In our opinion: Finding the root of the IRS corruption


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  • Turtles Run Missouri City, TX
    June 11, 2013 12:14 p.m.

    People seem to be missing the real issue with the IRS scandal. They rather grind political axes and admit the truth of the problem.

    Both liberal and conservative groups were targeted for additional scrutiny. For all the whining on the right not one conservative group has been denied the tax exempt status requested. The only group denied was a liberal group called Emerging America.

    The real issue here is that these groups applied for 501(c)4 or 501(c)3 tax exempt status. These two designations are for charitable, education, and social welfare groups and are not allowed to engage in political activity.

    Can anyone here truly state that Tea Party groups are not political in nature or that liberal groups are not political?

    The benefit of these tax exempt designations is that these groups will no longer be required to file donor lists and financials records. Dark money groups would be able to exploit this tax status to funnel large sums of money into elections without any oversight.

    The scandal is not that these groups had to answer additional questions but why did these groups get approved in the first place.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    June 10, 2013 6:30 a.m.

    re. Ultra Bob. The trouble with a flat income tax is that people will still cheat by working for money that is not declared. It happens all the time now. When was the last time a prostitute paid income taxes for her "services?"

    re."If we were to switch to a pure sales tax based taxation system then it would make taxes even across the board and the end result is a tax cut for the rich and a tax increase for the poor and middle class." Not necessarily. The rich will purchase more so they will pay more in taxes. Also, a value added or sales tax can target certain kinds of products. Sales taxes already do: gas, luxury items, etc. Whatever form of taxation, it won't be perfect but the present system is about as imperfect as it can be.

  • David Centerville, UT
    June 8, 2013 6:18 p.m.

    I agree with Mike here.

    Pragmatist, if you don't trust inspectors in Georgia, don't buy their peaches. Under the vision presented by Mike Richards, it seems that the principles of competition would ensure high standards of produce, & so many other examples.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    June 8, 2013 12:42 a.m.


    Who cares who appointed the person. Both the Democrats and Republicans are corrupt, so it doesn't matter who started this mess. It only matters that our rights are being trampled and the Constitution is being ripped to shreds. The fact is, Obama knew it was happening, his hollow protestations aside, and he more than likely put it in motion with a few oblique "suggestions" so that he had plausible deniability.

    This is supposed to be a government for the people and by the people, not for a few people by a few people.

    Paraphrased from a book I once read:

    A republic is true freedom.
    A democracy is oppression.
    A peoples republic is a dictatorship.
    A democratic peoples republic is an oppressive dictatorship.

    We are headed for a democratic peoples republic.

  • Wastintime Los Angeles, CA
    June 7, 2013 10:11 p.m.

    Re:Mickey Kovars

    The head of the IRS when this all began was a Bush appointee. Most people who work for the IRS are career professionals, working under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Hardly the making for a giant conspiracy.

    But go ahead, have fun with the conspiracy theories.

  • Mainly Me Werribee, 00
    June 7, 2013 9:56 p.m.

    How about if we abolish the IRS and institute a graduated national sales tax? If you have two houses, tax the second one. If you just have to get luxury items, pay a higher tax. Don't tax basic necessity items like non-luxury clothes, cars, food, rent/mortgage, medical. This way the rich or those who think they need luxury items pay a higher tax and the poor pay a smaller tax.

    Then, make the government live within its means.

  • Mickey Kovars Tampa, FL
    June 7, 2013 9:10 p.m.

    The IRS problem begins and ends with Obama, who regards his political opponents as enemies deserving of contempt and destruction. He didn't have to tell the IRS to give conservatives a hard time -- they got the message. I suspect the effort was coordinated with Obama's campaign officials -- Axelrod, Cutter, etc. -- but of course I can't prove that. While the Republicans are routinely blamed for gridlock and a no-compromise attitude, it is Obama more than anyone who has created the impasse.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 7, 2013 5:37 p.m.

    The retail sales tax is a terrible way to finance government.

    It is not equally applied to products. It is applied to the retail price paid for the product. Retail prices can vary greatly in the same town. The alternative to allowing them to vary is called price fixing.

    It is not applied to all consumption. Not to business, not to charity, not to used products, not to most services, not to investments, not to speculation, not to capital gains, not to inheritances, not to foreign products.

    Collecting the tax adds cost to the product and not all the tax collected is remitted to the government.

    Unscrupulous people use sales tax revenue to bribe government employees by promises of relocation of the business or residence.

