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June 14, 2013

Taking the Right Course?

Joe Charlebois

In the near future the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will be in charge of not only collecting personal income taxes, FICA taxes and corporate income taxes; it will also administer the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and it’s over 2000 pages of regulations.


The role that the IRS plays in the operations of the federal government will grow significantly in the coming years. It will be tasked with administering Obamacare, with four significant responsibilities.


·       It will penalize employers who don’t provide healthcare coverage for their employees.


·       It will penalize those individuals who have not purchased health insurance.


·       It will determine who will qualify for Medicaid or subsidized “premium tax credits.”


·       It will verify that companies have disclosed which employees have healthcare coverage. It will also be charged with verifying that those companies with over 50 employees have offered “Affordable Healthcare Act minimum essential coverage.”


The IRS has proven over the years that it is not immune from political interference or influence. IRS employees have been used as a tool for politicians and federal law enforcement for decades. Whether it is the Oval Office or the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the IRS has investigated audited or gathered personal information for the elite to use as a weapon of intimidation against their political foes.


This past week, the Committee on Energy and Commerce wrote a letter to IRS’s Acting Commissioner, Daniel Werfel to address concerns brought out by a lawsuit filed in California Superior Court that names the IRS and 15 of its agents with improperly seized documents that contain a reported 60 million medical records for an estimated 10 million Americans.


The alleged action that took place, according to the lawsuit, was the unauthorized seizure of millions of medical records that had no relation to the warrant. Reportedly the warrant was issued for a specific purpose. Its scope was limited to the financial records of a former employee.


According to the complainants, the IRS agents “stole” the 60 million records even after they were told that they could not take the medical records due to the privileged and confidential nature of the documents. The employees who were complying with the warrant attempted to separate any of the requested financial records that were within the scope from the medical records that didn’t. The company, which is a HIPPA compliant facility, was allegedly threatened by the IRS agents when they attempted to prevent the seizure of the medical files in question.


Issues will arise whenever a great deal of power is held in the hands of a few. All of this consolidation of information and power are now in the hands of the Executive Branch of the federal government.


As long as Obamacare remains intact, the American people must remain vigilant until it can be overturned. Americans should be wary of the dismissive way the agents of the government treat the laws that protect our privacy. If the display of power that the IRS presented in California is any indication of what our future holds, we will no longer have a right to privacy.


Whether it is the illegal gathering of information on questionnaires to intimidate certain political groups, or the possible use of medical files to coerce individuals into actions they may not take otherwise, the use of private and privileged information in the hands of those in power is extremely troubling.


With the weak-in-the-knees politicians that hold power in Washington unlikely to step on the toes of their “friends” from across the aisle, it is unlikely that true reform or limits on executive power will be implemented.


A handful of liberty minded politicians that exist in the House and Senate need to continue to put pressure on those who would trade our freedoms for their power. If they are unable to correct an out-of-control Congress and White House, our damaged ship, The America, will never sail into the Sea of Liberty again.



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