If there’s one government agency that consistently elicits a visceral reaction in the heart and gut of every American, it is the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). And if there’s one agency in the Obama administration under severe fire for partisan actions — I know y’all were going to say Eric Holder’s Department of Justice (DoJ), but – it’s the IRS, the chosen tool to hammer Americans. Or at least the political opposition to the Obama administration.
And as I kept saying, Obamacare authorized the hiring of 16,000 more IRS agents since it’s nothing more than a tax law — 20 new ones to be exact – including the infamous individual mandate. In fact, it had to be ruled a tax by the Supreme Court in order to be deemed constitutional.
The IRS is a political weapon, Obamacare is a barely legal mess, and we’re supposed to believe the IRS can run it?
As the Wall Street Journal’s Kim Strassel points out, “One of the big questions out of the IRS targeting scandal is this: How can an agency that engaged in such political misconduct be trusted to implement Obamacare? This week’s Halbig v. Burwell ruling reminded us of the answer. It can’t. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Halbig that the administration had illegally provided Obamacare subsidies in 36 insurance exchanges run by the federal government. Yet it wasn’t the “administration” as a whole that issued the lawless subsidy gift. It was the administration acting through its new, favorite enforcer: the IRS.”
Of course Obama administration apologists will retort that a separate court in Richmond, Virginia ruled in favor of the administration –gee, I wonder how that came about? Regardless, it leaves a trail of confusion.
Our very simple system of governance — separation of powers, coequal branches of government, and checks and balances — lays out that legislation is passed between the two bodies comprising the legislative branch, House of Representatives and the Senate. Once passed, the legislation goes to the Executive branch for signature, or the Executive branch can veto the legislation and send it back to the legislative branch with comment. However, once signed the legislation is law and must be upheld by the Executive branch – or at least, it’s supposed to be. And when there are questions about law, it is supposed to be adjudicated by the Judicial branch to interpret the new law against the standard of legal precedence and our rule of law, the U.S. Constitution.
However, what has happened with Obamacare is that agencies within the Executive branch are making rules, mandates and creating demands on the American people, none of which has gone through the legislative process. It is rule-making by regulatory fiat. And this is what happened in the case of the Obamacare subsidies, as argued in the Halbig trial.
As Strassel illuminates, “Democrats needed those subsidies. The party had assumed that dangling subsidies before the states would induce them to set up exchanges. When dozens instead refused, the White House was faced with the prospect that citizens in 36 states—two-thirds of the country—would be exposed to the full cost of Obamacare’s overpriced insurance. The White House viewed it as imperative, therefore, that IRS bureaucrats ignore the law’s text and come up with a politically helpful rule. The evidence shows that career officials at the IRS did indeed do as Treasury Department and Health and Human Services Department officials told them. This, despite the fact that the IRS is supposed to be insulated from political meddling.”
So the most threatening government agency, the IRS (because it can go after your personal finances), was politically manipulated for the benefit of the Obama administration, the executive branch. Americans had absolutely no say in this rule being made – as a matter of fact, I’d bet most people don’t have a clue about this case. Of course the administration found a different court in Richmond to rule in its favor saying that the IRS was allowed to do exactly what they did — make up a political rule with language supporting the intentions of the executive branch.
Strassel says, “we know this thanks to a largely overlooked joint investigation and February report by the House Oversight and Ways and Means committees into the history of the IRS subsidy rule. We know that in the late summer of 2010, after Obamacare was signed into law, the IRS assembled a working group—made up of career IRS and Treasury employees—to develop regulations around Obamacare subsidies. An early draft of its rule about subsidies explained that they were for “Exchanges established by the State.” At some point between March 10 and March 15, 2011, the reference to “Exchanges established by the State” disappeared from the draft rule. Emails viewed by congressional investigators nonetheless showed that Treasury and the IRS remained worried they were breaking the law.”
Strassel concludes, “the IRS (famed for nitpicking and prosecuting the tax law), chose to authorize hundreds of billions of illegal subsidies without having performed a smidgen of legal due diligence, and did so at the direction of political taskmasters. The agency’s actions provided aid and comfort to elected Democrats, even as it disenfranchised millions of Americans who voted in their states to reject state-run exchanges. And Treasury knows how ugly this looks, which is why it initially stonewalled Congress in its investigation—at first refusing to give documents to investigators, and redacting large portions of the information.”
What I hope you’ll glean from all of this is the most feared government agency, which can harass, fine, collect, and imprison you, has become the bludgeoning tool of a single political party — and it ain’t the GOP.