The Plural of “Noonan” Is Not “Data”

So Peggy Noonan went to the Fainting Couch Superstore over the IRS this week and got a few new pieces.  It was bad enough in her eyes that anyone would dare question the notion that Tea Party groups were perfectly non-political and deserve tax-exempt status, the real issue is that President Uppity “T-Bone” YoungBuck  dared to go after rich Romney voters, because that’s the only possible explanation for this:

The second part of the scandal is the auditing of political activists who have opposed the administration. The Journal’s Kim Strassel reported an Idaho businessman named Frank VanderSloot, who’d donated more than a million dollars to groups supporting Mitt Romney. He found himself last June, for the first time in 30 years, the target of IRS auditors. His wife and his business were also soon audited. Hal Scherz, a Georgia physician, also came to the government’s attention. He told ABC News: “It is odd that nothing changed on my tax return and I was never audited until I publicly criticized ObamaCare.”

Won’t you help America’s most victimized class, the obnoxiously rich, fend off these heartless attacks?

All of these IRS actions took place in the years leading up to the 2012 election. They constitute the use of governmental power to intrude on the privacy and shackle the political freedom of American citizens. The purpose, obviously, was to overwhelm and intimidate—to kill the opposition, question by question and audit by audit.

It is not even remotely possible that all this was an accident, a mistake. Again, only conservative groups were targeted, not liberal. It is not even remotely possible that only one IRS office was involved.

If only there was somebody who could tell us, through that person’s mastery of statistical analysis, just how remote the possibility of this not being deliberate targeting was.  Just so we’d know how worried to be when Obama comes to kill the opposition.

You know, somebody like, hmm, ohh…Nate Silver!

In the table below, I’ve estimated the number of taxpayers in each income group who were audited in 2012, as derived from statistics in the I.R.S.’s 2012 Data Book. It is also possible to estimate how many Mitt Romney and Barack Obama voters would have been audited last year. The calculation assumes that an individual’s chance of being audited was related to their income, but not to their political views.

I estimate the number of voters in each income bracket from the 2012 Current Population Survey. I then estimate the share of the vote in each income bracket that went to Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama based on last year’s national exit poll. (Note that the income brackets used in the exit poll and the Current Population Survey do not exactly match the income brackets listed in the I.R.S.’s audit data, so I use the closest available approximations.)

This results in an estimate that about 380,000 of Mr. Romney’s voters were audited last year, as were about 480,000 of Mr. Obama’s voters.

Well.  It’s almost like the IRS audits low-income Americans far more than the wealthy because there are far more low-income Americans to audit, and they are much more likely to receive a refund from the government, and that these low-income Americans are primarily Obama voters.  It’s also almost like Peggy Noonan found a couple people who had been audited and concluded, without any evidence whatsoever, that they had been deliberately targeted because of their political views, and that she then dismissed every other possible explanation for the audits.

And then Nate Silver came along and said “Wow, this woman is insane, TO THE NATE CAVE” and then squished her.  Then he probably had a tasty beverage.

It tasted like victory and Noonan tears.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

175 replies
  1. 1
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    Outrage, no matter how unreasonable, will always beat data. Nate’s right but Noonan wins anyway.
    More people will be willing to believe that the IRS is evil than will look at columns of numbers and make their own decisions.

  2. 2
    Nicole says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    Outrage, no matter how unreasonable, will always beat data.

    I want to turn this into a sampler and hang it on the wall.

  3. 3
    Poopyman says:

    Noonan never cries, unless recalling Ronnie. Ain’t sufficiently self-aware.

  4. 4
    Anya says:

    How does Noonan explain the liberal groups like DailyKos, that were audited?
    Also, too, where was Noonan’s outrage When the IRS targeted liberals under Bush?

  5. 5
    Zandar says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: Sadly, true. The only question is how much additional GOP turnout this will generate in 2014.

  6. 6
    Just One More Canuck says:

    Zandar – you wrote “Fainting Couch”, I read “Farting Couch”

  7. 7
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    @Anya:

    It’s not her job to be even handed, consistent or reliable. Just to hold eyeballs near the advertisements. She’s the sad clown in the circus of our political discourse.

  8. 8
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    It tasted like victory and Noonan tears.

    And poor Noonan will cry all the way to the bank. Noonan and her ilk favor the cons because they’re both in the business of making shit up and then harrumphing about it. Who wants to do analysis or investigative reporting or fact checking when you can make big bucks with a quick harrumph?

  9. 9
    Senyordave says:

    We don’t need no stinkin’ data!

  10. 10
    nineone says:

    Outrage, no matter how unreasonable, will always beat data

    Only when the data is not on your side. Dame Peggington got got. Let us savor.

  11. 11
    c u n d gulag says:

    Nooners, you poor, poor, drunken old sod.

    Your love for Republican Ronnie went unrequited.

    So now, all you’re left with are memories of him and his hairy toes.
    And those memories are rapidly fading due to alcoholic dementia – and all of that self-loathing, and unfulfilled love, manifests itself in an open hatred for Democrats, and especially that “Uppity Nigrah” in the (NO LONGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) White (people’s) House.

    I hope the next time she’s choking on the olives in her 6th ‘min gartini, staken – not shirred,’ the bartender goes to take a pee, because s/he decides that administering the Heimlich maneuver again, wouldn’t be in the best interests of, “We the people.”

  12. 12
    Baud says:

    I like hearing Noonan whine about Obama. The more shrill they are, the better we’re doing.

  13. 13
    Kay says:

    This has everything that leads to horrible and deliberate misinformation; complicated rules, numbers, a timeline that can be jiggered to appear malicious even when it’s not.

    It is interesting that Noonan and others apparently feel they have to shift the focus from the political groups to individuals. They need a better narrative, I guess. A tactical shift. They wouldn’t be changing the story if they felt the story was resonating politically.

    Anyway, good for Nate Silver for applying his skills outside election analysis. He could really add light to this.

  14. 14
    Comrade Jake says:

    I’m just impressed that Silver even thought to do that analysis. He is, without doubt, one of the good guys in media.

  15. 15
    gene108 says:

    The real issue is who will the MSM gasbags use as a basis for reporting to the wider public?

    Noonan, with her heart wrenching story of an honest “Job Creator” being targeted by Obama for supporting Romney or Silver, with all his numbers and stuff ’cause math is hard, which is why I went to J-school?

    My bet is on Noonan-esque stories, no matter how wrong or misrepresentation they are.

  16. 16
    RSA says:

    Good God. Noonan’s column is a good example of why we should try to teach probability and statistics to all high schoolers, rather than leaving it until college for science, technology, engineering, and math students.

    He found himself last June, for the first time in 30 years, the target of IRS auditors.

    A few more observations: Silver says that the IRS audits, on average, about 1% of the population every year. What is the probability that you could go 30 years or more without an audit? That will happen about 74% of the time.

    That’s assuming no knowledge about this guy’s income, but he’s actually a millionaire, and Silver says that 12% of millionaires are audited each year. If he’s been a millionaire for 30 years, he should ask himself something different: How is it possible that he’s gotten away without being audited for so long? That will only happen 2% of the time; millionaires only have a 50% chance of going just 5 years without an audit. (So I’m guessing he’s a relatively recent millionaire.)

    It always strikes me as being strange that people can accumulate enormous wealth without understanding the basics of how numbers work. I guess that’s what accountants are for.

  17. 17
    f space that says:

    I believe David Cay Johnston wrote an article about poor and middle class folks getting audited more than the rich. Hmmm, I bet if you used the Google you could even find said article.

  18. 18
    Baud says:

    @RSA:

    Or he’s just flat out lying about not being audited for 30 years.

  19. 19
    Poopyman says:

    @f space that: Research is completely unnecessary when you already have a megaphone.

  20. 20
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @RSA:

    It always strikes me as being strange that people can accumulate enormous wealth without understanding the basics of how numbers work. I guess that’s what accountants are for.

    Perhaps he (the rich guy) understands perfectly well, but it lying his ass off in order to score points for his (political) side.

