Monday, February 09, 2009

Timmy, We Hardly Knew Ye.....

Lots, and I mean LOTS, of IRS employees have been fired or reprimanded for doing 1/100 the wrong things that Tim Geithner freely admits to having done (or failed to do!)

Interestingly, Geithner didn't even have to pay penalties, which CLEARLY would have been the fate of the rest of us.

There are two sets of rules: One set of rules (loose and soft) for those in power, and I mean Dems OR Repubs. And another set (tight and hard, to give bureaucratic psychopaths something to do) for the rest of us, those of us who are just trying to get by.

And the bureaucratic psychopaths will even prey on their own. The people who have suffered most from this "I'm just following orders" thing are IRS employees themselves.....Check the following excerpt, written by the Tax Reporter for the New York Times:

Timothy Geithner is one lucky man. Not because he had Robert Rubin as a mentor and not because he was head of the Federal Reserve Bank in New York when investment and commercial bankers ran wild, but because when he cheated the government on his payroll taxes, he wasn't working for the IRS.

Had Geithner been working at the IRS, here is what he could have expected for being suspected of shorting the government tens of thousands of dollars in payroll taxes: He might have been rousted from bed before dawn in a commotion that terrified his children and embarrassed his wife when it awoke the neighbors. He would have been treated like a scheming criminal and, while not subjected to what the Bush administration euphemistically called "enhanced interrogation techniques," he would have been scared enough to suffer a stroke or heart attack, like some of those grilled by the agents from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

Had he told them that he failed to pay his Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment taxes in full because TurboTax did not alert him to the problem, TIGTA agents almost certainly would have called him a liar and warned him about criminal prosecution.

The TIGTA agents would have thrust in his face the documents that he was given when he worked at the IMF, telling him that while those taxes were not withheld from his pay, his salary was grossed up to cover them. They would have waved his own signed statements acknowledging that he had to pay the levies and had been given step-by-step instructions on how to calculate the amount due.

Any suggestion by Geithner that it was just a mistake, that the law is too complicated, or that the software made him do it would have drawn derisive laughter and worse, based on what IRS clerks whom TIGTA went after have told me and have testified about in proceedings aimed at saving their jobs.

Section 1203 of the Internal Revenue Service Restructuring and Reform Act of 1998 provides that "in general . . . the Commissioner of Internal Revenue shall terminate the employment of any employee of the Internal Revenue Service if there is a final administrative or judicial determination that such employee committed any act or omission," including "willful understatement of Federal tax liability, unless such understatement is due to reasonable cause and not to willful neglect."

The Treasury inspector general has interpreted that law as a license to go after people who made, the record later showed, minor or innocent mistakes, including some mistakes caused by the government.