RS Scandal: A Tea Partier's Open Letter to the IRS

Dear Commissioner,

Do you remember President Nixon? I know it was a long time ago, but we studied him in history class. He resigned the presidency rather than face impeachment by Congress. It didn’t matter that he ended the Vietnam War or opened up relations with China. What mattered was that he abused his power. One of the charges against him pertained to your organization: “…endeavored to obtain from the IRS, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposes not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.”

If using the IRS for political purposes was enough to remove a president from office, why should my generation not be concerned now? Are we supposed to believe it’s different this time because it’s the Tea Party? Are they not the same citizens under the same Constitution as the people, mostly on the left, that were targeted by Nixon? Are we not to worry at the enormous power over our property that you have?

Thomas Jefferson once said, “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” I asked some of my friends and family a very simple question, do you fear the IRS more than the IRS fears you? They roared with laughter at the very idea that the IRS has any fear of us, the people. That left me with a very uneasy feeling. Do you fear us, Mr. Commissioner?

You will soon be hiring thousands of additional agents to implement ObamaCare. Not only will you collect and hold information about our income, but you will know about the health care coverage and the financial resources of every American. Can I really trust you with that information? You will decide who is and isn’t entitled to ObamaCare’s subsidies. If I change jobs, get a raise, or have my hours at work reduced, I will have to report it to you. It sounds downright Orwellian. Can I trust you with that information? How can I be sure?

It’s bad enough that you can keep me from getting a tax exemption for my organization if I say publicly I want to make life better in America, I support the Constitution, or I want to fight for liberty, but what happens if you can triple what I pay for an operation because this subsidy or that coverage, by your determination, no longer applies to me? I’m beginning to think that no one ever envisioned this kind of role for a government agency.

As I look to the future and the future of my peers, I cannot help but feel uneasy. Baby Boomers by the millions will be added to the Social Security and Medicare rolls. There are projections of bankruptcy and insolvency for those programs. Leaving aside that I don’t expect for a minute that those programs will be there when I retire, I have suddenly realized that all of those Boomers are not going to take this lying down. They are going to demand that the payments continue. They are going to demand as they ease into their eighties and nineties, long after every penny they paid into Social Security and Medicare has been returned to them, that the money keep coming. From where shall it come?

I catch a glance of my reflection as I walk down the street pondering that thought and the answer is clear, it has to come from me. The Boomers are not going back to work, they’re done. They will look at us and say, “Stand and Deliver!” If we say we won’t, the IRS will say, “Oh, yes you will.”

How did we let this happen? There was supposed to be Hope and Change. But looking at what the historian Edward Gibbon wrote about Ancient Greece, we can see parallels: “In the end, more than freedom, they wanted security. They wanted a comfortable life, and they lost it all – security, comfort, and freedom. When the Athenians finally wanted not to give to society but for society to give to them, when the freedom they wished for most was freedom from responsibility, then Athens ceased to be free and was never free again."

Mr. Commissioner, you work for me but act like you own me. There is only one way to stop you. Implement a flat tax and most of your reason for being disappears. Poof! Instead of millions of Americans spending billions every year to comply with your code that no one knows, it could be a simple as filling out a post card and dropping it in the mail. So where did you sat that Tea Party group meets?

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Bill O'Connell

Bill O’Connell received a bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College in 1976, his Master of Business Administration from Fordham University in 1979, and a Master of Science in computer science from Pace University in 1987. He runs the popular political blog LibertysLifeline.com, and he's the author of Liberty’s Lifeline: Engaging the Grassroots Movement to Stop the Erosion of American Freedoms (Bridgeway Books, April 2011). A native New Yorker, he and his wife, Julie, have four children and live in Long Island, N.Y. For more information about Liberty’s Lifeline and to find out more about the blog that inspired the book, visit www.libertyslifeline.com.

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