    There are probably even more and better reasons to not use Sales Tax for government support.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2013 5:18 p.m.

    The Democrats are in a bunker mentality as they say, Well, other administrations have been corrupt (too). That is a tacit admission that this administration is no better that Nixon's or any other with a sleaze factor. As an independent, it is not why I voted for Change We Can Believe In. Mr. Obama's audacity of hope has become a hope of audacity.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    June 7, 2013 5:18 p.m.


    When one considers all the taxes paid-sales, state, income,excise, payroll etc,.--the poor/middle class pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than do the top 1%. You are correct if we changed to a pure sales tax, flat tax etc. in lieu of income tax, then taxes would be even more regressive--hitting the poor/middle class while lowering taxes for the wealthy.

    btw There are many countries which have VAT or GST taxes (similar to a sales tax) in addition to income taxes, not instead of an income tax. A flat rate sales type tax would not bring in enough revenue to fund the programs most Americans want.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 7, 2013 3:37 p.m.

    This is corporate America where a few hundred giant international corporations own and control the wealth, politics and destiny of America and most of the rest of the world. They are super people who rule by their articles of incorporation, bylaws and the almighty dollar. The constitution is a security blanket for the little people, but it doesn't keep them very warm because it is out dated and badly worn, to weak to with stand the corporate winds.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2013 3:27 p.m.

    "Would replacing the income tax with a national sales tax or a value added tax be a good idea? What are the drawbacks to a value added tax."

    For all the whining people like me do about taxes on the rich being too low the rich do pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes than the poor and middle class do (there are exceptions but on average this is the case). If we were to switch to a pure sales tax based taxation system then it would make taxes even across the board and the end result is a tax cut for the rich and a tax increase for the poor and middle class.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 7, 2013 1:55 p.m.

    JSB, Sugar City

    Any system of taxation will be corrupted by politicians representing the rich and powerful who have the ability to influence those politicians.

    The solution is to take the taxation issue out of politics. That would be a flat income tax with no exceptions and no deductions, created by an amendment to the Constitution with the stipulation that it could only be amended or replaced by a popular vote of the American people.

    Mike Richards.

    The difference between government by national government and our state government is the people who are represented. State governments are owned and operated by business interests, the war between the states and the national is because the national tends to protect the general public.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 7, 2013 1:26 p.m.

    In all this talk about scandals is there any indication that someone actually broke a law and should be prosecuted? It seems like everything I hear and see about the government scandals is filled with words and phrases like may have, appears like, could be, etc.

    We are supposed to be a nation of laws, not innuendo, not theoretical feeling and suppositions of political enemies.

    I thought Congress was supposed to be the law making part of government and not the law enforcement part of government. Is there somewhere in the Constitution where Congress is supposed to nag the president.

    I wish the laws of truth and honesty applied to the media and political people in the same degree as in a court.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    June 7, 2013 12:30 p.m.

    As Mountanman indicated, the root of corruption at the IRS is Barack Hussein Obama. What do you expect from a Chicago politician?

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    June 7, 2013 11:47 a.m.

    Mike, well we disagree on what the constitution allows as do most Americans and the SCOTUS, however the point still is yes the States do have inspectors of all kinds but the minimum standards for food, drugs, or air are standards set by the Federal Government. Some and I would guess most states also have state specific regulations but peaches grown in Alabama have to meet the same minimum standards as peaches grown in Georgia, or California, and no I don't trust each state to have it's own quality standards.

    Local control sounds appealing until I have to rely on the control of an area over which I have no influence. It might have worked when everyone grew their own food, but I want to know that everything I consume meets minimum standards regardless of where it originates.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 7, 2013 11:33 a.m.

    I agree. The States can do almost everything the Federal Government has taken over. The States can govern themselves for the most part. They just can't regulate interstate relations/travel/commerce, national military, and nation-wide stuff like that. But if it's an intrastate issue... they can govern it.

    As for Government employees not having a vote (under the pretense that it's a conflict of interest)... bogus. They are citizens and ALL citizens get a vote (conflict or not). If we were going to disqualify all people who benefit from the government from voting... not one citizen would be able to vote.

    But we should never turn a blind eye to our Government. We must remain vigilant and watchful over our government and not act blind because OUR party is in power. Because the laws passed now can and will be used by any future possibly less-good person.

    We need to keep using our right to vote to keep the government in check. The answer to everything is VOTE, VOTE, VOTE. If you DON'T like what the current administration is doing... vote them out next chance you get. Never quit watching them.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 7, 2013 11:05 a.m.