  21. 21
    Wag says:

    @RSA:

    I guess that’s what accountants are for.

    Ask an accountant what’s 2+2? and the answer is “What do you want it to be?”

  22. 22
    Patrick says:

    Isn’t Peggy Noonan the pundit who claimed that Romney would the election because Noonan had seen a couple of Romney signs on a few lawns?

    If so, why should I ever pay attention to her again?

    She is no different than Mark Halperin, who called the President of the United States the d-word. I haven’t paid attention the insignificant Halperin ever since.

  23. 23
    RSA says:

    @Baud:

    Or he’s just flat out lying about not being audited for 30 years.

    Occam’s razor.

  24. 24
    Kay says:

    It still amazes me how much opposition there is to Obamacare among paid conservatives and media.

    An election in 2008, a lengthy public debate, it got through Congress, they took it to the Supreme Court, they’ve fought it in every state, then ANOTHER election where Obama won (and they chose his name to attach to the law, remember) and still the battle continues. This law has been validated over and over and over.

    One almost has to admire that persistence and devotion to denying 40 million people access to healthcare. What is it about this thing that so terrifies them?

  25. 25
    f space that says:

    I’m really interested to see how this meme gains momentum. Obama targeted individuals based on speech or party affiliation. How does the IRS know of one’s party affiliation, where would it get this data? Do IRS agents go to each county and every precinct and get the voter registration rolls and then match them to the accounts? Do they monitor TV and email; maybe NSA helps with this part. How come Orly Taitz hasn’t been audited or Noonan herself?

  26. 26
    Chris says:

    @Anya:

    Also, too, where was Noonan’s outrage When the IRS targeted liberals under Bush?

    Thank you.

    Also – I swear to God I don’t understand where the scandal is, even if it IS true that conservative groups were targeted because they were conservative. The Bush administration targeted liberal groups because they were liberal; the Carter administration targeted white supremacist groups because they were white supremacists. This happens ALL THE TIME. People were pissed every time and hey, I might concede that it’s a dick maneuver, but I’ve never really thought much about it because to me a tax-exempt status is a privilege, not a right (certainly when the organization in question has the means to pay taxes).

  27. 27
    c u n d gulag says:

    @Kay:
    That it will work.

    They are completely incompetent, so they HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATE competence in others – especially, in the opposition party.

  28. 28
    Poopyman says:

    @f space that: Exactly! I wish someone would ask her on national TV when was the last time she was audited.

  29. 29
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    @Kay:

    One almost has to admire that persistence and devotion to denying 40 million people access to healthcare. What is it about this thing that so terrifies them?

    Two things:
    1) It reduces the colossal profits of big insurance and health care companies.
    2) It will be wildly successful and popular once it’s fully implemented. Successful social welfare programs undermine the right wing’s orthodox belief and selling point that all government is bad. Obamacare is a battle that the Right has to win in order to remain credible.

  30. 30
    MomSense says:

    OMG the conservatives must hate him. He is like an effeminate anti-christ to them. He keeps dashing all their beliefs.

  31. 31
    Kay says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    I don’t know yet, I supported it so I’m watching with interest, but just as a process, you can’t get much more “validation” of a law in our system than election, debate, congressional passage, supreme court, another election.

    If people had wanted to overturn Obamacare, they could have gotten rid of Obama in November. I mean, paid conservatives and media put his damn NAME on it.

    “Shoved down our throats!” Nonsense. It’s been through every branch of government, the executive TWICE. At some point they have to admit THEY are opposed to this law, and the hell with “process.”

  32. 32

    I think Nate kinda blew it here. The relevant question is, were rich Romney activists audited at a (statistically) significantly higher rate than other rich people? He doesn’t really attempt to answer that question, and the question he does answer – how many Romney supporters likely got audited – winds up requiring a good deal more analysis and numbers than the question he should have answered.

    The key fact is, to quote Nate, that “about 12 percent of individuals who made more than $1 million were audited in 2012.”

    So if there were 33 Romney supporters earning over $1 million a year who were publicly active on Romney’s behalf, you’d expect 4 of them to be audited, just by random chance.

    I’ll bet there were easily that many.

  33. 33
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    @Kay:

    To me the only validation of Obamacare that will matter is individual citizens deciding that they’re better of with it. Politicians on the right will keep telling us that it’s ebil Soshulism. When enough people see direct benefits in their lives the GOP’s and the Libertarians’ objections will fall on deaf ears.

  34. 34
    greennotGreen says:

    @low-tech cyclist: But to calculate that, wouldn’t Silver have to know how individuals voted? And as along as we have a secret ballot, that information is self-reported and anecdotal.

  35. 35
    Ken says:

    At least she’s consistent. “I saw a Romney yard sign last week, he’s going to win the election.” “I met a millionaire who got audited, Obama’s targeting millionaires.”

    There’s a reason for this, over-generalizing was very important to our ancestors (“I saw a bush rustling, there’s a tiger in it. I got sick last time I ate this plant, I’m never eating it again.”), but nowadays you really have to be able to override it.

  36. 36
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @RSA:

    If he’s been a millionaire for 30 years, he should ask himself something different: How is it possible that he’s gotten away without being audited for so long?

    You seem to be presuming randomness in selection for audits. I am not suggesting political motivation, but there are types of income generation, types of deductions, ratios of deductions to income, etc., that vastly increase one’s chances of being audited. I would guess that there are some people who are audited almost every year and some who can go 30 years without ever hearing a peep from the IRS.

  37. 37
    GregB says:

    The plural of Noonan is shitheels.

  38. 38
    Baud says:

    FWIW, the plural on Noonan is crazies.

  39. 39
    Chris says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    When they start running ads accusing liberal candidates of wanting to deny hardworking citizens their Obamacare rights (course, they’ll have to call it something else by then), that’s when you’ll know we’ve won.

    First they ignore you, then they laugh you, then they fight you, then you win, and then they try to claim credit for your win.

  40. 40
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Joy Reid got me to consider the hypothesis that Tom Coburn leaked the fake Benghazi emails to Jon Karl. I like the circumstantial stuff she brings up fine, but Coburn to my mind doesn’t have the motivation to shiv Obama like this.

    But my CT goes like this: Coburn doesn’t attend the Senate Intel Committee briefing that includes the emails. They aren’t allowed to take the actual emails out of the room, but they can make notes. So Coburn gets the notes from someone else. He thinks he’s dealing with actual quotes, and so when he leaks them to Karl, Karl himself thinks he’s dealing with the actual quotes and Tom Coburn as a source to back that up. And now everybody’s got egg on their face.

    In other words, the whole gotdam thing is a clusterfuck from the word go. The Republican base had their chance to demonize Obama/Hillary, and now the Democratic base is getting their chance to demonize an anonymous GOP source and a percieved GOP media shill. Karl can’t burn Coburn because he gave the quotes up in good faith (to Karl). Coburn won’t give up whoever he got the notes from because it was his stinking thinking that mistook a partisan take on the email for the actual email itself. Meanwhile, UMBRELLA.

    Our Congress hard at work for the American people, ladies and gentlemen.

  41. 41
    RSA says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    You seem to be presuming randomness in selection for audits. I am not suggesting political motivation, but there are types of income generation, types of deductions, ratios of deductions to income, etc., that vastly increase one’s chances of being audited.

    Yes, you’re right. I was oversimplifying.

  42. 42
    Tokyokie says:

    Years ago, I worked at the IRS, and learned that every return is given a score that roughly reflects the possibility of its being fraudulent. Claiming a deduction for in-home office expense? Writing off gambling losses? Classifying as a business an activity that consistently loses money and might be considered a hobby? All of those will cause your score to go up. But if the only income you report is W-2 earnings and you only claim the standard deduction and don’t use a Schedule A, your score will be very low.

