Who was Lois Lerner? She was at the center of the last big scandal at the Internal Revenue Service. It occurred during the Obama years. Ms. Lerner was head of the exempt organizations division of the IRS. She learned that groups with Tea Party, Patriot, or 9/12 sentiments were being targeted for extra IRS scrutiny and she defended that scrutiny.
Then the scandal broke amid political scorched heat from conservatives whose tax exempt status was legal. And Ms. Lerner and the IRS investigated and said that the special scrutiny of conservatives was inappropriate, but Ms. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right in testimony on the Hill and refused to resign.
Ms. Lerner was, in any event, finally placed on administrative leave — kind of living on the lam, one step ahead of the law. Once she retired, she was still eligible for her $100,000 pension. It was found out that thousands of emails were missing related to the scandal, but again, Ms. Lerner pleaded the Fifth. The House voted to hold her in contempt.
The IRS promised to turn over Ms. Lerner’s emails to the House Ways and Means Committee, but, oops, the IRS later told the committee — guess what? — they seem to have lost the Lerner emails. Oh my gosh. The, later on, IRS employees “mistakenly” erased computer backup tapes after they discovered the missing emails and their link to the Tea Party.
Perhaps 24,000 emails were lost because backup tapes were erased. It’s a pity because surely this whole email, tape-eraser, Fifth Amendment, conservative scrutiny, and congressional obstruction by the IRS would have made a fabulous movie. I’m still thinking about who should play Lois Lerner.
It turns out that Ms. Lerner herself had multiple email accounts under surnames. One of them was called “Lois Home” and another one was “Toby Miles.” I googled Toby Miles, and it turns out it’s her dog’s name. Now this abuse of power scandal, which is a truly serious breach of trust to Americans.
I’m referring to the leak to Propublica of the tax returns of wealthy Americns. Tax records are highly confidential, and the Propublica Website that just happened to get its hands on the tax records of a number of rich Americans and just happened to put this out publicly on the eve of a left-wing tax-the-rich campaign just strikes me as more than coincidental.
As the Wall Street Journal editorial put it: It turns out that billionaires are very good at reducing their taxable income. Who knew? Quelle surprise? What a shock! My pal Grover Norquist says “some people inside the IRS broke the law and stole private returns and gave them to a left-wing group to selectively use for political goals. And now, President Biden and the Democrats want to reward this effort with $80 billion in larger budgets and 87,000 more IRS agents.”
Good for Grover. It shows how dumb this latest IRS expansion attempt really is. And if we want more successful Americans to pay more in tax revenues, the way to do it is to lower their marginal tax rates and broaden the base of deductions and credits. Remember, though, that the rich are different than you and me. They finance practically all government at the federal, state and local level.
Most disturbing is the silence emanating from Treasury Secretary Yellen, who is in charge of the IRS. There has got to be an independent investigation of these IRS leaks, and it should be announced and begun immediately. Not a day more would be wasted in restoring the trust of the American taxpayers.
Ms. Yellen has been out and about persuading our European so-called friends to help Mr. Biden raise taxes on American businesses and investors and hence on the workforce. Only Americans should decide tax policy for America and its businesses and its workforces.
With all due respect, not the French, not the Germans, not the British, not the G-20, not the OECD, not the International Monetary Fund, not the World bank and not the United Nations. Not the U.N. Human Rights Commission, and not the International Court of Arbitration. The decider is and can ever only be the Americans.
And if our new administration would listen to Americans, they would surely hear from them that we cannot tax our way into prosperity.
And one final thought. The biggest beneficiary of the Biden business tax assault is going to be China, because they won’t play these silly Green Workers’ Paradise games. China’s tax rates are lower than ours under Mr. Biden’s proposed policies. Is that what we really want?
From Mr. Kudlow’s broadcast on Fox News.