Bureaucrats Behaving Badly

Of course it’s more than just your appointed, unaccountable time-servers we’re talking about here. The fish rots from the head, as they say:

IRS senior managers like acting Commissioner Steven Miller insist that the illicit behavior was the work of a handful of rogue employees. The trouble is that even though we are starting to learn who those employees are and who supervised them, we still don’t know what orders they were acting on, why no one stopped them and why they thought it was appropriate to selectively harass private citizens on the basis of their using such dangerous labels as “Tea Party,” “liberty” and “patriot.”

These IRS employees believed that they had implicit consent to ideologically profile nonprofit advocacy groups. Where did that come from? Lois Lerner—the IRS official who headed the division overseeing tax-exempt groups and who is now on administrative leave—certainly didn’t elucidate matters when she exercised her right against self-incrimination rather than testify before Congress on May 22.

Emphasis mine. She pulled a neat trick by first asserting her innocence, as just about any lawyer will tell you pleading the 5th doesn’t work that way. You either shut up, or you don’t. It’ll be fun to watch what happens when they haul her back in front of that committee – assuming the Republicans have the stones to do so. They’ve been so cowed by years of hectoring from the Left that they’ve become incapable of standing up for the principles they espouse, much less for the Constitution itself. It’s telling that when men like Ted Cruz or Rand Paul make solid Constitutional arguments about the prescribed role of government, they’re painted as lunatics. Because raaacism!

Ace of Spades has a pretty good read on this, as usual:

With all of these scandals (and I do include the Secret Service and military scandals), one has to wonder how much of our Congressional and current Administration behavior is to blame. Why follow the rules, the law, when the Senate blows off completing a budget for years? A congressman tweets his weiner and now runs for Mayor. IRS agents and management flagrantly violate the law but get put on paid leave or allowed to retire with full benefits. Susan Rice lies to the country on national TV and gets promoted to be the President’s National Security Advisor. Bad behavior will continue when no punishments are handed out.

It’ll take a lot more than just punishment of some bad actors, even if they’re agency heads. This is the end product of a bloated system that was primed to erupt in our faces – all it needed was a crowd at the top that made the functionaries feel like they had free reign to finally act on their fascist impulses (which were projected onto conservatives instead). It’s past time to start simplifying the tax and regulatory regime, and defund a few agencies accordingly.

Maybe it was necessary for us to reach this state in order to piss off enough people to ensure something finally changes. Want to see real economic growth and a flood of new tax revenue? 17% flat tax on all income above, say, $45,000. No cut-outs, loopholes, or deductions except that first 45 grand. That protects lower- and middle-income families from getting hit (the former group pays none at all, the latter loses their mortage interest deduction but may actually gain in reduced taxable income). The 1040 would be reduced to the size of a postcard, and the potential for misbehavior would shrink accordingly.

Hey, a guy can dream.

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