Monday, May 13, 2013

1173 The Enemies List


1173  The Enemies List

The term was popularized when Nixon kept track of his major foes, probably on one of those goofy legal pads he was always shuffling.  Now we have a new version from the Internal Revenue Service.  The IRS  was (apparently and allegedly) targeting people and organizations on a list of likely tax pirates.  Scary, even if they picked the right enlistees.  Plus, when they send you those letters (the civilian equivalent of “Greetings from your Uncle Sam,”) you get palpitations and probably should.

The IRS admits it targeted and scrutinized the tea party and “patriot” groups in what’s seen -- probably properly -- as an Obama administration targeting of its own “enemies list.”

The fact is that many “nonprofits” and religious and other do-gooder and do-badder organizations, hospitals, clinics, unions, clam chowder and marching societies, country clubs and charities tend to bend the already anti-person, pro-business, pro-nonprofit provisions of the encyclopedic and mysterious tax code.  The agency should give all of them a good going over.

Here’s one good example:  Churches may but don’t have to contribute to unemployment insurance.  So when a church worker gets fired, he or she is plum out of luck.  Separation of church and state cuts both ways.

How about a good hard look at the campaign committees, the political parties, the PACs.  You want revenue increases without adding a ground level tax?  Start an SEC for nonprofits.  Lefties, righties, hospitals, summer theaters, service clubs.  Not that they should all pay like they were GE without the loopholes.  But something.  

Nonprofit doesn’t mean non profit anymore.  Not when they can claim “surplus revenues.”  If it quacks like a duck... etc.

Back to Nixon and Obama:  Nixon denied there was a formal “enemies list.”  But there was one.  Now, the AP reports the IRS knew two years ago that it was looking closely at the right wingnuts.

That’s not exactly consistent with the public apology which included the usual nonsense about low level and/or rogue employees and that the honcho in charge of that stuff issued a cease and desist order that evidently never got down to those rogues and low level employees.

While we’re at it and on the subject of low level employees, we’re happy to learn that Bloomberg News has restricted the computer rights of low level big mouths who used their access to subscribers’ personal data to develop “scoops.”  At twenty grand a year each, the subscribers have a right to minimized snooping.

No one has gotten fired at the IRS and no one has gotten fired at Bloomberg.  Are you feeling more confident about either organization at the moment?

(Disclaimer: Your correspondent worked for Bloomberg News for seven years and never saw a molecule of customer data or even thought that it might have been possible.  Who had time for those games in those days? We were too busy doing the news.)

Shrapnel:

--OJ Simpson goes back to court today to claim he had inadequate representation when he was convicted in that push-in non-robbery in Las Vegas.  They gave him 9-to-33 years and deny it was to even the score after that imbecilic not guilty verdict in the Los Angeles murders.  If it had been you in Vegas, you’d have drawn 90 days and restitution for the busted hotel room door.

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com
© WJR 2013

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