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Our government, or theirs?

April 5, 2017

President Trump was swept into office on a tidal wave of public disgust with Washington and indeed politics in general. He was supposed to be able to restore integrity in Washington and give the government back to its citizens.

What about you? Do you think our government is really an instrument of governance that is of, by and for our collective best interests?

If you do, you are in the minority, by a bunch.

A 2015 Pew research poll found that just a paltry 19% of us trusted the government as a whole most or all of the time, down from a high of 77% in 1958.

Granted that poll was taken during a messy, volatile political campaign environment, but the election has not done a lot to change that perception.

Interestingly, the steepest dips in public confidence since 1958 seem to occur while we have had presidents who were or are Democrats, with the exception of the Nixon Watergate years.

There has been a post-inaugural bump of optimism since President Trump took up actual residence in the Oval Office, even though he is hardly a traditional Republican.

Note that the emotion is optimism, not confidence.

Since the election almost nothing else has inspired any emotion except disgust, and the current revelations that seem to pull back a few layers each day exposing just how rotten Washington has become, do little to change the national perspective.

It still seems as though Congress is still governing a universe that only they inhabit.

The AHCA is a prime example of government bureaucrats once again trying to force something down our collective throats for political reasons, even though only 17% of us supported it.

Venerable and often well-respected government agencies have been  proven to be more concerned with preserving their own power or serving the party in power than in serving the people.

The immediate past administration is being publicly accused of misdeeds ranging from malfeasance in office to de facto acts of sedition.

In the midst of all this comes yet another revealing look into the general contempt of the government for the rights of the people in general, citizens that it has held in contempt for decades.

An article  on the Forbes website details yet another instance of a government agency, the IRS, that is essentially stealing the property of ordinary, law-abiding citizens.

The article deals with the seizure and retention of private, lawfully obtained funds on no more than the flimsiest of excuses.

The underlying authority is supposed to be to discover whether the funds were obtained illegally.

OK, fine, investigate that.  Maybe there is something shady going on. Criminals do use legitimate businesses as fronts to launder money.

But how does that give the IRS the right to seize those funds, and indeed often all funds in an account, before there is any proof of guilt or innocence?

The article deals with the so-called “structuring” of cash deposits, i.e. keeping deposits under the $10K level so as not to trigger a report by a bank to the IRS.

It maintains that in a sampling of 278 cases, 91% of all such seizures involving ordinary citizens were found to involve funds obtained legally, yet the IRS either slow-walked the return of the money, or kept part of it through the use of settlement agreements before there could be a legal finding.

Legal blackmail. A profitable enterprise, if you can make it work.

What part of the law says they can just keep the money or a portion of it, even when no evidence of wrongdoing is ever found?

No part, actually.

If your first reaction is to say “Someone should fix this” be aware that people have tried. In fact, the IRS was ordered to make substantial changes in both its methods of investigation and in notifying taxpayers of their rights.

According to the article’s author, Robert W. Woods, those orders have not been obeyed.

Ah, the benevolent government, tirelessly working in our best interests. Alice in Wonderland is another example of a great fairy tale too.

The current administration has so far not proven that it has the means to “drain the swamp”

The public, it’s patience stretched rice paper thin, is already contemplating giving the President a hand by dumping more career politicians.

It would behoove Congress to decide whose government they represent sooner rather than later.

From → op-ed

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