The Obama administration has already said that this was wrong, and although some of the upper crust at the IRS were holdovers from the Bush years, this falls on the federal government...the current federal government.
ABC News later reported that it was not simply groups with the word “Tea” or “Patriot,” but any group that was critical of the government. That looks very bad, and the president should address the nation.
Let's remember that this type of targeting of Americans is what eventually forced Richard Nixon to resign. Nixon, like Obama, was soundly re-elected. Watergate was directed out of the White House, so there is the added ugliness of the president of the United States knowing what was happening.
But Barack Obama has to address this as a big deal, even if he does not feel that it is. This matters to all Americans because we all have the same federal government. Politics has to stop at the water’s edge, and that is where responsible government begins.
Our most protected form of speech is political speech. This is why the Voting Rights Act was important. If you water down political expression, you do even more damage to the First Amendment.
This issue can go away, and most likely will. Unlike Watergate, the Obama team is trying to get in front of it. The president enjoys addressing Congress through speeches and press conferences, so this is how he needs to address this issue.
Press Secretary Jay Carney’s briefings are not enough to defuse what can cause people to trust their government less.
Time for Yanks to Clean (Some of the) House
All the talk about how well the Yankees are doing despite losing such high-end talent due to injury brings us back to owner Hal Steinbrenner and the number “189” (as in $189 million). Steinbrenner wants to lower the Yankee payroll from $203 million to $189 million.
To those of us working folk, please accept my apologies for how cavalier it sounds to throw these numbers around so easily. The good news about the Yankees’ start this season is that they’ve shown they can win without a few big salaries.
The 2014 season will unfortunately not include Curtis Granderson in the outfield. The Yankees will free up $15 million right there. The team is already committed to Vernon Wells, Brett Gardner, and has Ichiro Suzuki for another season.
It will be hard to say good bye to Granderson, but the jettison of Joba Chamberlin is long overdue. Chamberlain is nothing short of a complete waste for this ball club. Even with his relatively light $1.8 million salary, be brings nothing to the Yankees. He needs to take his trampoline-jumping antics someplace else.
Minor leaguers Slade Heathcott, Mason Williams, and Tyler Austin are too good to not promote to the Bronx, and they come with low salaries. If this team eats half of Alex Rodriguez’s salary ($15 million) for the next few years, they can probably unload him, too. It might be worth it to put this contract behind them.
The money the organization would save by avoiding the luxury tax could buy them out of A-Rod. By doing that, plus saving the money going to Granderson, Chamberlain, and Hughes, they could fall under the salary ceiling of $189 million.
They should also try to engineer a trade for a reliever like Matt Capps of Minnesota. Even if they absorb Capps’ salary of $4.5 million, they would meet the ceiling, strengthen the bullpen, and keep all of the other muscle (Teixeira, Youkilis, and extend Jeter’s contract.)
This scenario even accounts for keeping Robinson Cano and an amped-up new contract which the Yankees will have to surrender to. This is a way to make the team stronger with less money. It can be done, and this 2013 team is showing us how.