    The IRS then audits escalating percentages of returns within ranges of scores. (IRS computers will also compare income statements from payers against what taxpayers report on their returns and generate letters of inquiry when payments are not found, and these, too, are considered “audits,” although they don’t involve a thorough examination of the return.) And although I understand the process was modified under the Bush administration to shift the auditing process more to lower-income strata and that cutbacks in IRS staffing have reduced the chances of an audit across the board, I believe the process is still roughly the same.

    Taxpayers in higher income brackets use more of the sorts of tax-avoidance devices that raise the scores of their returns than do taxpayers in lower income brackets. So although Nate Silver’s analysis isn’t exactly on the mark, it’s probably the best approximation possible using the data. Not that Nooners would understand any of that, but then, I doubt she does anything more with her taxes than sign the return an accountant has prepared.

  43. 43
    gnomedad says:

    At this precise moment in time, I regard “Peggy Noonan went to the Fainting Couch Superstore” as the most awesome phrase in the English language.

  44. 44
    Mike in NC says:

    It tasted like victory and Noonan tears.

    What’s the alcohol content of Peggy’s tears? I’ll take a guess at 20 proof.

  45. 45
    Steve Crickmore says:

    Nate Silver’s report is a red herring, Neither Noonan nor anyone else has talked about IRS discrimination to voters, that’s over half of all adult Americans. The concern was unwanted auditor attention to the donors of tea party groups. The bookish IRS auditors are as likely to be closet Republicans as closet Democrats, even more so, common sense tells you that.

    The real scandal is that as the Treasury’s Inspector General for tax administration report reveals, the rogué auditors overzealously required detailed lists of individual donors to those tea party affiliated groups applying to the tax exempt staus. The IRS also asked “unnecessary, burdensome” questions about donors and other sensitive information that, in some cases, the agency never needed or ended up using. The Teasury Inspector General blames this on “a lack of managerial review, at all levels, of questions before they were sent to organizations seeking tax-exempt status.”

  46. 46
    aimai says:

    @Baud: Also, when you file a new kind of return–like going from a married to a not married state, or having kids, or changing jobs, or moving across country, or filing for TAX EXEMPT STATUS you might reasonbly be expected to trigger some kind of flag and get audited because you are, you know, doing something different and changing your filing.

  47. 47
    Poopyman says:

    @Baud: @GregB:
    I’m totally fine with “crazy shitheels”.

  48. 48
    piratedan says:

    @Kay: kay, we’ve already seen them take food out the mouths of poor kids, what makes you think that grandma and grandpa have a chance with these assclowns. They’re ideological locusts, if they can take it, they will and these political sociopaths will sleep soundly knowing that by killing your grandparents that they prevented one T-Bone from being obtained all is right in their world.

  49. 49
    ppcli says:

    A conservative Catholic academic who has written for these pages faced questions about her meager freelance writing income.

    Don’t overlook this one, as it’s even more obviously bullshit – this is a case of a woman who simply didn’t report big chunks of her income, and is now howling outrage because she got caught.

    http://whiskeyfire.typepad.com.....r-now.html

  50. 50
    Kay says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    I don’t know about that, though, because the people who will most benefit from Obamacare are the people we don’t hear from. I don’t know that the numbers work. It’s 40 million mostly ignored people. It’s also gradual for those who are IN the system, so if there are benefits accruing, it won’t be “Obamacare IN = benefits for me!”
    It isn’t really a politically convenient law :)
    It’s difficult to sell and easy to attack, and part of that has to do with that fact that the groups who already get healthcare are the only people we ever hear from.

  51. 51
    Baud says:

    @Poopyman:

    Consensus!

  52. 52
    Poopyman says:

    Looking at the bobblehead lineup I see Nooners is on Dancing Dave’s show alongside Bob ” Benghazi Reminds Me of Watergate” Woodward. On the plus side, former POW and perpetual Senator John McCain is nowhere to be found.

  53. 53
    aimai says:

    @Kay: But Kay, the basic thing to realize about the opposition is that they don’t believe facts that make them uncomfortable. Look at any bumpkin thread under one of the periodic shootings of small children by other kids or by family members. A very high proportion of the comments will run the gamut from “this didn’t really happen” to “it happened but its not statistically signficant” to “they weren’t what I call responsible gun owners.”

    40 million people seems like a lot to you because you a) believe in their existence, b) can imagine their suffering, c) don’t really care to excavate their entire family history to find the reason they deserved to be without health care. Right there you can see the difference between you and the kind of people who are choosing to fight Obamacare. They simply don’t believe there was a problem, they don’t grasp the size and significance of the number 40 million, they think the true stories they hear are mere propaganda and in direct opposition to Balzac they don’t believe that “behind every great fortune lies a great crime” they think that behind every working poor person/minority person/single mother lies a great crime. They want to see those people suffer for their evil actions and they consider health care, a living wage, free public education and a lack of fear some kind of unfair reward for shiftlessness.

  54. 54
    Wapiti says:

    @Tokyokie: The IRS scoring system (the concept, anyway) was explained on the front page of the Seattle Times this year. The actual scoring values are still closely held. There are also various trades (construction, entertainment) that the IRS has found to be more likely to break rules and that affects their score.

    Digby had a post up yesterday: the National Organization for Marriage was complaining that a conservative writer had been audited – NOM thought it was clearly political. But in the body of the piece, their writer explains that she was audited for expenses that she took for writing. My wife does some small editing/writing jobs for non-profits. She doesn’t travel to meet her clients and frankly, there’s no expenses to deduct. If NOM’s writer was trying to claim a home office and the cost of a computer and smart phone (which she uses predominantly for other things), then yes, the IRS’s scoring will flag her for a possible audit.

  55. 55
    Patrick says:

    @Poopyman:

    Looking at the bobblehead lineup I see Nooners is on Dancing Dave’s show alongside Bob ” Benghazi Reminds Me of Watergate” Woodward.

    Ah, the poor Bob Woodward, the brave guy was “threatened” by the Obama White House. Woodward these days has as much credibility as Michele Bachmann.

  56. 56
    Chris says:

    @Poopyman:

    Bob ” Benghazi Reminds Me of Watergate” Woodward

    In the sense that Woodward is being used as a scribe for people in high places, yes…

  57. 57

    @aimai:
    Add to that: A very large number of them are seeing their way of life disappear. Morals they believe were almost universal a generation ago are now in the minority. We detest these ‘morals’ – homophobia, compulsory religion, racism, anti-intellectualism – and they were never as universal as these people think. Still, their way of life IS dying, and the last couple of elections have made that abundantly plain. They’re panicking and lashing out with all their strength at every sign that the Other is taking over. And you know, they’re right. The Other IS taking over. Tolerant multiculturalism has been growing steadily for the last half century.

  58. 58
    Poopyman says:

    @Chris: I suspect the majority of BJ readers do not pay attention to the Newsmax headlines up top, but that is the headline of one of the articles.

    Woodward: Benghazi Reminds Me of Watergate

  59. 59
    gene108 says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    When enough people see direct benefits in their lives the GOP’s and the Libertarians’ objections will fall on deaf ears.

    The GOP won’t be objecting to it, when it is popular.

    They will be taking credit for it, because Obamacare was originally their idea per (1) the 1993 Heritage Foundation proposal and (2) the Massachusetts healthcare plan that Republican governor Mitt Romney ushered in.

    The MSM will dutifully pass the Republicans significant role in creating Obamacare onto the public, as well as remind everyone that without these Republican ideas we’d never have gotten Obamacare off the ground.

  60. 60
    Bokonon says:

    Gee, Peggy, I thought that trying to kill the opposition party dead was the GOP’s explicit goal for the last decade or more. Remember Karl Rove’s thing about creating a “permanent Republican majority”? Remember the rank, overt, and corrupt pay-to-play system that Tom DeLay created in Congress through the K Street Project? I was there in DC at the time this all went down. I lived it. I’ve got the scars to show for it. The GOP didn’t just want to win elections. They explicitly wanted – and still WANTS – to destroy the Democratic Party. And the GOP actually did a pretty good job of executing on that plan in the south.

