Saturday, May 18, 2013

Silver: Repugs NOT singled out for IRS audits

Silver's sober little analysis tickled my mental "Like" icon.  First, because it's a good lesson on how to be a critical consumer of news and information. Silver reminds us of the statistical principle that "a handful of anecdotal data points are not worth very much in a country of more than 300 million people."  That's too bad for many Republicans, whose political views are shaped by handpicked anecdotes.

Second, because it shows Republicans' criticisms of the "evil" IRS are usually baseless and stupid.

Statistics guru Nate Silver, (the political analyst who predicted with perfect precision how Obama would win the 2012 election), estimates that about 380,000 of Mitt Romney’s voters were audited last year vs. 480,000 of President Obama’s voters.  

Too bad Rush Limbaugh didn't see that before his Friday show when he agreed with a paranoid caller
This IRS thing, what's the message? The government's after us.  Conservatives have been put on notice here.  You think this is gonna stop?  This isn't going to stop.  They're just going to find new ways to do this.
And like David Cay Johnston, Silver reminds us that "one-third of [IRS] audits pertained to people who claimed the Earned Income Tax Credit, a benefit for low-income taxpayers."  Why?  Because it's easy for the IRS to check up on.  Auditing rich people and corporations is too hard.

The truth is, IRS employees are overworked and underpaid, and their agency is chronically underfunded because of far-right Republicans who equate tax collecting, no matter professionally done, with theft.  Then they turn around and moan about the deficit.

By Nate Silver
May 17, 2013 | New York Times

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