While it is certainly important to get to the bottom of the IRS targeting of conservative organizations, the scandal raises the specter of something far more damaging to the nation than individual corruption.
What if the IRS and other once-respected agencies have become partisan and corrupt in a way that they cannot easily be reformed?
If you only read one piece today, make it Victor Davis Hanson on the profound meaning of having a corrupt and politically-biased bureaucracy. Here is the gist:
Presidents fib. The nation gets outraged. The independent media dig out the truth. And so the system of trust repairs itself.
What distinguishes democracies from tinhorn dictatorships and totalitarian monstrosities are our permanent meritocratic government bureaus that remain nonpartisan and honestly report the truth.
The Benghazi, Associated Press, and National Security Agency scandals are scary, but not as disturbing as growing doubts about the honesty of permanent government itself.
It is no longer crackpot to doubt the once impeccable and nonpartisan IRS. When it assured the public that it was not making decisions about tax-exempt status based on politics, it lied. One of its top commissioners, Lois Lerner, resigned and invoked the Fifth Amendment.
A system of voluntary tax reporting rests on trust. If the IRS itself is untruthful, will it be able to expect truthful compliance from taxpayers?
Many doubt the officially reported government unemployment rates. That statistic is vital in assessing economic growth and is of enormous political importance in the way citizens vote.