    This IRS thing is a GREAT opportunity to flip the narrative, and turn the GOP aggressors into victims.

  61. 61
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    @Kay:

    The timeline is definitely not on the Dems’ side here. Obamacare may be a liability for a generation the way the CRA was (though on a smaller scale to be sure). It’s definitely a negative for the next few presidential election cycles at least. But if we can hang on until demographics and wide positive experience favor us I think it’s permanent.

  62. 62
    JR in WV says:

    Noonan has no way to know why a given taxpayer is audited. She has no way to know if a taxpayer actually is audited at all, or is just claiming to have been audited.

    An audit doesn’t hurt if you have been honest with your accountant. Usually they just want to see an explanation of why your data seems inconsistent. Which is usually because they’re missing some of the data they need. Given that about half the voting population is conservative, it seems likely that half the people who were audited may have been conservative.

    There’s no scandal here at all. Just like the umbrella…

  63. 63
    gene108 says:

    @Bokonon:

    And the GOP actually did a pretty good job of executing on that plan in the south.

    I’ve often wondered how much the rapid collapse of state Democratic parties in the South was spurred on by Bush & Co. ratfucking.

    You went from Clinton and Gore carrying Tennessee and Arkansas in 1996 to those states being strong Republican states by 2004.

  64. 64
    jprfrog says:

    @RSA: To be even more concrete: On average, the garden-variety millionaire will be audited between 3 and 4 times over a period of 30 years. (A binomial distribution with n = 30 and p = .12 has an expected (mean, or average) value of n x p or .12 x 30 = 3.6.)

  65. 65
    Elizabelle says:

    @Kay:

    What is it about this thing (Obamacare) that so terrifies them?

    That talented peons will have more ability to change jobs, much as the wealthier and adequately-insured already enjoy.

    Obamacare has potential to be a real job creator. Let innovators and entrepreneurs start their own companies. Some competition for the big boys.

    And better preventative care may reduce care costs and will provide better outcomes.

    The deficit, you say? Obamacare reduces that too.

    And it’s the morally acceptable way to better allocate healthcare.

    Of course Nooners et al hate it.

  66. 66
    IowaOldLady says:

    @Kay: Why are they opposed, especially when much of it was their idea in the first place? Obama wanted it.

  67. 67
    phoebes-in-santa fe says:

    @Kay: You’ve said – beautifully – everything I’ve been asking for years. The height – so far, at least – of selfishness was the reaction of Jean Schmidt to the news – mistaken – that the healthcare law had been struck down by the Supreme Court.

    The amount of pure joy that woman and her supporters expressed that millions of people would be denied health care was the single most vile moment in public life I’ve ever seen. And I’m 62!

  68. 68
    hitchhiker says:

    @Ken:
    That’s what I was thinking. Those Romney yard signs spoke to her, and they told her that what she wanted to be true WAS true. She could feel it.

    The only way to defuse these people is to keep pointing and laughing. They’re amusing, like toddlers in need of a nap who are going to tip over asleep 2 minutes after the outburst. You don’t reason with them. So I say, YAY to Nate Silver for doing the arithmetic, and I also say that I’m looking forward to the hearings.

    What they want is to puff themselves up and hint darkly at the president (see what I did there?) about Nixonian tactics. What they’re gonna get is some office shlubs talking about the new laws that meant quadrupling their workload overnight.

    Maybe we’ll even get to hear about the laws themselves, eh? That would be good. I think for most of the USA the phrase “Citizens United” has exactly the inverse echo of “Benghazi.” It’s something the political types care about, for reasons too weird to waste time on. If people pay attention to hearings about the IRS, they ought to find out the truth — that every ridiculous Tea Party organization thinks of itself like a little church. Does the public want there to be tax exemptions or not? I’m guessing they do. Does the public want everybody who asks for a tax exemption to get it? I don’t think so.

  69. 69
    RSA says:

    @jprfrog:

    (A binomial distribution with n = 30 and p = .12 has an expected (mean, or average) value of n x p or .12 x 30 = 3.6.)

    I think I’m in love. :-)

  70. 70
    Anya says:

    Who do I complain to about being targeted by the IRS? They actually audited my 2010 tax returns because: 1) late filling; 2) went from meager earnings to making more money (thanks grandpa). Also, too, I let my cousin file my taxes. But I like to believe that I was targeted because I am a BJ commentor and I associate with the likes of SF and CS and other disputable characters.

  71. 71
    Bokonon says:

    @gene108: Follow the money. One of the prime things that the GOP did was to try and dry up the Democrat’s source of campaign funding – and starve them of their ability to counter the GOP’s barrage of media attacks (both advertising and the freebies handed out by right wing talk radio and Fox news). The GOP let corporations and large donors know … in no uncertain terms … that is was not safe for them to split their contributions between parties, and that contributions to the Democrats were watched.

    The Democrats faced difficult headwinds in the south because of culture war politics anyway. But being starved for funds put them on the defensive … and the GOP has rolled right over them.

  72. 72
    MomSense says:

    @IowaOldLady:

    It is not the mandate that upsets Republicans. The individual mandate is the part of healthcare reform that Republicans like. They hate the medical loss ratio which requires insurance companies to spend 80-85% on actual health care. And there are regulations about what constitutes actual health care now.

    The other thing that they absolutely hate is the thing that they know is coming because Sebelius convened a committee in 2009 to start planning it and the President referred to it in one sentence in his SoTU speech. The Medicare reimbursement system is about to change dramatically. Instead of reimbursing in a fee for service model, reimbursements will be based on a best practice treatment plan per condition. Mayo Clinic spends less per patient but has better outcomes –doesn’t run every test possible which brings more money to the hospitals but doesn’t necessarily lead to better treatment or outcomes. So now Medicare will expect hospitals to follow these best practices and eliminate a lot of unnecessary expense.

  73. 73
    PaulW says:

    Drunk Nate Silver remains victorious and has another beer.

  74. 74
    IowaOldLady says:

    @MomSense: That all makes sense to me.

    I was at this Preparing for Retirement thing the other night, and the speaker was talking about rising health care costs. She asked the audience to guess the reasons and the first guess was from one of the many Angry Old White Guys present: Obamacare.

    The speaker said her numbers were from before Obamacare (to which I say, why?) and her answer was prescription drugs and long term care.

    I wanted to say Obamacare was already bending the curve on rising costs, but no way was I jumping into that nasty arena.

  75. 75
    rikyrah says:

    Noonan is writing drunk and stupid

  76. 76
    Smiling Mortician says:

    @IowaOldLady: Also too, it was their idea back when they were at all interested in solving problems (remember when Republicans actually put at least minimal effort into governing? *wistful sigh*). Now they hate Obamacare for many/all of the reasons cited upthread but mostly because it will solve problems for large numbers of average American citizens. They hate that. We’ve reached the point where Republicans don’t want to solve problems for average Americans, even if the solution is their own idea, because they just can’t maintain their tenuous grasp on power if people’s suffering decreases.

  77. 77
    MomSense says:

    @IowaOldLady:
    One of the more cynical aspects of all of the Obamacare fear mongering is that Republicans were knowingly using the individual mandate that was their idea to drum up the outrage. If they went around saying insurance companies will have to spend your premiums on actual health care and not on salaries and lobbying what would the response have been? But the firebaggers also left out the Medial Loss Ratio because that would not have fit in with their fear mongering about ObamaCare being a big handout to corporations. And then they teamed up with the far right in opposition. Things that make you go hmmmm.

    Interestingly one of the problems with Romneycare in Mass is that it didn’t have the Medical Loss Ratio and so cost containment was not one of its strong points.

  78. 78
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: You took the words out of my mouth (and, no doubt, improved them)… I read the posting and noted Noonan’s evidence of, well, essentially hysteria. Silver presents evidence — statisical anaysis. But the right-wing rage machine won’t hear/ponder such information. All they know is that they have been wronged and heads must roll! Rinse and repeat ad nauseum.

