The actions of the tax professionals in the IRS’ Tax Exempt division in discriminating against applications for tax-exempt status based on the apparent political views of the applicant are offensive and worthy of punishment. The IRS Commissioner and leader of the division have already lost their jobs and more IRS employees will be punished.
The problem with the tax-exempt application process was identified and publicized by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. This should give the public comfort that at some level there are functioning checks and balances at the IRS.
Congress by being distracted by this relatively isolated event is imposing a cost on the American people: it is not attending to issues critical to the future of the American economy. To be specific, a Ways & Means Committee hearing on tax reform was cancelled on Thursday, so the committee members could attend a hearing on the IRS scandal.
Other issues such as the budget sequester, entitlement reform, the lack of a coherent energy policy and the student loan crisis all have a far broader effect on the economy, than a handful of IRS employees that exercised poor judgment and will be punished.
The IRS scandal may be easier to explain on television than the sequestration, but the scandal has already received severalfold more attention than is merited. It is time for the Congressional tax writing committees to return to the real work of the people.