IRS bonus scandal demonstrates that it's time for the GOP to wake up and run against the IRS

The partisan bureaucrats at the IRS who were ready and willing to harass conservative groups are just the tip of the iceberg at a corrupt and irresponsible agency that just happens to be the most unpopular and feared arm of the federal government. So self-serving is the agency that it actually paid bonuses – many bonuses – to employees who were delinquent in their own taxes. Gail Sullivan of the Washington Post reports:

report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration shows that between Oct. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012, the IRS paid $2.8 million in bonuses to employees cited in the past year for such things as drug use, making violent threats, fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits, misusing government credit cards and — get this — failing to pay their taxes.

The report said more than 1,100 employees who failed to pay their taxes received discretionary awards of more than $1 million in cash bonuses and more than 10,000 hours in extra paid vacation.

At least five employees received performance awards after being disciplined for intentionally under-reporting their tax liabilities for multiples years, paying taxes late and under-reporting income.

This is beyond outrageous; it is the stuff of fatal institutional rot. Such practices encourage misbehavior, and make fools out of people who actually do work hard and keep their noses clean. How bad do you have to be before suffering any problems?

You have to do something really bad before the IRS will take conduct into account, bad enough to be suspended for 14 days or more. Even then, conduct is only deemed relevant to awards of permanent pay increases, not for bonuses or extra vacation time.

Given the standard of conduct demanded of the rest of us by the IRS with the presumption of guilt on our shoulders, this is completely unacceptable.

The GOP has a golden opportunity to launch a campaign to abolish the IRS and substitute a simpler tax system based on a VAT or sales tax, taxing consumption.

The partisan bureaucrats at the IRS who were ready and willing to harass conservative groups are just the tip of the iceberg at a corrupt and irresponsible agency that just happens to be the most unpopular and feared arm of the federal government. So self-serving is the agency that it actually paid bonuses – many bonuses – to employees who were delinquent in their own taxes. Gail Sullivan of the Washington Post reports:

report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration shows that between Oct. 1, 2010, and Dec. 31, 2012, the IRS paid $2.8 million in bonuses to employees cited in the past year for such things as drug use, making violent threats, fraudulently claiming unemployment benefits, misusing government credit cards and — get this — failing to pay their taxes.

The report said more than 1,100 employees who failed to pay their taxes received discretionary awards of more than $1 million in cash bonuses and more than 10,000 hours in extra paid vacation.

At least five employees received performance awards after being disciplined for intentionally under-reporting their tax liabilities for multiples years, paying taxes late and under-reporting income.

This is beyond outrageous; it is the stuff of fatal institutional rot. Such practices encourage misbehavior, and make fools out of people who actually do work hard and keep their noses clean. How bad do you have to be before suffering any problems?

You have to do something really bad before the IRS will take conduct into account, bad enough to be suspended for 14 days or more. Even then, conduct is only deemed relevant to awards of permanent pay increases, not for bonuses or extra vacation time.

Given the standard of conduct demanded of the rest of us by the IRS with the presumption of guilt on our shoulders, this is completely unacceptable.

The GOP has a golden opportunity to launch a campaign to abolish the IRS and substitute a simpler tax system based on a VAT or sales tax, taxing consumption.

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