  79. 79
    debbie says:

    I just watched ABC’s Clown Revue, and while there was plenty of time to talk about the AP and the IRS, there was not a single peep about the doctored Benghazi emails. I’d have thought at minimum there would be a retraction or maybe an apology for abusing the press’s promise to seek the truth. But there was nothing.

  80. 80
    pat says:

    So Nooners is invited on Dancing Dave’s Right Wing Talking Points and will say exactly what she has written, and everyone will nod and tsk tsk and Bob Woodward with talk about Watergate.

    I feel sick.

  81. 81
    PurpleGirl says:

    Re Chances of being audited: Back in the 1980s when I was doing a Schedule C, my accountant told me not to claim the whole of Con Ed or phone charges. He said that amount would look out of proportion to what I was said I was making as a freelance typist. Yes, the home office thing was tricky to do. So we figured out a percentage to use that covered some of the expenses. It was a good strategy.

  82. 82
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate: Yes, yes, yes! There is a great living to be had in harrumphing, obfuscating, and mis-informing!

    Here’s something I wonder about though… After about five years now of having to witness the shit storm of lies and insults that conservatives have thrown at our president, are we more — or less — likely to give a conservative voice a chance if we’re stupid enough to elect one president in ’16? The day AFTER Obama was elected, I began seeing idiots posting comments on the web such as “Worst president ever!” I cannot begin to express my own level of resentment and indignation over such idiocy. I don’t know that I would be able anymore to maintain perspective and be unemotional over a Republican presidential misstep in the future. Am I alone on this?

    Here’s what I wonder: what becomes of our body politic if we all absolutely detest “the other side”? Now, of course, if we DO have a Republican president again in the future and a Democratic-led Congress, no doubt our elected Democratic officials will roll over and allow the Repub to steamroll his agenda through Congress. That’s the way it seems to work.

    I find myself wanting to move to the gated community of Blueburbia, where people value education and the environment, where you can suggest that we all share a societal duty to help raise each other’s children and not be labeled a communist. I will glower across the wide and raging river at my neighbors to the south, The Confederacy of Redstatia and wonder what the hell happened to this country.

    Well, West of the Rockies… dramatic much?

  83. 83
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    @Kay:
    What is it about this thing [Obamacare] that so terrifies them?
    Long term, it will completely sever your health care from your employer.

    Should ACA get implemented in full (still precarious— we’re just one President Christie away from full repeal, with nothing to replace), “the poors” will no longer be a sub-healthy undercaste, slaves in all but name. And those in the middle classes, no longer in total thrall to their employers, will be much more likely to start their own businesses.

    Noonan’s clientele despises anything that would bring so much economic freedom, to so many.

  84. 84
    Downpuppy says:

    @ppcli: I’d seen the Whiskey Fire story on a link from Charlie Pierce , and yep, it’s Rule #1: Don’t let the client talk to the agent.

    The scary part is that the Blazer loons are 100:1 against the obvious fact that it was a routine Scheule C audit. That a woman writing supposed economic articles could be as clueless as 10 Megans – ouch.

  85. 85
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    3) Spite.

  86. 86
    IowaOldLady says:

    @The Other Chuck: Exactly. It’s what gets them out of bed in the morning.

  87. 87
    WereBear says:

    @RSA: It always strikes me as being strange that people can accumulate enormous wealth without understanding the basics of how numbers work. I guess that’s what accountants are for.

    I just got finished watching the Jason Statham movie, Safe. The little girl who is pivotal to the plot keeps getting asked if she understands “business.” Which seems to consist of people getting bribed and then shot. A lot.

    I believe that is the sense of business operational with a lot of these ruthless people with a lot of money. What makes a gangster is the head shot when things get frustrating. Right up to that point… you are a “business person.”

  88. 88
    JPL says:

    OT.. The President is going to address the graduation class of Morehouse College shortly. One of the graduates is Genarlow Wilson who was convicted of aggravated child molestation because he had oral sex while 17 with a 15 year old. It was consensual. He was sentenced to a ten year prison term. The GA Supreme Ct. overturned his conviction after 3 years. Congratulations go to Mr. Wilson, who refused to give up.

  89. 89
    Violet says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    2) It will be wildly successful and popular once it’s fully implemented. Successful social welfare programs undermine the right wing’s orthodox belief and selling point that all government is bad. Obamacare is a battle that the Right has to win in order to remain credible.

    If it’s fully implemented and a success, wingnuts will claim it as their own.

  90. 90
    StringOnAStick says:

    Considering how polls show that most people find the Tea Party in general to be disreputable and offensive, I seriously doubt that an IRS “scandal” is going to have much traction with most folks. At least, I hope so though I know that relying on rational thought happening with my fellow citizens is how I’ve been disappointed many, many times before.

    Their continuing to harp on it makes it all the more clear to more people that Citizens United created a bullshit class of organizations that are classified as “social welfare” organizations that can NOT have politics as their primary activity, and everyone knows that the Tea Party is all about politics. They are doing an even better job of exposing this BS wink N’ nudge designation than Stephen Colbert did with his Super PAC. Keep up the good work, boys!

  91. 91
    raven says:

    Obama to the Morehouse graduates:

    Some of you graduated

    magna cum laude

    Some of you graduated

    summa cum laude

    some of you just graduated

    thank the laude!!!

  92. 92
    Meg says:

    It tasted like victory and Noonan tears.

    Are you sure it does not taste like Votka and whiskey?

  93. 93
    pokeyblow says:

    So Jindal, Boehner, and probably others have specifically said people should go to jail for the IRS “scandal.”

    I may well be remembering incorrectly, but I don’t recall lots of democrats saying out loud that people should go to jail for the Iraq war and war crimes. And Obama has said the very opposite… out loud.

    Why can’t democrats fucking fight?

  94. 94
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    @StringOnAStick:

    The first question in my mind when the IRS scandalette erupted from the media was “how can something with ‘Party’ in the name NOT be scrutinized for claiming not to be primarily political?”

    Media consumers will continue to be aware of the issue (if dimly) until the next shiny thing comes into view. My money’s on a celebrity breakup or pregnancy.

  95. 95
    JoyfulA says:

    @StringOnAStick: The local newspaper surveyed all the TPers they could find to ask them about their IRS experience. No local group had a problem, and we have some loud TPers around here. One group near Pittsburgh complained, as did one in Philadelphia. One near Philadelphia ranted about all the paperwork required, dumb questions, etc., and then said she dropped the request for tax exemption because the most they’ve ever had in their treasury is $200.

    Going by this, there doesn’t seem to be a big nationwide problem. I wonder how many of the audited groups also noted on their forms that they were also Sovereign Citizens or somesuch.

  96. 96
    Violet says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: I’m thinking something bigger. Unexpected celebrity death, with possibly drug overdose or murder involved. That allows the media to cover the story and also bring in “experts” to talk about addiction or whatever.

  97. 97
    jayjaybear says:

    @gnomedad: It’s like Ikea but instead of meatballs, they have a gin bar.

  98. 98
    Hill Dweller says:

    @pokeyblow: Boehner is the weakest Speaker in history. Jindal’s approval ratings have tanked after a series of political/policy failures. Both are desperate to regain approval from the wingnuts, but that sort of hyperbole makes them look foolish.

  99. 99
    kyle says:

    Shorter Nate Silver: Hey Peggy, tell us about the lawn signs!

  100. 100
    Baud says:

    @raven:

    LOL.

  101. 101
    TR says:

    Front page story in the NYTimes today that pretty clearly shows the Cincinnati office was just mismanaged and buried under a flood of applications that came post-Citizens United. This “scandal” is looking almost as empty as Benghazi! does.

  102. 102
    Yatsuno says:

    The number one trigger for an audit? The Earned Income Tax Credit. In fact, every EITC claim is automatically reviewed every year and the vast majority of people have no idea. Number two is claiming a dependent. The home office deduction is also highly scrutinised because it has a high rate of being abused as a tax shelter, but those are not as commonly claimed as EITC. As long as your ducks are in a row an audit isn’t some scary thing, but it’s when things aren’t that people squak.

