The IRS: A Bottomless Bowl of Corruption

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By Clay Olsen | May 20th, 2013

If you have been watching the news lately (depending on the news you are watching/reading), then you probably have seen a few scandals that the federal government has recently been involved in. What are we to make of these instances? Are we to think of them as mere accidents in the government’s noble quest to make life better for its citizens? I would assert that these cases should clearly reveal to us the overreaching monster that our federal government has become.

News has surfaced that the IRS has been focusing its harassment on Conservative groups around the country. The Obama administration wants to assure the American people that, as always, they are “going to get to the bottom of it.” A translation of this statement from D.C. jargon to plain English: We, the bureaucrats, are going to investigate ourselves and replace IRS officials with more bureaucrats. And that is supposed to put the issue to rest.

It turns out that the commissioner of the IRS division in charge of handling tax exempt organizations during the bullying of the Tea Party, Sarah Hall Ingram, is now the director of the IRS division in charge of implementing Obamacare regulations. Are we to expect the same targeting in dealing with the American people’s healthcare? This woman was involved in inappropriate actions for years, and apparently, no one was there to keep her accountable.

Now there is news that a major donor to the Romney campaign was targeted after donating a large sum of money. What country do we live in when a government organization is targeting citizens for their political views and contributions? The donor was never audited before; he was not a man with a questionable record. This man was audited, his business lost customers, and he had to pay $80,000 in lawyer fees. And every week there is news coming out about how this federal government is pushing around and bullying the “little guy” who it so often claims to defend.

President Obama’s initial response when the IRS story broke was that he did not know about it. That seems to be a popular defense for the Obama administration and was used to respond to the Benghazi scandal. If there is no accountability within this government, than perhaps it is too big. The bullying by the IRS has been going on for years and we are expected to accept that no one knew about it. It makes me wonder what other things are being done by the government that we are unaware of.

The growing corruption of the government should not be a huge surprise by those who have studied history. An increase in power without accountability will always lead to more corruption. The Framers understood this and sought to limit the power of the federal government by leaving a significant amount of authority in the hands of the states. The federal government has always tried to increase its power and reach at the expense of local authority. Perhaps it is time to pull back and return power to state and local governments.

Both sides of the political spectrum were for simplifying the tax code in the 2012 campaign. Of course, the proposed path of simplification is different for different parties. This IRS scandal, I think, supports the Conservative’s stance on a flat tax. The proposed tax is simple: a citizen will pay a proportionate amount of the product of thier labor. This would be a great way to roll back the IRS, which would in affect, reduce corruption. This government is long overdue for a significant reduction in power. In order to make sure these outrageous scandals do not happen again, we must decentralize the federal government and empower local authorities.
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Half of the Youth Vote Left Untapped: Potential Game Changer for 2016?

 

Let’s look at the numbers from the election in an attempt to make some sense out of it. In 2012, Romney won Texas with 57.2% of the vote versus Obama’s 41.4%, close to 1.3 million more votes than the President, that is a 15.84% margin. This is not surprising, considering that last time Texas went for a Democratic nominee was in 1976 – Jimmy Carter.  Close to eight million Texans casted a ballot in this election. Republicans have gained a two-percentage lead in the state from 2008.

Now looking at Travis County: 385,081 voted in Travis County this year in the presidential race, 60.1% went for Obama and 36.2% for Romney. There are 635,300 registered voters in Travis County, bringing this year’s countywide turnout to 61.3%.

Back in 2008, the President won Travis County 63.5-34.3. Over the last four years, the President’s advantage eroded more than three percentage points. [Interesting Side Note: My native Harris County in Houston was split down the middle, essentially tied, with the President edging a win with a mere +585 margin. Jefferson County is another close win for the President, 50.4% over 48.8%. Texas is all red except Travis County, Dallas County, Harris County, Bexar County, counties in the Valley, and a few counties in West Texas]

The youth vote (19-29) went to Obama 60-36 in this election. That is a 24-percentage point gap that Republicans need to close in coming years. However, this can be viewed as improvement from the 66-31 ratio in 2008. Nationally, the Obama coalition lost five percentage points in youth vote. This has to be one of the most under reported statistics from this election (all we hear about is that Latinos overwhelmingly voted for Obama). Obviously, the Republican Party can do more to include young voters into its fold.

To provide you with an idea of how important – or rather, how underrated – the youth vote is to this year’s election: according to CIRCLE, “In Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, if Romney had won half the youth vote, or if young people had stayed home all together, he would have won those key battleground states.  A switch of those 80 electoral votes would have also changed the presidency, electing Romney as president.” 

This speaks to the strength of the youth vote in the years to come, particularly in the next presidential election. 23 million young voters turned out to vote in this election, which is only one half of eligible young voters, meaning the other half is left untapped by political organizations. In toss-up, or leaning states, youth turnout was as high as 55-58%. There are 3.7 million youth voters in Texas. That is 23% of the state’s eligible voters. Turnout is under 40%, so more than 2 million young people do not turn out to vote. If 60% of them do turnout and vote Democrats in future elections, Texas might become a blue state. That is how big of a deal young voters are to the future political landscape.

Who are the young voters? Well 1 out of 11 youth voters self identify as LGBTQ, that is more than double the proportion of the electorate as a whole. 1 out of 10 youth voters are Hispanic young men. About half of the youth voters (44%) are Hispanics, Blacks, or LGBTQ, groups that voted overwhelmingly for the President. 90% of youth have family income at or below $50k. The youth vote has gained 17 million new members since 2008. While fewer young voters identified themselves as Democrats this election, almost none moved into the GOP rank – more identified as “independents.”

A particular stab at young Republicans’ failure in messaging this past election: overwhelming proportion of youth (67%) blamed the economy on George W. Bush. Young minority women voted overwhelmingly for the President, with young black females voting 98% for the President. Not all youth groups supported the President though; young white males and young white females supported GOP by a slim margin. Young females have a slight better turnout than young males. Mobilizing young males to go to the polls may help Republicans in the future. Also, the GOP needs to do more to explain the role of government to non-whites. There is a 20-point gap between non-White young males and white young males on their view of the role of government. 66% of youth with college experienced turned out to vote, versus 35% of youth without college experience. GOP needs to do a better job reaching out to youth without college experience. That requires a new way of thinking about social media outreach and campaigning beyond mere college campuses, as college aged (18-24) young voters make up only about one-fourth of the youth vote.

Sources: CIRCLE, Travis County Clerk, Politico Election Results, Dave Leip’s Atlas Election Results