May 21 2013
What do the IRS and Media Spying Scandals Have in Common?
Speaking only for myself, I wish Republicans would hush up about impeachment and Watergate and start talking about something else: abolishing the IRS. (Gene Healy, one of my favorite columnists, has less of a problem with using the I-word.)
President Obama is a big believer in the force of his own personality. But without the structures of big government there is no way he can carry out his transformation. Without the IRS, ObamaCare is impossible to administer. But abolishing the IRS isn’t just a notion of how to thwart the president. It is something that should have been done already.
The IRS is more powerful than any agency should be in a free republic. The IRS’ harassment of conservative organizations, drawing out the time it took them to get tax exempt status, in some instances causing them to fold, was a way of silencing dissent. This is not how successful democracies work. Cal Thomas writes:
The testimony that came out of the recent House Ways and Means Committee hearing is just a part of what constitutional attorney John W. Whitehead writes about in his new book, "A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State." It sounds alarmist, but reading it should sound an alarm for every American.
The summary on the book jacket says Whitehead "paints a chilling portrait of a nation in the final stages of transformation into a police state." Examples include the growing number of "surveillance cameras, drug-sniffing dogs, SWAT raids, roadside strip searches, blood draws at DUI checkpoints, drones, GPS tracking devices, zero tolerance policies, over-criminalization, and free speech zones."
In his introduction to the book, writer and First Amendment authority Nat Hentoff says: "... I believe we are in a worse state now than ever before in this country. With the surveillance state closing in on us, we are fighting to keep our country free from our own government."
Like most tyrannies, this one is being ushered in with a smile. The public is told it is for our "security" and that it's good for us. With taxation, we are told the government "needs" our money and if we complain they are taking too much and wasting it, we're thought to be "greedy" and "unfair."
Strong words, and unlike Whitehead, quite a few of us have no problem with DUI tests and cameras (think how they helped to find the Boston Marathon bombers).
Nevertheless, the current IRS scandal lays bare a threat to our way of life. Another point worth emphasizing: both the IRS scandal and the press scandal (which gets bigger by the day—here and here) are about the same thing: quashing free speech. Liberty. The IRS is furthermore the enforcer of a tax system that is in desperate need of reform and will soon be running the nation’s health care system—with a little help from the Department of Health and Human Resources.