Sunday, June 2, 2013

Last Call For Government

The brilliant minds of conservative punditry are convinced this weekend that the IRS scandal is so fundamentally huge that America is on the verge of rising up by the tens of millions and demanding an end to Obama, the Democrats, and liberalism itself, leading to a new permanent era of Republican rule and FREEDOM and LIBERTY and stuff.  As such, they are trying to endless top each other about their calls for revolution against the government.

Peggy Noonan calls for an independent counsel because the poor people at the IRS were clearly forced by the terribly evil Obama administration to do...well, terrible evil.

There will be more hearings next week, and fair enough. But down the road an independent counsel is going to be needed because the House does not have all the prosecutorial powers an independent counsel would—the powers to empanel a grand jury, grant immunity to potential witnesses, find evidence of criminal wrongdoing, indict.

Another reason to want an independent counsel: There are obviously many good, fair-minded workers in the IRS, people of sterling character. They deserve to be asked about what they were forced to put up with, what they felt they had to bite their tongues about. 

There may even be a few stories about people who stood up and said: "You know you're targeting Americans because they hold political views you don't like, right? You know that's wrong, right? And I'm not going to do it."

It would be worth an investigation that breaks open the IRS to find that person, and that moment. You have no idea how much better it would make us feel, how inspiring and comforting, too. 

Because witch hunts are feel-good exercises. Mark Steyn at the National Review sees Noonan and raises with his call for the abolition of the IRS, civil resistance to its actions and apparently taxation itself.

So let’s take Obama at his word that he had no idea all this was going on. In that case, he might like to take the lead in calling for the abolition of a corrupt agency and its grotesque tax code, and their replacement by a bureaucracy with more limited powers commensurate with a free society and a simplified tax regime with lower rates and thus fewer bewildering, mercurial “exemptions” that make the citizenry dependent on the caprices of Ms. Lerner and her colleagues. That’s a prize worth fighting for. In the meantime, the next time the IRS call you up with demands for this and demands for that, simply tell them, “I am filing the Lois Lerner defense,” and then say as she did to Congress “I have not done anything wrong. And I will not answer any questions.” Every man his own Lois Lerner!

So much for those poor IRS employees.  They, and the agency, have to go.   But Rich Lowry gets himself on WIN THE MORNING with his call to bring down the entire federal government.

Needless to say, this is not how American government is supposed to work. It reflects the mindset of the Progressives rather than the Founders. “The Constitution was designed,” DeMuth writes, “to make lawmaking cumbersome, representative, and consensual; the regulatory agency was a workaround, designed to make lawmaking efficient, specialized, and purposeful. It was a way to accommodate growing demands for government intervention in the face of the constitutional bias for limited government.”

And it has worked: “It has enabled the federal government of a vast, populous, diverse democracy to partake directly in the everyday affairs of scores of millions of citizens and businesses.” Some of them, like the conservative organizations that applied for 501(c)(4) status and got harassed by the IRS for their temerity, we hear about; most we don’t.

The administrative state is an open invitation to high-handedness. My colleague Ramesh Ponnuru wrote a piece for Bloomberg View on Obama’s lawlessness. Most of the examples have to do with the administration ignoring or distorting the laws via the bureaucracy. Obamacare says that states have to set up exchanges before the subsidies and penalties in the law apply? No matter. The IRS says it will pay out subsidies and impose penalties regardless of whether states set up exchanges.

All that of course has to go, along with the current executive branch's occupants.  We'll have to start over.  And of course that means "with Republicans in charge of everything forever."

This is where the leading lights of conservativsm have brought us:  scorched earth government, where if they can't be in charge, then it has to burn down and be rebuilt until they are.

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