Washington Deserves a Declaration of Incompetence
Big Government is so bloated that its left hand doesn’t know what its far-left hand is doing.


Deroy Murdock

Meanwhile, in 2011, the IRS mailed 23,994 tax refunds totaling $46,378,040 to “unauthorized” aliens — all supposedly at the same Atlanta address. That year, according to a Treasury inspector general’s report cited by, the IRS sent 2,507 refunds worth $10,395,874 to one address in Oxnard, Calif., and 2,408 such checks equal to $7,284,212 to an address in Raleigh, N.C.

“Leave aside the question of who got the refunds. Couldn’t someone, or something, at the IRS have recognized that when almost 24,000 refund checks are going to one address in Atlanta, there just might be a bug in the system?” asks Pete Sepp of the National Taxpayers Union. “The IRS brags about its DIF program for scoring and spitting out tax returns for possible audits. So the agency can’t, or won’t, perform a simple audit of outgoing refunds?”

DIF stands for “Discriminant Function System.” Naturally, it’s DIF, not DFS.

Also, the IRS assigns taxpayer-ID numbers to illegal aliens, even though they are not supposed to be here. As a 1999 IG report noted: “This IRS practice seems counter-productive to the Immigration and Naturalization Service’s (INS) mission to identify undocumented aliens and prevent unlawful alien entry.”


At least these illegal aliens are alive. That evidently is not a requirement to receive federal money.

According to the Social Security Administration’s inspector general, at least 1,546 dead people were receiving benefits, totaling $30.9 million through May 2012. Some had been receiving checks for almost 20 years. A 2009 audit discovered 6,733 Deceased Americans who had been paid $40.3 million. As the IG learned, 91 of them “remained in current payment status” and still are getting Social Security checks, four years later.

As explains, the SSA’s Death Alert, Control, and Update System is designed to inform the agency when beneficiaries have expired. Unfortunately, it fails 80 percent of the time.


As if its anti-conservative political profiling and harassment were not bad enough, the IRS’s bungling and lavish self-pampering have tarnished this outfit’s reputation even further. IRS agents spent some $108 million on official credit cards over the past two years. An internal audit showed that this bought “multiple lunches, dinners, and related alcohol purchases” as well as “diet pills, romance novels, steaks, a smart phone, and baby-related items, such as bottles, games, and clothing.” One revenue officer’s taxpayer-funded card financed subscriptions to pornography websites.

Even worse, the Washington Times editorialized, “the IRS didn’t bother to cancel credit cards of employees who quit or retired, meaning the party could continue long after the government ‘service’ ended.”

Amid such gross mismanagement, and still-emerging evidence that it politically persecuted 100 percent of tea-party groups that sought tax-exemption, IRS employees will share some $70 million in bonuses.

Sequester? What sequester?


The overarching problem here is a government that, at worst, hammers the freedoms and rights of the American people — as do the IRS and Justice Department with increasing relish. At best, Washington is so busy attempting everything (from fixing sugar prices to banning incandescent light bulbs to subsidizing bird-killing windmills) that it barely accomplishes anything.

Hapless bureaucrats blunder upward. Among them, only serious criminals ever face accountability. Federal employees do pretty much what they please — for life.

America now is subjected by “an administrative state of sprawling departments and agencies that govern with increasing autonomy and decreasing transparency,” argues George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, a mainstream liberal. In the Washington Post, Turley described a callous, hulking fourth branch of government. “Today, we have 2,840,000 federal workers in 15 departments, 69 agencies and 383 nonmilitary sub-agencies,” he wrote. To these 467 executive-branch units, add the legislative and judicial branches. Is it any wonder that Uncle Sam’s left hand does not know what his far-left hand is doing?

In a perfect world, Obama would take ownership of this massive federal enterprise and, at least, make it set priorities. But even that may ask too much of him. Sounding like the late, great free-market hero Milton Friedman, Obama’s consigliere David Axelrod recently got to the heart of the matter: “Part of being president is that there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know, because the government is so vast.”

— Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor, a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service, and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.