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Deunionize the IRS

June 25th, 2014 - 5:55 am

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Here’s a headline from Forbes that caught my eye: 

IRS Employees Union Is ‘Very Concerned’ About Being Required To Enroll In Obamacare’s Health Insurance Exchange

You can’t blame ’em. Workers in the private sector are also “very concerned” about getting dumped into Obamacare’s subsidized insurance exchanges as, one by one, employers are forced to give up providing health insurance for their employees.

It’s possible that, like me, you are entertaining an un-Christian feeling of Schadenfreude about this happening to a large, widely loathed, and deeply politicized government agency.

But thing thing that should really arrest your attention about this headline, and the story it introduces, is contained in the first three words: “IRS Employees Union.”

The government’s tax collecting agency is unionized?  Think about that for a moment.

The union in question is the National Treasury Employees Union. According to the web site of the NTEU, the mission of the union is “to organize federal employees to work together to ensure that every federal employee is treated with dignity and respect.” That’s a tall order, in part because there are so very many federal employees. The NTEU’s web site includes a nifty interactive graphic that shows you just how many there are in each state: 279,622 in Texas, for example, 350,544 in California, 165,943 in New York, etc., etc. There are, in short, millions of them.

And what political party do you suppose they support? In the 2012 election cycle, 94% of its PAC contributions went to Democrats, 4% to Republicans. That’s only one year, of course. How about 2010? That year 98% of its contributions went to Democrats, 2% went to Republicans. 2008 was a bit more balanced: that year only 96% went to Democrats. As Andrew Stiles pointed out at National Review, the NTEU is a “powerful, deeply partisan union whose boss has publicly disparaged the Tea Party and criticized the Republican party for having ties to it.”

As the example of Lois “I’ll-take-the-Fifth” Lerner suggests, employees at the IRS support Democrat candidates by a huge margin. “The agency’s employees are heavily engaged in politics and lean considerably to the left,” Stiles reports. “Records show that IRS employees in 2012 donated more than twice as much to the Obama as to the Romney campaign. Nearly two-thirds of all employee contributions over the last three elections cycles have gone to Democrats.”

There are some critics who, faced with the overwhelming evidence of partisan corruption at the IRS, advocate abolishing the agency. That is a happy thought, but probably utopian. A possibly more achievable goal would be to deunionize the IRS, a first step in a process that should aim at deunionizing all federal agencies. Public-sector unions, as Daniel DiSalvo has pointed out in Government Unions and the Bankrupting of America, are a prescription for political corruption. The unions help elect politicians who in turn help the unions. The result is corruption and fiscal incontinence.

We may take government unions for granted as an inconvenient fact of life. But there is nothing inevitable about them. As DiSalvo notes:

That powerful government unions exist at all is a striking political development.  The prevailing attitude among policymakers across the political spectrum was downright hostile well into the 1950s.  President Franklin Roosevelt, one of labor’s best friends, wrote in 1937 that: “Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government. . . . The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.” Other champions of organized labor thought the same way.  The first president of the AFL-CIO, George Meany, believed it was “impossible to bargain collectively with the government.”  Their reasoning was that the elected representatives of the people would be forced to share their governing authority with unelected union officials whom voters could not hold accountable.

As the public watches IRS officials, from Commissioner John Koskinen on down, prevaricate, stonewall, and lie to Congress, a groundswell of outrage and disgust is rising.  Doubtless the IRS,  its union, and the Obama administration hopes that if it can only string out the hearings long enough, the outrage will falter and the disgust will die down.  That is certainly possible.

Another possibility is that the outrage and disgust will continue to grow and an impatient public will demand reform.  Deunionizing the IRS would be a good place to start.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
Put this on the to-do list for a Republican President and Congress in January 2017. There should be no collective bargaining for any government employees, at any level.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Who is it that is going to de-unionize the IRS? Or reform it or limit its growing abusive power in any way? Certainly no Democrat, the by-any-means-necessary party. The Republican establishment? It is nearly as hostile to the limited government movement as the Democrats, and some of its luminaries may have even encouraged the IRS to persecute them. We are pretty deep into the weeds at this point, campers, and most voters are unaware, apathetic or even supportive of what is becoming of our government.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
As far as the piece goes, fine. But you've left out the most telling argument! Just three months after the President signed Executive Order 13522, giving the NTEU "pre-decisional involvement in all workplace matters," Obama met personally with the head of the union, Colleen Kelley. The very next day, the IRS instituted its "Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party," the beginning of the targeting. So far as I know, neither Kelley nor Obama has ever answered questions on this staggering coincidence.
For a full report, courtesy of Jeffrey Lord, http://spectator.org/articles/55560/obama-and-irs-smoking-gun
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (42)
All Comments   (42)
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One of the first things Republicans should do, if they retake the Senate and keep the House, is decertify all Government unions. Sure, Obama will veto it, but that only proves that Democrats need them.