    Oh and this:

    He found himself last June, for the first time in 30 years, the target of IRS auditors. His wife and his business were also soon audited

    I call bullshit.

  103. 103
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    As usual, Republicans are spewing bullshit. They don’t care what they say — whether it’s true, false, unknown, or unknowable — as long as they think it’ll gain them political traction. Bullshit is the alpha and the omega of Republican political advocacy.

  104. 104
    mellowjohn says:

    @Patrick: wait. you paid attention to him before that?

  105. 105
    Downpuppy says:

    @Hill Dweller: Boehner is no weaker than Denny Hastert, who was Bush to Tom Delay’s Cheney, maybe moreso.

  106. 106
    Yatsuno says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder: We may be saved yet. Kate’s about to pop, as is Kim Kardashian. No please don’t ask me how I know.

  107. 107
    jl says:

    Noonans, Noonaneses, Nooni? I give up, what is it?

    But, thanks Zandar, for noting Silver’s analysis that debunks some of the nonsense being spread around.

    I guess I have to find time to read that IG report. I read that groups were targeted all across the political spectrum, and the only group that actually had its tax exemption pulled was a liberal group.

    So, why all the fuss over the teabaggers? Were they the only ones subject to the notorious key word search? But, were only big reactionary political groups let off the hook, or were big Peterson ‘muddle middle’ and liberal groups let off the hook too? (edited for spelling, but I like ‘ott’ and think it should be a word)

  108. 108
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Anya: Why are we supposed to care about Noonan again? Skip her and keep your sanity.

    And my understanding of the IRS scandal is that T’Bagger groups were the vast majority of those requesting tax exemption so of course they were the most audited. Plus, the only group to be denied tax exemption status was one on the left.

  109. 109
    TR says:

    I love how the right is portraying this as some kind of invasive witch hunt.

    Political groups tried t take advantage of a tax exemption intended for groups that provide “social welfare” measures. They voluntarily sent in their application for the exemption, and were stunned to see that the IRS looked at their files closely because their names seemed to suggest their primary role was not, in fact, running a soup kitchen or a donated clothing center.

    Truly, this is worse than a zillion Watergates and a million Iran Contra scandals.

  110. 110
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @RSA:

    It always strikes me as being strange that people can accumulate enormous wealth without understanding the basics of how numbers work.

    Most of them know how numbers work. They’re just bullshitting to deceive the (innumerate) general public into adopting their political views. This is, I think, Republican Propaganda Technique #87383882. Or it could be #984949938838. I gotta look it up.

  111. 111
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Downpuppy: Bullshit. Boehner has been repeatedly humiliated, and essentially abdicated his responsibilities. When was the last time a Speaker refused to do anything until the Senate went first?

  112. 112
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Zandar: The fact that Obama is Black is enough to generate T’Bagger turnout in 2014. I can’t see Repubs getting any mileage out of any of these “scandals” that they can’t get just because Obama is a socialist, communist, Muslim, Nazi, secularist Kenyan. Their hatred is enough.

  113. 113
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @Baud:

    @RSA:

    Or he’s just flat out lying about not being audited for 30 years.

    I would be shocked, shocked to learn that a Republican would lie.

  114. 114
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @Kay:

    One almost has to admire that persistence and devotion to denying 40 million people access to healthcare. What is it about this thing that so terrifies them?

    Um, that Obamacare’ll become popular, thereby persuading some people to switch their political allegiance to Democrats?

  115. 115
    quannlace says:

    Ain’t this the same Noonan who wrote that hilarious article before the election, predicting a Romney landslide. Her evidence? A feeling she could feel, spreading throughout the land. Things are turning, turning! Also, she’d seen a couple of Romney lawn signs.

  116. 116
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @Patrick: And because she felt it in her “gut”. Hmmmm. Wonder what she had eaten the night before her prediction.

  117. 117
    Yatsuno says:

    @Hill Dweller: Hastert was weak only in the sense of waiting until Dubya said he could do something before bringing a bill to the floor. In fact I’m trying to think of an instance where Hastert initiated an action before the Dark Lord told him to jump and precisely how high. I’m drawing a blank. When it came to marshalling the troops Hastert was all over that.

  118. 118
    jl says:

    And, were only teabagger groups asked about donor and membership lists. That is the aspect that bothers me the most, regarding setting precedents for future abuses. Was that done only to teabagger groups?

  119. 119
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @Chris:

    but I’ve never really thought much about it because to me a tax-exempt status is a privilege, not a right (certainly when the organization in question has the means to pay taxes).

    Sorry, but bullshit. Government violates the 1st Amendment when it uses political affiliation to decide how to dispense benefits, even benefits that are “privileges” instead of “rights”, such as, say, driver’s licenses.

  120. 120
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @jl: it’s all because of that IRS official’s public statement about using keywords to flag applications for extra scrutiny. IMHO what the defense ought to have been was that the agency is charged with sniffing out inappropriate political activity by nominal “social welfare organizations,” and that a surge in political activity from conservatives naturally landed conservative organizations on the list for closer monitoring, the end. IOW, what happened was not “targeting of conservatives,” but targeting of political activity beyond a legally-defined threshold, much but not all of which was by conservatives because many new groups submitting applications were conservative.

  121. 121
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Patrick: Isn’t Peggy Noonan the pundit who claimed that Romney would the election because Noonan had seen a couple of Romney signs on a few lawns?
    If so, why should I ever pay attention to her again?

    I always wonder if the people who take Nooners seriously have really forgotten about the Magic Dolphins column, or if they genuinely don’t consider that do be a sign of eccentricity, if not actual madness. “We mustn’t question her faith…” There are plenty of other reasons she would be dismissed in a rational world, both the substance and the theatrical mugging of her “just walk on by” moment, for example, but if she used her WSJ real estate to make a political argument based on what the Virgin Mary or St Michael had told her in a dream, would she be on the Sunday shows as a VSP? Well, probably.

  122. 122
    Yatsuno says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    IOW, what happened was not “targeting of conservatives,” but targeting of political activity beyond a legally-defined threshold, much but not all of which was by conservatives because many new groups submitting applications were conservative

    The other problem is there was zero direction from the upper echelons of management about what the exact definitions were. So when the Cincinnati office got inundated with claims they just made shit up as they went along and it blew up. What I find interesting is that TIGTA actually released the results of the investigation publicly. That’s very uncommon.

  123. 123
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow: But “political affiliation” can mean a lot of things. It might be unlawful to deny rights or benefits to Democrats or Republicans or Marxists or Communitarians, but is it unlawful to deny them to politically affiliated people tout court if there’s a law saying that political activity tout court is forbidden?

  124. 124
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @Poopyman:

    @Chris: I suspect the majority of BJ readers do not pay attention to the Newsmax headlines up top, but that is the headline of one of the articles.
    Woodward: Benghazi Reminds Me of Watergate

    Whatever you do, Republicans, don’t throw us in the Impeachment Patch! We’ll die die die in there!

  125. 125
    jl says:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow: And, sadly, “Benghazi!” reminds me of what Woodward has become.

    Edit: though a few old war horses in the corporate news media have decided that “Benghazi!” might be the big new thing, and have been chomping on it furiously.

  126. 126
    jl says:

    @FlipYrWhig: thanks.

  127. 127
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @JR in WV:

    Noonan has no way to know why a given taxpayer is audited. She has no way to know if a taxpayer actually is audited at all, or is just claiming to have been audited.

    In the world Noonan inhabits, actually knowing something is very far down on the list of things that matter to her.

  128. 128
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Yatsuno: good point. Still, “tea party” and such seem to me to be entirely appropriate red-flag words for inappropriate political activity by tax-exempt groups circa 2010-13. If critics of Obama from the left had owned the name “firebaggers” and created a bunch of nominally apolitical organizations to raise money, it would also be appropriate to red-flag that. The right uses shibboleths more consistently than the left does.

