of this up. We all know this kind of stuff (and much more) goes on ALL THE TIME, and always has gone on. Most of the time though, both sides are involved, so there is effort from both sides to keep it quiet. This will swing the pendulum back to the right, so that they can have another turn at spying, robbing, and killing. It’s not that they (the neocons) are actually against what this administration is doing in principle, they’re just opportunistic.

    • Ken B says:

      Those dastardly neocons! Is there anything they do not control?

  7. joe says:

    Ironic that the tea party groups are applying for a govt subsidy.

    The IRS did not admit to targeting anyone. They acknowledged that a few Tea Party buzz words trigger heightened scrutiny when applying for a 501 (d) non-profit subsidy. This is a trumped up scandal. Obama is weak for not defending his people who did nothing wrong.

    • Ivan Jankovic says:

      So the tax exemption is a ‘subsidy’? strange terminology.. And targeting thousands of people only because of their political inclinations is ok?

    • doug says:

      A tax exemption is not a subsidy. Get real.

    • Ken B says:

      “Ironic that the tea party groups are applying for a govt subsidy.”

      Not only that, they are asking for across the board subsidies! Subsidies on all taxpayers! What master ironists!

      You should make a donation, then you can claim a government subsidy on your 1040.

  8. Brent says:

    The imminent release of the IG report. They wanted to get ahead of it.

  9. NoGodsOrKings says:

    Bob, as I understand it, the process went as follows:

    – Some IRS employees/departments target conservative 501(c)4 applications.
    – Tea Party/conservative organizations get frustrated with delays and ask their representatives what the holdup is.
    – Congressmen ask the IRS for an explanation
    – IRS says they’re facing huge pile of applications and are working as fast as possible.
    – 18-24 months later, constituents and congressmen get irritated, ask for explanation again
    – Congressmen ask a somewhat separate IRS accountability office to look into it
    – Separate IRS office uncovers the different treatment of conservative groups
    – IRS gets out in front of the report apologizing profusely.

  10. Yancey Ward says:

    I am guessing someone in the IRS itself saw what was being done to the Tea Party applicants and told the inspector general of Treasury that he either investigates it and puts an end to it, or it goes to The Wall Street Journal in a leak with e-mail evidence of the targeting. The IG decided it was better that he do his job than get publicly embarrassed for not doing so. Once that happened, there was no chance of it remaining undisclosed, but the Obama Administration did manage to sit on the story long enough to get past November’s election.

  11. Jayson P. Stevenson says:

    So why did the IRS come forth with this? And doesn’t it seem weird that all the other scandals broke at the same time?

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