    The State already has inspectors. A brother-in-law, who just retired, worked as an inspector. He and all in that office worked for the State, not for the Federal Government.

    When we pay taxes, why not have those taxes spent for workers in Utah, instead of sending that money to Washington? Why not pay people who live among us to do those things that WE want them to do, not the things that some office in Washington decides that they want us to have?

    There is a reason that Article 1, Section 8 enumerated the duties of the Federal Government that Congress could tax us for. That is a very short list. ALL other duties are to be left to the State and to the people.

    It's right there in black and white for every citizen to see. It is not hidden in some vault accessible only to the government.

    No citizen, who respects the Constitution, would ever ask the Federal Government to do anything outside the authorized duties listed in the Constitution. Doing that would show a great disrespect for the Constitution.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    June 7, 2013 10:26 a.m.

    "For those people who insist that we need inspectors, there is no reason that the State cannot inspect food and water. It's not that difficult. Washington does not have a lock on the protocols and procedures that inspectors use." That wasn't the question Mike. If every state had a bureaucracy to govern the quality of food would you have fewer bureaucrats in total? Then secondly would you have better quality food? A large federal bureaucracy may be hard to control but fifty independent bureaucracies would be impossible. Now you would have to have a bureaucracy to control your own production and a bureaucracy to control the food coming in from other states..times fifity. California doesn't allow uninspected food to come into their state because they don't trust the other states, and neither do I trust 50 states to make up their own rules.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    June 7, 2013 10:00 a.m.

    "Government workers should not be allowed to vote as it is a conflict of interest. Same for lawyers."

    Let me guess. Just another Freedom Loving, Constitution supporting patriot.

    Those who work for the government cant vote (has to include the military) because it is a conflict of interest, while our congress can accept hundreds of $$millions$$ in lobbying and campaign donations from corporations but that is NOT a conflict of interest.

    Pretty selective logic, dont you think?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 7, 2013 9:53 a.m.

    Many people have traded freedom for comfort and convenience. That want to "feel good", thinking that the federal government is protecting them from abuse by those evil corporations that might sell them tainted food. They trade their freedom to use their responsibility as citizens to care for themselves and for their families for "feeling good".

    For those people who insist that we need inspectors, there is no reason that the State cannot inspect food and water. It's not that difficult. Washington does not have a lock on the protocols and procedures that inspectors use.

    Have you tried to cross the border into California? Were you able to take any produce into that State? They have laws prohibiting uninspected produce from entering California. They do not rely on the Federal Government.

    We do not have federal police giving us traffic tickets.

    Regulation of Interstate Commerce does not require Federal inspectors. It simply requires laws to keep States from imposing import fees from other States.

    The Federal Government should be a model of simplicity and efficiency. It is the opposite. It has grown into a monstrosity that no one can control.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    June 7, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    This government seems 10 times more corrupt than under Bush. Until the public unions are cancelled we will have this problem. Government workers should not be allowed to vote as it is a conflict of interest. Same for lawyers.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    June 7, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    Luckily it has taken over 200 years for our federal government to become corrupt.

    Up until Obama, there was never abuse of power, corruption or scandals.

    I agree the IRS thing is very troubling. The AP issue to a lesser extent but still troubling and Benghazi, while highlighting the many problems that existed, is not a scandal.

    Unfortunately, partisans only carp about the other sides "scandals" while giving their side a pass.

    I want to get to the bottom of these and find the truth. Let blame and consequences fall where they may. Personally, I don't care if that is Obama or not. But, I want the truth.

    Many would not be satisfied if the truth did not implicate Obama.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    June 7, 2013 9:08 a.m.

    Here's a little connection for you MOHOCAT. Bloated government is nothing more than a logical response to a bloated population. Population of US has gone up nearly 130% since WWII. Population of US has gone up nearly 40% since 1980. You all in this culture keep having kids like there are no consequences and then when there are you scream foul..evil.

    Hemlock. The head of the IRS visited the White House 11 times in 4 years of Obamas first administration. He was cleared to visit 157 times only made it 11. BTW the head of the IRS visited Bush 18 times in 4 years. Just keep searching. Like I said before this is as close to the White House as you're going to get.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    June 7, 2013 8:58 a.m.


