Monday, June 23, 2014

The Untouchables

If I could live the rest of my life without hearing the names Lois Lerner and John Koskinen again, and even more importantly, never seeing these faces again:
I would be a very happy man. Unfortunately, their images have been burned into my consciousness. These two represent everything that I loathe about government. They are career bureaucrats, part of the tribe of people most responsible for the contempt I feel for our government. Look at them carefully. Peer into their eyes for a minute. Both of these photographs were taken when they were giving sworn testimony to a Congressional committee charged with oversight of the IRS. Ms. Lerner was taking the Fifth when asked pertinent questions about her role in the targeting of conservative political groups for unfair scrutiny. Mr. Koskinen was explaining how it was that two years worth of emails from Mrs. Lerner had suddenly vanished without a trace. At least, that’s what their words said, but those eyes…those eyes say something else. They practically scream, “Screw you, Congressman. I’m untouchable and you know it. I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be here long after you lose an election and become a lobbyist. I’ll never lose an election, baby! I’ll be cashing a government paycheck forever, and there isn’t one single solitary thing you can do about it. So, have your fun calling me a liar all you want because what you and I both know is this…there is no such thing as “government oversight.”
No matter how incompetent, no matter how corrupt, the machine of bureaus, departments and agencies keeps chugging along, getting away with stuff that would have put you or me under the jail. Try to imagine what the IRS would say to you if in the middle of an audit you were to say, “Hey guys, you know those receipts for all of those business trips I took back in 2012 that you want? Funny thing happened when I went to find them on my computer. The darn thing just crashed, and poof, just like that, they are gone forever. Bizarre, right?” And yet, that’s exactly what the Director of the IRS said during sworn testimony. When incredulous Congressmen sputtered and screamed and questioned his credibility, they got this blank, contemptuous stare. There would be no apology. There would be no regret. There would only be smug, supremely confident arrogance.
The machine of government keeps running. It perpetuates itself. The mountains of new rules and regulations passed each and every year by Congress are its fuel. It will never run out. And it is the Lois Lerner’s and John Koskinen’s of this world who make it go.