Big Government Makes For Big Screwups

Giving an inefficient organization like the IRS more responsibility makes it more likely to screw up, not better able to solve this nation’s problems.

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The leadership failures and bureaucratic dysfunction exposed by the Internal Revenue Service scandal should be a wake up call to anybody who believes bigger government can solve this nation's problems.

How can an "impotent" bureaucracy with "poor management" and the IRS with its "capacity for incompetence and stupidity," as left-leaning commentators David Ignatius and Ruth Marcus both wrote in the Washington Post last week, possibly be trusted to take on the president's ambitious agenda?

The IRS, so overloaded with applications from political entities seeking so-called 501 (c)(4) tax-exempt status after a Supreme Court ruling, decided to make its workload more manageable by targeting tea party submissions for further scrutiny. Employees of the tax collection organization admitted they were uncertain as to what properly defined a 501(c)(4) organization, so they just red-flagged conservative groups as potential abusers of the status. Even after being exposed and conceding to blatant harassment which resulted in processing delays, the American public is still not clear as to what standards the IRS is using to screen tax-exempt applications, or if there are any.

[See a collection of editorial Cartoons on the IRS Scandal.]

If managing tax-exempt applications frustrates the IRS, it's tough to imagine the hardship the agency will have implementing ObamaCare, the largest tax increase in history. The fact that Sarah Hall Ingram, the IRS official in charge of the corrupt tax-exempt unit, is now the director of the IRS's Affordable Care Act office, which is slated to administer ObamaCare, is laughable. Maybe she has learned from the controversy, but that's unlikely, as her successor Joseph Grant bore the brunt of the public fallout. Grant said last week he would retire from the agency despite being appointed as commissioner of the tax-exempt office on May 8.

To think that the IRS is an isolated case - the only government agency with bureaucratic mismanagement and incompetence - would be naive. The State Department has been battling with accused negligence in Benghazi, Libya, where a terror attack killed four Americans, the Justice Department may have overreached in subpoenaing Associated Press records, and recent documents from a review of the Veterans Affairs Department revealed some troops actually died before receiving the care they needed because of bureaucratic backlog. And that's just what has been exposed in the last two months.

[See a collection of editorial Cartoons on Benghazi.]

Yet, the president wants the American public to trust that the more responsibility and oversight the U.S. government has, the more equitable and efficient our society will be. His entire agenda – whether it's creating new agencies like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or building a regulated economy through so-called cap and trade – involves expanding government's already obese size and authority.

If the IRS example teaches us anything, it's that giving an inefficient organization more responsibility makes it more likely to screw up, not better able to solve this nation's problems.

  • Read Susan Milligan: Crowdfunding Zack Braff's Film And Robert Griffin's Gifts Is a Mistake
  • Read Peter Roff: Poll Shows Americans Find Obama's IRS Story Barely Believable
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