Internal Revenue Service
Good column by Ezra Klein on the Republican war on the Internal Revenue Service: In the late '90s, the Republican-controlled Senate Finance Committee held a series of dramatic hearings in which individuals sat behind screens and haltingly, tearfully, told stories of IRS persecution. Some of the stories featured genuine misdeeds. Others fell apart upon later examination (Robert McIntyre, the director of Citizens for Tax Justice, remembers one in particular where it turned out the witness was living off his employee's payroll taxes). But the trials worked to demonize the IRS.
Washington—You might imagine that if a terrorist attack killed an American public servant and threatened the lives of 200 people, it would have been big news for weeks and an enduring symbol of the risks taken by those who serve their country. Yet when an American named Joseph Stack flew a plane into an office building in Austin, Texas, in February, killing Vernon Hunter, a 68-year-old Vietnam veteran, the news reports were remarkably muted, and the story quickly disappeared. Hunter worked for the Internal Revenue Service, which was housed in the Austin building, and according to Stack's suic
American Enterprise Institute President Arthur Brooks has a Wall Street Journal op-ed today arguing that it's unfair for the tax system to make rich people pay higher rates than the poor and middle class. This is, of course, a foundational belief of the conservative movement. Like most conservatives making this case, though, Brooks does not rely on the moral suasion of his pro-regressive taxation beliefs.
Numerous Republican worthies, like Paul Ryan, John Ensign, and Dave Camp, have recirculated the claim that the Affordable Care Act will require 16,000 new IRS agents. Factcheck.org dissects the urban legend and describes how it spread.
Republican Pete Hoekstra admits that, by any reasonable definition, the extremist who flew a plane into an IRS building, a cop-killer who believed President Obama wanted to take his guns, and others of the like are "domestic terrorists." Conor Freidersdorf, who is being driven mad by Andrew McCarthy's refusal to acknowledge that not everybody detained as a terrorist is in fact a terrorist, puts a finer point on the importance of this distinction: Imagine that President Obama actually treated the Michigan suspects in this fashion — that he removed them entirely from the United States criminal
WASHINGTON -- Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli seems determined to use an attack on health care reform to bring us back to the 1830s. Cuccinelli, to cheers from the Tea Party crowd, went to court this week to overturn the new law, which he says conflicts with a Virginia statute "protecting its citizens from a government-imposed mandate to buy health insurance." "Normally, such conflicts are decided in favor of the federal government," he said, "but because we believe the federal law is unconstitutional, Virginia's law should prevail." The Republican attorney general's move reveals how
Joseph Stack, who flew his plane into an IRS building, turns out to hold a greivance against... the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Yes, I know -- your first guess for the issue that set him off was going to be SCHIP expansion. But the 1986 tax reform turns out to be something of a magnet for political loons. In 1999, Donald Trump noisily pondering a presidential run, centering on the issue of his opposition to that measure. It turned out to be a flimsy basis for a populist insurgency. I wrote about this forgotten comic episode in a 1999 Diarist.
The Chicago Tribune recently profiled a Naperville, IL couple struggling, like so many others across the country, to make ends meet. She had to stop working as a nursing assistant because of health problems, and his $8.50-an-hour job isn’t enough to pay all their bills. They’ve fallen behind on rent, even after pawning belongings to help catch up.
The big banks are pre-testing their main messages for bonus season, which starts in earnest next week. Their payouts relative to profits will be “record lows,” their people won’t make as much as in 2007 (except for Goldman), and they will pay a higher proportion of the bonus in stock than usual. Behind the scenes, leading executives are still arguing out the details of the optics. As they justify their pay packages, the bankers open up a broader relevant question: How much bonus do they deserve in this situation? After all, bonus time is when you decide who made what kind of relative contrib
Recently, I've spent a great deal of work-related time on the Fox News Channel's video page, and have found myself oddly, embarrassingly drawn to the frank weirdness of The Mike Huckabee Show. Huckabee is rather charmingly poor at hosting a talk show, although his odd physiognomy--his regulation-size head protrudes, turtle-like, from what appears to be David Byrne's big suit from Stop Making Sense--supplies a welcome distraction during slow moments.