  129. 129
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow: But “political affiliation” can mean a lot of things. It might be unlawful to deny rights or benefits to Democrats or Republicans or Marxists or Communitarians, but is it unlawful to deny them to politically affiliated people tout court if there’s a law saying that political activity tout court is forbidden?

    That depends on context. It would violate the 1st Amendment to prohibit political activity on the public sidewalks (though it can be modestly limited in time, place, and manner). On the other hand, it probably doesn’t violate the 1st Amendment to deny tax-exempt status to all groups whose primary purpose is to engage in political activity.

  130. 130
    Ruckus says:

    @Kay:
    What terrifies the “job creators” is that they lose control. If one of the main things they use to keep working people from figuring out that they have a crappy job and can move because they won’t loose health care actually works they are done. Also they have to actually pay something for the people they screw over now in not providing any health care now.
    In other words it’s about the money. They are whores who are addicted to money and will do anything for more. They are not rational, and trying to understand them in a rational way will not work.

  131. 131
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @FlipYrWhig: because Edit Comment isn’t working on this iPad, I’ll just add here: (and created a bunch of organizations with “Firebag” in their names)

  132. 132
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    “tea party” and such seem to me to be entirely appropriate red-flag words for inappropriate political activity by tax-exempt groups circa 2010-13. If critics of Obama from the left had owned the name “firebaggers” and created a bunch of nominally apolitical organizations to raise money, it would also be appropriate to red-flag that.

    Agreed. But it does seem that the enforcement of 501(c)(4) is uneven, favoring large groups over small ones.

  133. 133
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    @FlipYrWhig: because Edit Comment isn’t working on this iPad

    It’d be nice if they’d fix that (and the sockialism bug, etc.) rather than tinkering with the fonts. Just sayin’.

  134. 134
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @Ruckus:

    @Kay:
    What terrifies the “job creators” is that they lose control. If one of the main things they use to keep working people from figuring out that they have a crappy job and can move because they won’t lo[]se health care actually works they are done.

    Good point.

  135. 135
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow: yes. It’s not like the government is saying “no anti tax groups shall organize”.

  136. 136
    WereBear says:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow: Right now, the health care burden for people who work at WalMart is thrown on the taxpayers. The “Job Creators” get away with cost-shifting. under Obamacare, they don’t.

  137. 137
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @jl:

    Edit: though a few old war horses in the corporate news media have decided that “Benghazi!” might be the big new thing, and have been chomping on it furiously.

    Don’t they know that 4 out of 5 dentists surveyed say that that causes tooth decay?

  138. 138
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow:

    I know of at least one instance where one of these clowns doesn’t seem to know how numbers work, and with the business he’s running he should be much wealthier than he is, but he’s too innumerate and blinded by his wingtard ideology to do anything about it.

  139. 139
    Tonal (visible) Crow says:

    @WereBear: Shorter Walmart: Sockialism for me, “free market capitalism” for thee.

  140. 140
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow:

    DING DING DING DING DING!

    The dirty little secret of the 1%

  141. 141
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Ruckus:

    What terrifies the “job creators” is that they lose control.

    And St. Ronnie forbid that any of them might actually have to compete for workers.

  142. 142
    Baud says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The only thing you really need to know about numbers in business is making sure you have enough cash to pay expenses. A lot of business folks are “numbers” people, but they know how to make and sell the product or service their selling.

  143. 143
    Baud says:

    @Baud:

    That should be “aren’t” numbers people.

  144. 144
    karen says:

    Let me simplify things.

    The Teapublicans hate Obamcare because they want poor people to die because they’re economic Darwinists. Any poor that gets any help with medical costs is one less poor that will die and when a poor person doesn’t die that makes Teapublicans “deserved” medical care seem less deserved and less special.

    The only thing that’s worse to a Teapublican than a poor person living is when a brown person lives. Every brown person that doesn’t die from a completely preventable disease with health insurance is an attack on their freedom. You know, like how every gay marriage is an attack on their straight marriages.

    And yes it’s a brown person. White poors are fine for them because that’s who vote them in and there aren’t enough riches to win the election without them.

    And THAT is why it galls them so much that they actually NEED Latinos and African Americans to win the Presidency next time.

  145. 145
    Tokyokie says:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow: That is probably the result of the large groups being able to afford better legal talent to draw up the documents in the first place and to defend the submissions when questioned. My guess is that the smaller groups aren’t being targeted per se, it’s just that they’re more likely to screw up the paperwork and be denied tax-exempt status.

  146. 146
    Chris says:

    @West of the Rockies:

    The day AFTER Obama was elected, I began seeing idiots posting comments on the web such as “Worst president ever!” I cannot begin to express my own level of resentment and indignation over such idiocy

    This.

    I was mostly disgusted by the number of Well Thinking Very Serious “Moderates” and “Centrists” who’d given Bush six years’ worth of chances before beginning to concede that okay, now we may have a problem, but who suddenly decided, within one semester of Obama’s inauguration, that he was too extreme and not getting the job done and what he was going was not okay.

    If nothing else, the Obama presidency’s been an object lesson for me in how the two parties are not treated equally in the media or in Official Washington opinion, and the Democrats most definitely have the short end of the stick. (Too young to remember much about Clinton).

  147. 147
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @WereBear:

    Right now, the health care burden for people who work at WalMart is thrown on the taxpayers.

    Not just the healthcare burden, as much as 80% of Walmart employees get food stamps. In all, Walmart employees receive $2.66 billion in government aid annually.

    LINK

  148. 148
    👽 Martin says:

    @Ruckus:

    What terrifies the “job creators” white people is that they lose control.

    Job creators are just a subclass. The Tea Party is the proper representative body. Seriously, white people in this country are slowly losing their shit to a black president, gay marriage, mexican immigrants, poor people that get just a tiny bit more dignity every time a Democrat gets elected (very small praise for Democrats here) and so on. Increasing numbers are learning how to cope with this, but that only panics those being left behind even more as their numbers decrease, their solidarity has to grow. Unhinged is an inevitable state.

  149. 149
    Chris says:

    @Ruckus:

    What terrifies the “job creators” is that they lose control.

    This. It’s my firm belief that it’s not the money they miss most about the Gilded Age, but the power and status that comes from being able to control the lives of all the little people. And it’s also why they don’t really care how much damage they do to the economy. If America spirals down into complete third-world-country status, but they get to be at the top, then as far as they’re concerned it’s a worthwhile trade-off.

  150. 150
    Ruckus says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    Decades ago I owned a manufacturing business that had to compete for highly skilled workers from a pool that wasn’t big enough. I paid high wages and health care for two reasons.
    1. They earned it.
    2. It was how I could get and keep good talent.
    But then we lost a lot of our business to off shoring in our industry and the failure of the system to provide training for people to do skilled labor rather that just go to college and do what?
    So now few small business provide health care insurance because it is way too expensive. And I’m saying that as someone who used to purchase health care insurance and had to spend way too much time dealing with it. Deciding which company had the best plan per dollar, trying to stay not only competitive but actually in business. The ACA will help greatly with that. I wish we had had something like that decades ago, my life would have been better, my employees lives would have been better, and we as a country may have been able to stay competitive in manufacturing, because we may not have gone down the wallyworld path of always the cheapest shit regardless of the quality.
    The cost and disease of a lack of health care and the decisions that it spawned or allowed have damaged this country greatly.

  151. 151
    gene108 says:

    @Ruckus:

    What terrifies the “job creators” is that they lose control. If one of the main things they use to keep working people from figuring out that they have a crappy job and can move because they won’t loose health care actually works they are done

    I don’t get this line of logic.

    Most employers hate paying for health care, because not only is it an ever increasing cost of doing business, but especially for small businesses, you are very vulnerable to a catastrophic claiming completely screwing up your rates, i.e. businesses are incentivised to make sure they do not hire the elderly or people with chronic conditions.

    Businesses would rejoice to no longer have to carry health insurance expenses on their books and not have to worry, if someone’s heart attack or cancer diagnosis would make them very hard to insure in the small to medium sized group markets or at least get them stuck with a doubling (at the least) of their insurance premiums.

