By John Tamny
Aug 9, 2021
It’s often asked if Congress will “end the Fed.” The answer to the previous question is obvious, but not for the reasons readers may think.
Congress will never shutter the Fed is because the central bank is ultimately an outsourced institution of Congress. Does anyone seriously think Congress would cease propping up insolvent banks, regulating banks, and vainly trying to make credit “easy” if the Fed shut its doors? The questions answer themselves. Life without the Fed would be the same as life with it.
Furthermore, Congress needs a whipping boy. So do presidents. Even though the Fed’s economic influence is well overstated either way, politicians need someone to blame when economies shrink. The Fed is forever. Bank on it.
These basic truths are worth remembering when it comes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). To call for “ending the IRS” is to kind of miss the point. More on this in a bit.
For now, we have to accept life as it is. The IRS isn’t going anywhere, and since it isn’t, readers should loudly encourage Reps. Jim Jordan and Darrell Issa in their probe of the IRS. More specifically, they’re looking into how the private tax returns of very rich Americans were leaked to ProPublica, and from there to the public.
What happened was beyond shameful. That it was illegal similarly misses the point. Figure that there are many illegal acts that aren’t shameful.
In this case, certain Americans did their taxes and filed them confident that their filings would remain confidential. The IRS violated the expectation of confidentiality with its leaks. The violations are unacceptable. Few things are more personal than income, and the idea of an entity that at least nominally exists to serve us is leaking our personal information is truly offensive. It quite simply shouldn’t happen. The review of tax documents should be designed so that it cannot happen.
To make sure what shouldn’t happen again doesn’t happen again, changes should be made so that document review is wholly blind. Ideally such a change will be part of the conclusions of the Jordan/Issa probe.
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