The unions have proven those, who believed it would be a bad idea to allow government employees to unionize, correct. The IRS is #1 in proof of that and I'm sure, if we had a free press they'd be on top of this. Alas, we're stuck with Pravda and Izvestia.
14 weeks ago
14 weeks ago Link To Comment
While I agree that public employees shouldn't be unionized, the real problem isn't collective bargaining; it is politics. Public employee unions aren't very good at collective bargain and other than teachers and a few specialized unions, their forced members aren't very loyal to the union. What public employee unions are good at is taking those confiscated dues and playing politics with them.

There are two things that will eliminate the Lois Lerners of the US: when and if we elect another Republican President, s/he fires every single political appointee in the federal government while his/her hand is coming off The Bible, and, restore the Hatch Act so any political activity by a federal employee or the agent of federal employees is a crime; the price of those jobs is they don't have an opinion on politics other than in the privacy of the voting booth.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not...gonna...happen...
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Looking at some comments below, I’m still shocked so many people just don’t get it
Flat Tax. Value Added. Progressive. Property. User fees.

Seriously?

These are METHODS people, and that’s not the problem. Get it straight, here IS no “method” to compensate for the out-right looting of the Treasury by DNC CONNECTED Public Sector Unions, their cronies, mouthpieces, parasites and appologists. End of Story.

Public Teaches in my district AVERAGE six figures for 185 work days, and went on strike in this recession for even more. The Local Cops are not far behind with PATROLMEN bringing in +85K after milking a little overtime. Our po-dunk little Community College Prezzy gets nearly a mil, with a car and housing allowance added on top. You might get a company car, but does your company pay your MORTGAGE too?

County rapes the locals to death, and STILL needs State Funds to cover costs. State is bankrupted by the cities, and turns to The Fed…. and half of everything the Fed gives out… is f*cking debt?

And people think shifting from “progressive ” to “user”… or trying a new “flat” or a “value added” , is gonna magically solve that criminal conspiracy? Make things cost less. Balance a budget. Boost the private sector economy.

Sure it will. And Colored Sugar pills “burn fat while you sleep”. You’ll lose weight while still eating all the foods you love. And no exercise either. All you need is the right one.

I mean, it worked for Chris Christie, right? It couldn’t POSSIBLY have been the metal f*cking clamp, that was surgically installed on his gullet, that choked off the supply and literally STARVED that Fat Disgusting Pig down to size…

Could it?
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
One of the few times that I agree with FDRoosevelt. Public employees should not be unionized. Of course it must be inevitable that we eliminate the IRS by employing a flat/fair tax. The current tax system invites corruption.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
A flat tax does not eliminate the IRS. It just rearranges the chairs on the deck.

NO income tax system gets rid of the problem, no matter how you structure it. As long as the government (fed, state, county, city, whatever) has the right to know how much you make and how you spend it, we have a system that can be used to intimidate, coerce, and CONTROL.

ONLY a completely anonymous tax system eliminates this danger.

The ONLY tax system that does that is the RETAIL SALES TAX. No paperwork, no returns, no IDENTIFICATION of taxpayers.

And yes, by the way, it's not perfect. Yes, there is some fraud. It is PIDDLY in comparison to the fraud that goes on with income taxes.

In truth, the retail sales tax is working JUST FINE everywhere it's in place. No, not perfectly, but plenty good enough.

17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
we need to abolish it. 12.8 bil last year, 90.000 employees.... this is state sponsored terrorism against the people.

flat tax, and nothing else. and jail everyone in top positions and involved in selective auditing.
even if it's 10.000 people. this can not go unpunished
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
It can, and it will.

RINOS are ball-less wonders, all they want is THEIR place at the trough.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Defund DC. Move the nation's capital.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Riiiiight. Because the location is the problem. They'd all behave very nicely if they just worked in Philadelphia or Miami or some other place.

Did you really say that????
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
but but but, without a union, how would IRS workers be guaranteed lifetime employment no matter how incompetent, or evil, or vindictive they might be? How would they be guaranteed platinum retirement benefits that pay 3 times the retirement income private sector workers can expect? How would they be assured of protection to view pornography during the work day.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
The purpose of the IRS has always been to incrementally re - order society under the guise of funding the operations of government. This mindset is also predominant at HHS, DHS, HUD, DOT, DOE, ............ and the rest of the Stalinist alphabet soup agencies we're "volunteering" to fund in order to avoid jail time. Eventually private entities grow weary of surrendering their wealth and by definition, their liberty, to the Leviathan and the private sector vanishes. The power to rule then resides in the hands of a few who jockey for position among themselves because most of the Leviathan, built on a phony foundation of regulatory fiat, has no function.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
Put this on the to-do list for a Republican President and Congress in January 2017. There should be no collective bargaining for any government employees, at any level.
17 weeks ago
17 weeks ago Link To Comment
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