Failure At The Speed Of Government: Nearly Eight Years Later, I’ve Finally Heard Back From The IRS

Rep. Paul Gosar Member of Congress (R-AZ)
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You can now officially add my name to the endless list of Americans who have fallen victim to big government incompetence.

On July 2, 2008, nearly eight years ago, I was part of a group that applied for tax exempt status with the IRS on behalf of a 501(c)(3) foundation that I helped set up named the Alaska Dental Outreach Consortium. This foundation simply was meant to help connect rural Alaskans with oral health providers throughout the state.

Fast forward seven years, seven months and six days into the future to February 8, 2016: I finally receive confirmation, from the now disgraced Cincinnati branch of the IRS, confirming that the Alaska Dental Outreach Consortium has officially been granted tax exempt status.

Seven years, seven months and six days.

Putting aside the fact that we now know the IRS is guilty of illegally targeting innocent Americans based on their political views; in what world is it acceptable for a government agency to take seven years, seven months and six days to respond to a simple request? Ultimately, the Alaska Dental Outreach Consortium is now defunct, no thanks to the breakneck speed of the federal government. Sadly, countless Americans have experienced similar treatment at the hands of a fundamentally flawed system.

To be fair, this is not an indictment on every single employee at the IRS. Not every employee working at this agency is corrupt like Lois Lerner, John Koskinen or employees at the Cincinnati branch. This plague is much more severe than any one person and has been building for many years. The sad reality is that government agencies are still evaluated not by the quality of their performance, but by how much funding they receive from Congress.

Economist Chris Edwards, of the CATO institute, expressed the flawed nature of big government in a 2015 report stating, “civil servants act within a bureaucratic system that rewards inertia, not the creation of value. Various reforms over the decades have tried to fix the bureaucracy, but the incentives that generate poor performance are deeply entrenched in the executive branch.”

The leviathan of bureaucracy, red tape and crony capitalism unleashed by an unaccountable executive branch has wiped out any incentive to deliver a positive return on investment to the American people. What incentive do IRS employees have to work harder when there is no punishment for taking almost 8 years to respond to a foundation’s tax exempt request? This utter lack of accountability is directly linked to the size and scope of the federal government which continues to expand with every passing year.

The unstoppable growth of our federal government is sinking us from within and inflicting irreparable harm on our citizens. Look no further than the VA, where unaccountable senior employees covered up a broken system by erasing patient wait times contributing to the deaths of countless veterans. Yet somehow, we have Democrats running for president who promote nationalizing our entire healthcare system? Do we really want to inflict the type of shameful corruption and incompetence currently entrenched at the VA upon the entire American population?

Our federal government faces an inevitable breaking point if elected leaders fail to reduce the size and scope of federal agencies and reject common sense accountability measures that incentivize good behavior. The alternative is bleak and will result in hardworking Americans suffering from a lot more than just waiting seven years, seven months and six days to hear back from the IRS.

Congressman Paul Gosar represents Arizona’s 4th Congressional district and serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.