We Need More Bureaucrats, and other short notes

Guess what happens when you cut the budget of the IRS? The government collects less in taxes, with a net increase in the federal deficit. Plus, the IRS relies more on automation and less on people, so a taxpayer with a legitimate complaint has a hard time getting the ear of anybody who could fix the problem.

That’s the gist of the 2011 report of the National Taxpayer Advocate, and it’s a microcosm of what’s wrong with anti-bureaucrat rage.

When your car runs badly, you could say, “Damn that car! I’m going to cut its maintenance!” But that would be stupid, wouldn’t it? Ditto for government. If you have to deal with a stressed-out clerk after waiting an hour in line at the DMV, cutting budgets and firing clerks might be a satisfying revenge fantasy. But it’s not exactly a solution.

Similarly, if you find yourself wasting time and money complying with some regulation that should never have applied to you to begin with, the problem probably isn’t that too many bureaucrats are making too many rules. More likely, bureaucracies have made sweeping rules and don’t have time to make exceptions for special cases because they’re understaffed.


The battle is on in Wisconsin. The petition to recall Governor Scott Walker got a million signatures. Officials are having problems hiring people to review the signatures, because they have “had trouble locating job seekers in the Madison area who did not sign the petitions”


In President Obama’s video message to Betty White’s 90th birthday celebration, he asked to see her long-form birth certificate.


The new Birtherism: Did Obama get “foreign student” loans? And is there any reason to raise this question other than the evidence that factcheck.org called “a hoax” in 2009?


The documentary Hot Coffee takes another look at the anti-McDonalds lawsuit that has been distorted into evidence for tort reform. What if what everybody knows about that lawsuit is false?


Republicans in Congress forced President Obama to make a fast decision on the Keystone XL Pipeline, and he surprised a lot of us by deciding against it. But naturally, that’s not the end of it.


Senator Scott Brown asks about the “teachers, firefighters, policemen” who will be affected if the Bush tax cuts go away for households making more than $250,000 a year. TPM tries to figure out if there are any such people and how affected they would be.

Meanwhile, Newt Gingrich raises the spectre of NY janitors making “an absurd amount of money” which turns out to be $37,710 after two years.


Batteries for electric cars might get much better.


The idea of America as a “nation, under God” may go back to Lincoln, but the phrase has a little known history after that: It was revived in the 1930s by monied interests looking for religious cover in opposing the New Deal.

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Comments

  • Kim Cooper  On January 23, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    the news about the battery improvement is hopeful — and will help us. I hope they manage to overcome the barriers to making it.
    Of course we need more people to work in the government — most of the complaints we have about the government inefficiency is because so many parts of it are understaffed and underfunded.

Trackbacks

  • By Pulling Up the Stakes « The Weekly Sift on January 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    […] We Need More Bureaucrats and other short notes. IRS budget cuts increased the deficit and hurt customer service. One million signatures to recall Walker. Obama wants to see Betty White’s birth certificate. That famous McDonald’s coffee lawsuit might not be what you think. And more. […]

  • By הובלות דירה מחיר on March 3, 2012 at 2:30 am

    הובלות דירה מחיר…

    … הובלות דירה – לכן, אם אתם בכושר הובלות דירה אשדוד, סביר להניח שאינכם מנוסים בהעברת מקררים וארונות לגובה קומות. זהו אחד הדברים שאמורים להקל עליכם ולקצר עבורכם את תהליך מעבר הדירה שלכם מס'… We Need More Bureaucrats, and other short notes « The…

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