Did you enjoy Tax Day? You know, April 15, the day you spent countless hours or perhaps days preparing for in order to obey the Internal Revenue Service’s rules demanding you report every single penny you spent and where you spent it.
Only when you’ve detailed for the government how you live your life, how you run your business and what charities you support, will the IRS deign to send you back any money you overpaid. Without interest, of course.
Tax Day is a day that many Americans approach with some dread because, who knows, if you get something wrong, they will come to get you.
Unless, of course, you work for the IRS.
That’s right. The patriotic duty of paying taxes is apparently only for us plebes. If you are an IRS employee, you can actually get a bonus, a raise and a bunch of extra days off if you don’t pay your taxes. Who knew?
A week after Americans were rushing to make sure we had the proper April 15 postmark on our tax returns, the Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration revealed the IRS paid $1.1 million in bonuses to more than 1,100 employees who didn’t pay their own taxes.
It doesn’t end there, though. The Los Angeles Times reports those same tax scofflaw employees received more than 10,000 hours of extra time off and received 69 faster-than-normal paygrade increases.
So, let me see if I have this right: If you work at the IRS and don’t pay your taxes, you will be among those who receive more than $1 million in bonuses and other perks. If you’re an elderly American rancher in Nevada who hasn’t paid some fees, you will be confronted by hundreds of armed federal agents, your cattle will be killed, your son will be tased and attacked by a dog, and the American people who support you will be labeled “domestic terrorists” by Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. Got it.
According to CBS News, the Treasury inspector general’s report points out, “IRS does not consider tax compliance or other misconduct when issuing performance awards.” That’s supposed to make it better? In CBS’ coverage, Republican Rep. Darrell E. Issa of California had a few things to say, which also reveals part of the larger problem:
“In the private sector, you don’t get bonuses, pay increases and promotions right after you’ve done something wrong, and that’s what’s really wrong with the culture there,” he said. “At a minimum, people should have a timeout from bonuses and promotions after being found doing something wrong .”
A “timeout”?! You just can’t make this stuff up. There is no “minimum” here. The concept of firing people just doesn’t exist anymore in Washington. In the cultish clique of our capital, there are simply no repercussions for bad behavior and apparently no punishment for corruption.
Mr. Issa, of all people, must understand this conduct needs to be judged within the larger context of what appears to be an overall culture of corruption at the IRS and throughout the Obama administration as a whole.
There’s a reason former senior IRS official Lois Lerner thought she could do as she pleased. No one is ever held accountable in Washington. This includes the president of the United States, his Cabinet members, the heads of agencies and, as we now see, bureaucratic employees.
The massive growth of government under both George W. Bush and Barack Obama has led to a gigantic bureaucratic monster so captivated with itself that no one else matters, and all who call themselves “citizens” are to serve the goliath’s desires, its hunger and its ambition.
Rewarding tax scofflaws who work at the agency that enforces tax law is madness. The lack of accountability leads to other blatant abuses, such as the admission earlier this month that the IRS wasted $11.6 million in unused computer software, $2.2 million on bizarre training videos and $50 million for employee “conferences.”
The irony of the Internal Revenue Service robbing taxpayers serves to highlight what this administration has become. Still, the most shocking example of the depth of government contempt for the American people belongs to Hillary Clinton’s State Department.
Earlier this month, it was revealed the State Department — the same agency that somehow failed to prevent the Benghazi murders of four Americans, including a diplomat, then lied about it, and has never held anyone accountable for the atrocity — has lost $6 billion in taxpayer money. Yes, lost.
The Fiscal Times reports: “The State Department has no idea what happened to $6 billion used to pay its contractors. In a special ‘management alert’ made public Thursday, the State Department’s Inspector General Steve Linick warned ‘significant financial risk and a lack of internal control at the department has led to billions of unaccounted dollars over the last six years.’”
Benghazi. A world in crisis and on the verge of war. The loss of $6 billion. And the woman responsible thinks she deserves to be promoted to the presidency. No wonder the apparatchiks at the IRS think what they’re doing is no big deal.
Editor's note: This op-ed originally appeared on the WashingtonTimes.com.