Earlier this week, President Obama did an interview with Jon Stewart. Jon Stewart pointed to a number of government agencies that have had various scandals under his watch — including the IRS, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Office of Personal Management — and inquired as to why his Administration has been plagued with so many problems.
As the Washington Times reported, “Mr. Obama said Congress ‘passed a crummy law’ that provided vague guidance to the people who worked at the IRS. And he said that employees implemented the law ‘poorly and stupidly.’
The president went on to say that the ‘real scandal around the IRS is that they have been so poorly funded that they cannot go after these folks who are deliberately avoiding tax payments.'”
Congress cut funding this past year as a response to the targeting scandal. The IRS’s “internal auditor concluded that the agency did, in fact, target conservative and tea party groups for intrusive scrutiny”; Obama’s Department of Justice has not finished its own investigation.
The allegation that the IRS is underfunded is absolutely ridiculous; what’s worse is that Obama has repeated tried to blame the funding cut this past year as the reason for reduced customer service. However, their customer service had already been worsening over the past year and was orchestrated by the IRS itself.
A recent House Ways and Means report showed that, “while congressional funding for the IRS remained flat from 2014 to 2015, the IRS diverted $134 million away from customer service to other activities. In addition to the $11 billion appropriated by Congress, the IRS takes in more than $400 million in user fees and may allocate that money as it sees fit. In 2014, the IRS allocated $183 million in user fees to its customer service budget, but allocated just $49 million in 2015–a 76 percent cut.”
Just as Obama dared to close national parks and monuments and cut off treatment for cancer kids during the government shutdown, in order to inflict pain on ordinary citizens, the IRS decided follow the same tactic and abrogate its basic responsibility to help taxpayers with compliance. Reducing the ability to provide customer service is particularly shameless — and using it as a red herring to try to scoop up more funding to Congress is even more repugnant. Then to also blame funding on the reason why Congress wrote a “vague” law and therefore the IRS employees were helpless in implementing it, well, that is the worst excuse of all.
It just goes to show the Obama is still willing to deflect any blame he can for anything that reflects poorly on his abominable Administration and lack of leadership.