by Jim Harris
In Philadelphia, taxpayers in search of help are used to running through endless bureaucratic mazes only to arrive back at square one with the same problem (or worse). We never complain, and the city never apologizes because that’s just how things have always been in Philly.
The feds, however, have engendered considerable controversy of late, not because of mere incompetence but apparently due to their wanton persecution of those taxpayers with right-wing ideologies. They have been making it extremely difficult for politically conservative groups to obtain tax-exempt status as “social welfare” organizations. The whole IRS “scandal” has gotten more press than a wrinkled linen suit. (There are two sides to this story. I am hardly a right-winger, for example, but my own “church” was turned down by the IRS for non-profit status.)
President Obama, who read about the whole affair in the newspaper, said he was outraged by the situation. “You have to be sincere,” he said, “even if you have to fake it.” He subsequently asked for and received the resignation of the acting director of the IRS. (Doesn’t anyone ever get “fired” anymore?) The NEW acting director has admitted that mistakes were made, errors occurred, stuff happened, and some people should have stayed home from work.
He declared that IRS now stands for “I’m Really Sorry,” and he apologized profusely to the American people and to everyone who has ever been hurt by the IRS, including Willie Nelson, Al Capone and every R&B singer since Little Richard. He went on to say that he wants to “regain the confidence of the public and restore trust,” which may prove difficult since those things never existed in the first place.
Tax agents are accused of looking for “red flags” in the names of 501(c)(4) applicants which would alert the agents to the groups’ political slant. Words like “Tea” and “Party,” for example. This resulted in the targeting of individuals like Mister T, the rap artist “Ice T” and several people named Earl Grey.
Another red flag word was “back,” as in “Take back America” or “Turn back time.” This has resulted in problems for several totally innocuous applicants, like the Ferko String Band, whose theme last year was “Bring back those fabulous minstrel days” and the Turn Back the Clock Club of Chester County, who were only seeking tax deductions for the cost of their assault rifles, pipe bombs and Obama effigies.
It is also alleged that the 501(c) application forms contained questions that were overly intrusive, irrelevant and of a partisan nature, such as:
• Do you have multiple personalities? What are their political views?
• Which animal would you rather be, a donkey or an elephant?
• Do you like twangy country music?
• Do you have a nickname like “Rebel” or “Bubba?”
• Do you drive a pickup truck with an NRA bumper sticker and a rocket launcher in the back?
• Do you want to secede from the U.S. and have your own state?
• Do you own a handgun? If so, please return it in the enclosed envelope with a daytime telephone number where we can reach you.
The Republicans are naturally encouraged by this scandal, since they feel it bolsters their “smaller government” agenda. The struggling GOP has been looking into possible solutions to its declining numbers of late, including expanding their older white male base through cloning or by annexing Canada.
John Boehner, the orange-skinned Speaker of the House, said about President Obama’s apology that “he should save the syrup for his pancakes.” He said the victims of the IRS witch hunt were all honest, hard-working Americans. When asked how he knew this to be true, he said that they had all answered “yes” to question #2 on the non-profit status application to the IRS — “Are you honest, hard working Americans?”
For his part, Governor Christie is personally visiting all the mistreated New Jerseyans, accompanied by Prince Harry, who claims to know a thing or two about tea (and parties, too). Christie said that when a Tea Party group applies for non-profit status, “The IRS should cut through the red tape the way a coroner cuts through a chest cavity.”
As for the general public’s view of the whole IRS fiasco, polls show that 50% of Americans don’t care one way or the other about the scandal, or about anything else for that matter, and that they’re tired of being polled. In addition, 50% of Americans believe that the other 50% are idiots (and vice-versa). A surefire recipe for more fun in the years to come.