    Ignoring the elephant in the living room will not make it go away. Would Douglas Shulman, a Democrat that Bush appointed in an ill advised attempt at bipartisanship, visiting the Obama WH 153 times raise any questions? Does the IRS Cincinnati offices statement that the directive to inappropriately target conservatives came from Washington trouble you? Is giving information to the George Soros financed Propublica your idea of proper IRS function? The left's criteria seems to be, do all the investigating you want as long as it does not implicate Obama.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    June 7, 2013 8:54 a.m.

    The root of the problem at the IRS is... "Human Nature".

    To understand government, you have to understand human nature. Some people bestow SUPER-human traits to those in Government. That's why they are constantly shocked when stuff like this happens. Others understand that people in government are no different than you and I. That they have the same motivations, the same weaknesses, the same petty grudges, the same tendency to let loyalty to their group/party or their idols in government overshadow their own innate morality and propriety... and lower themselves to abusing the power being in government gives them... and try to side_track groups protesting the government (ie Tea_Party), and intimidate and put a chill over the people who may investigate the government (used to be those in the media), and gather information on the population that can be used for good, but could also be used by a future unscrupulous and power_hungry administration to target specific people to control the population.

    That's why the founding fathers were so right on and so timeless. Huge leaps in understanding government and human nature were coming out about the time America was formed.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    June 7, 2013 8:38 a.m.

    @ Joe Blow. This much I know:
    #1: Our federal government has become corrupt and has forgotten its place as we have suffered one scandal and abuse of government power after another with denial, irresponsibility and feigned ignorance emanating from the White House.
    #2: Leaders always define and guide the culture of any organization, good or bad.
    #3: Barrack Obama is the leader of our government.

  • Haiku Pleasant Grove, UT
    June 7, 2013 8:36 a.m.

    What a bright idea!
    An abusive agency
    Enforcing health care.

  • mohokat Ogden, UT
    June 7, 2013 8:19 a.m.

    This Government is the one the Founding Fathers warned us about. If we as a Country do not demand real change by shrinking this bloated animal we have what we deserve. Do you trust this Government?

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    June 7, 2013 7:51 a.m.


    I have to believe that you have been an ardent Ron Paul supporter. The Libertarian movement and Ron Paul specifically have been much bigger supporters of the constitution than either the R or D.

    However, keep in mind that with that comes lots of things that you probably don't want or like.


    "The root of IRS corruption (and all the other government scandals) is in the White House. "

    You may well be right, but it should not be stated as fact. Personally, I want the truth and accountability. Regardless of where that lies.

    Maybe it is in the White House and maybe not. You do not know that.

    Do you really want the truth, or do you just want partisan investigations that are unacceptable unless the conclusion implicates Obama?

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    June 7, 2013 7:41 a.m.

    Mike, if each state were responsible for overseeing the quality of the food it produced do you believe that there would be in total fewer bureaucrats and less corruption, and at the same better quality food?

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    June 7, 2013 7:07 a.m.

    The I.R.S. is a problem, but the problem is not the I.R.S. The problem is government. Read the Constitution. Read it carefully. Read it without preconceptions of what you think the government should do. Read it in an effort to find out what authority the government was given by the people. Read it with a desire to fix the problem. If you do that, you'll find that most of the programs currently handled by the federal government are not authorized. You'll find that most of those programs should have been left to the States or to the people.

    If we demand that the federal government strip itself of all self-imposed duties and if we demand that the federal government limit itself to the duties that we authorized it to have, then we will have a small federal government that is easy to oversee and easy to control.

    The problem is that we, the people, are too lazy to do our duty as citizens. We are too lazy to find and elect Representatives, Senators, and Presidents who actually believe in the Constitution.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    June 7, 2013 6:58 a.m.

    The root of IRS corruption (and all the other government scandals) is in the White House. Arrogance, narcissism, hubris and perceived unaccountability always filters down from the top or visa versa.

  • JoeBlow Far East USA, SC
    June 7, 2013 5:45 a.m.

    "only 27 percent of Americans would rate the job being done by the IRS as "excellent" or "good." "

    Yes, the IRS is not popular with Americans. Big surprise there. Now, if only we could get Congress approval ratings to those levels.

    There is waste, fraud and abuse (WFA) at all levels of government. Both sides tout that they can save the taxpayers BILLIONS by just combating WFA.

    Yet, they never do. These guys are so focused on the things that the disagree on that they never even attempt to do things that EVERYONE agrees need to be done.

  • JSB Sugar City, ID
    June 7, 2013 12:42 a.m.

    Would replacing the income tax with a national sales tax or a value added tax be a good idea? What are the drawbacks to a value added tax. It seems to me that it would be nowhere as complicated as the current income tax and would be fair.