Friday, May 17, 2013

Scandal: Or what happens when rich people are stopped and frisked

Fair warning 1: this blog has nothing to do with that show on ABC. I've never seen it but I've heard good things.

Fair warning 2: This rant is a political one. I would have just tweeted it, but I'm thinking I might get too close to the character limited to allow for easy re-tweeting.

Fair warning 3: If you're one of those people who thinks that the IRS is illegally taxing citizens because the right to collect taxes is not expressly written in the Constitution of this country, you should just stop reading now. That argument is silly. You know it is silly; and more than being silly, it is an argument that you won't win with the average 10 year old.. (Hey Billy, should poor people starve to death in the street?)

Fair warning 4: I say the word "scrutiny" 987 times

And now the blog: I will admit my bias upfront, I am a liberal. I think that taxes allow us to fulfill our responsibility to the common good of our citizens. I think that because it is evidently true. To be more poetic, one might say that we hold these truths to be "self-evident". But I am not going to make an argument that favors discrimination because discrimination is, aside from being disgusting, distinctly at odds with the ideals (if not the practices) of these United States of America.

Here are a few facts that should be pointed out:

1. Tax-exempt status AS A 501(c)(4) organization is prohibited to organizations which are primarily political for like, the last hundred years. This status is reserved for groups dedicated to "social welfare" activities.If your main goal is lobbying, influencing elections, or what-have-you, you'd be a 527 group. The main difference, for the purposes of this scandal, being that donors must be disclosed if you're a 527 but not if you're a 501c4.

2. Unlike New York's "stop-and-frisk" policy (which allows for Black men to be harassed in the streets - simply because they fit the description of someone who might have the means to commit a crime with no evidence of motive or opportunity - by police officers in the crime-infested city of New York who legitimately can't find ACTUAL crimes to investigate), applying for tax-exempt status is a legal agreement to be placed under scrutiny during the application process. (I love a good parenthetical)

3. The scrutiny, while admittedly intimidating and probably unevenly applied, was not illegal. They simply used "inappropriate criteria" to select who got the scrutiny.

4. None (a whopping 0% or nann) of the organizations that received said "scrutiny" had their applications denied.

5. And this one is the real kicker, MOST OF THEM ARE ACTUALLY GUILTY OF THE CRIME THAT THEY ARE BEING INVESTIGATED FOR. 70%, according to the Inspector General report, of these organizations showed "significant signs of electioneering".

If you're still reading, then you've earned this. If you scrolled, you're no better than the guilty.

OK, so the "scandal" that we are all talking about is this: Some folks who were trying to cheat the system of fair elections by donating to political campaigns with unlimited amounts of money (not illegal because of our stupid Citizens United ruling in the Supreme Court) without disclosing who they were (this is the illegal part) were asked some questions about whether or not they were trying cheat the system of fair elections by donating to political campaigns with unlimited amounts of money without disclosing who they were.

In a lot of countries, people might cite this as an example of government oversight working perfectly. However, because they used terms like "tea party" and "patriot" as the keywords (and you know I love a well-used keyword) with which to identify these groups, they have acted in a discriminatory way. What, then, is the answer? If you said "investigate everyone", then you are correct. EVERYONE should receive the same level of scrutiny and it should be tough enough to catch the criminals that want to shove candidates down your throats - candidates who will simply represent the interests of the people who paid to get them there. How is such far-reaching scrutiny accomplished? With more money, yes TAX REVENUE. After all, this is the greatest country in the world and you would do anything to protect our way of life, right? That is, unless this government of, by, and for the people isn't important to you. In that case, I must say you're looking mighty unpatriotic for someone brandishing a shotgun, drinking a Budweiser and wearing a shirt with an eagle on it.

Keep in mind that the people who want you to feel outraged at this egregious overreach of your tyrannical government are the people who are guilty of the crimes that the government was investigating. They also want you to believe that you could be next. But you can't be next because despite the fact that you wish your taxes were lower, you pay them. You pay your taxes because despite what you saw on your conspiracy theory documentary by Alex Jones & Company, you know that paying your taxes is the right thing to do. That is what makes you a citizen and not a criminal.