It seems like about once a month the IRS finds itself in the news headlines, and it is never anything positive. Often the problem is that they have mismanaged funds one way or another. This time, ironically, they have been criticized by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) for failing to account for some of their Obamacare spending. I say “ironically” because these people are BEAN COUNTERS for Pete’s sake! Shouldn’t bean counters be able to keep records and track spending? What do they do all day? The IRS, and the government in general, needs to handle its finances like a responsible, hard-working individual might handle his personal finances. And I’m pretty sure that would include carefully tracking where the dollars are being spent.
I know it is easy (and fun) to oversimplify IRS mistakes and problems. But even if we don’t understand the complexity of the issues at the IRS, the sheer number of problems leaves no doubt that this is an agency in serious trouble.
We could say that it’s up to TIGTA to deal with the details, but there’s only so much TIGTA can do. They do a great job writing reports and describing in agonizing detail the problems they find during IRS audits. They even go so far as to make thoughtful recommendations. But recommendations can be ignored. I’ve always thought TIGTA should be given real power to drive change.
The media often refers to TIGTA as a government “watchdog” group. Well, if TIGTA is a watchdog, it’s not a very good one. An effective watchdog is mean when it has to be. TIGTA is dedicated and vigilant, but fails to strike when a threat is detected.