    In all honesty, the individual market isn’t going to be immediately a boon to people wanting options to group insurance, but over the course of a few years it may work out that way.

    Right now the individual market is going to sop up the people, who need insurance but don’t have it or are under insured through their employers. This is going to cause individual premiums to be not very competitive compared to group premiums.

    When the penalties for not taking insurance get high enough that the 20-somethings decide to get insurance, then you’ll see the individual market start to level off / drop with regards to premiums and maybe become a viable alternative to employer based coverage.

    Also, too the provisions on Obamacare essentially double down on the employer provided insurance model rather than try to move to everyone having their own coverage. Employers get dinged, if people aren’t on their insurance, even if they have their own personal insurance, so employers have an incentive now to make sure people don’t get their own plans.

  152. 152
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Kay:

    It is interesting that Noonan and others apparently feel they have to shift the focus from the political groups to individuals. They need a better narrative, I guess. A tactical shift. They wouldn’t be changing the story if they felt the story was resonating politically.

    So they pick a victim with a name like VanderSloot? Good luck with that.

  153. 153
    Ruckus says:

    @👽 Martin:
    How many of the “job creators” are in the tea party? None? Yeah I thought so. The “jc” are using the tea party to make noise.
    Yes the tea party is old white people losing their shit for all the reasons you state, but you have it backwards. All the tea party has is noise. They get their money to operate from the rich who want them to make noise because it is convenient and useful and costs the rich very little.

  154. 154
    karen says:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow:

    Sorry, but bullshit. Government violates the 1st Amendment when it uses political affiliation to decide how to dispense benefits, even benefits that are “privileges” instead of “rights”, such as, say, driver’s licenses.

    Oh really? So if a group applies to be tax exempt because their purpose is “social-welfare” and they’re really a political group you have no problem with that? Or is it only when you agree with the political group?

  155. 155
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Ruckus:

    But then we lost a lot of our business to off shoring in our industry and the failure of the system to provide training for people to do skilled labor rather that just go to college and do what?

    I was a machinist/CNC programmer for decades. Watching that all unfold just made me sick.

  156. 156
    Ruckus says:

    @gene108:
    Businesses would rejoice to no longer have to carry health insurance expenses on their books and not have to worry,

    That certainly would be the logical thought process. It is mine and as I said I would have been one of those business people in the past. I’d have given my left nut for the ACA 30-40 years ago.
    But you are expecting logical thought processes here and they are much rarer than you could possibly believe. Many small business people have bought into the conservative mind meld that all government is bad and will only screw them, never help. Never. Ever. So they see this as another power grab by the government and the evil insurance companies that will make them spend even more money and take away their little levers of power.
    You can’t apply logic to stupidity.

  157. 157
    Ruckus says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    That’s the business. Probably different product but using the same tools.
    We owned our first NC machine in 1973, cutting 3 dimensional paths, all hand coded.

  158. 158
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Ruckus:
    I still have the HP14 (With RPN) that I used to do programming. In the early days of CNC I used the HP14 and Lotus 123 to point plot circular interpolation for the mills and radii for the lathes.

  159. 159
    Ronzoni Rigatoni says:

    @raven: LOL Tears LOL Laude have mercy LOLOLOL

  160. 160
    karen says:

    @pokeyblow:

    Why can’t democrats fucking fight?

    It’s not that they can’t fight. It’s that the Blue Dog Democrats are the only kind of Democrats that win election in red states. Therefore they won’t fight because they want to win elections more than they care about their party but they’re too “liberal” to be Republicans. But they vote with Democrats on certain issues.

    Let’s not also forget who pays their bills. Unless they’re independently wealthy and need NO money from anyone else, all politicians are owned by special interests and who have the most money? Banks. Insurance Companies. Chemical Companies. Oil Companies. NRA. Not only is their vote bought and sold but during primary season and election season they can be outspent. If they won’t play ball, the special interests will find someone who will. And right now, the causes popular with Conservatives are the ones who have the real money. Michael Bloomberg is the only one with deep enough pockets with his anti-gun group and he STILL gets outspent by the NRA.

    And this is ALL POLITICIANS. Every single fucking one. Democrat. Republican. Independent. Anyone.

    You want to know when Dems will start fighting, pokeyblow? When causes that are popular with liberals have as deep pockets as the Conservatives causes.

  161. 161
    Chris says:

    @Tonal (visible) Crow:

    Then, just so we’re clear, the Carter era federal government’s abolition of tax-exempt status for all white “Christian” academies in the Deep South was unconstitutional?

  162. 162
    karen says:

    @JD Rhoades:

    So they pick a victim with a name like VanderSloot? Good luck with that.

    So they’re a fan of Gossip Girl?

  163. 163
    Ruckus says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    A little one upmanship then. When I started programing I used a slide rule and logarithms. We moved up to using a large desktop adding machine because that was better than the slide rule and trig calculators hadn’t been marketed yet.

  164. 164
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Ruckus:

    I consider myself thoroughly one-upped. Although I never used it for programming I still have my log-log-trig slide rule. I take it out once a year and work with it for a few hours. I figure that at some point I’ll be one of a handful of people on the planet who can still use a slide rule.

  165. 165
    Ruckus says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    And now I’ve been one upped. I can’t remember the last time I even saw my slide rules. Yes I said rules as I seem to recall I owned 3 at one time. I also programed an accounting program on punch cards in fortran class in college. Aww, the shitty old days. The other day one of the younger folks at my part time machinist job(OK, that’s everyone else including the boss and I’ve got about 14 yrs on him) asked some question and I asked him if he knew what a slide rule was. He had no clue what I was talking about. And yet I’m the only one there with a trig calculator.

  166. 166
    Benny says:

    Um… to be fair, I don’t think you can use a calculation which “assumes that an individual’s chance of being audited was related to their income, but not to their political views” to prove that an individual’s chance of being audited was related to their income, but not to their political views.

    That said, Nooners is still full of shit.

  167. 167
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @Ruckus:

    Just to show how things work out, I now live in the town where one of the small shops I worked in is located. I ran into the owner’s son, now the owner, and introduced myself. After we chatted a while about the business in general and my work experience in particular he asked me if I’d be interested in working for him. He’s unable to find trained people and training the people he does hire is expensive and limited in effectiveness because they haven’t even a nodding familiarity with geometry, let alone trig. I thanked him for his interest and declined.

  168. 168
    Kathleen says:

    @Violet: It would be best if the story were about a fake celebirty committing a fake murder. Any new “scandals” that divert attention from these “scandals” need to be fake. Sort of like the football player’s fake romance with a fake girl. (Did we cross some kind of Pop Culture Rubicon with the media frenzy over that story?)

  169. 169
    Ruckus says:

    @Higgs Boson’s Mate:
    A little part of my job is to help train people for the same reason. I’ve been doing training for such a long time and I have the patience for it. Thirty-fourty years ago we always had apprentices, to help and to get trained people. But there just are not enough shops with the long term outlook that training is absolutely necessary. Most just see the immediate costs of training but forget to factor in the long term costs of not training.
    Wait isn’t that just another form of the short term, quarterly profits thinking that fucks us over continuously from all levels of business? I believe it is.

  170. 170
    gene108 says:

    @Chris:

    the Carter era federal government’s abolition of tax-exempt status for all white “Christian” academies in the Deep South was unconstitutional?

    They received federal funds, as well as tax-exempt status, but were not compliant with the Civil Rights act, because they didn’t allow blacks to enroll.

    I forget exactly what schools were involved (I think mostly Ivy League ones), but I think some universities got into issues with being denied federal funds, during the Bush & Co. years because they refused to allow the CIA to recruit on campus and/or the U.S. military, because of various problems with government policies, such as discrimination against gays in the military.

    Getting federal funds/tax-exempt status requires compliance with various federal laws, which go beyond being just a social service organization and/or certain credos automatically get shot down in the application process, which is one reason I think the KKK isn’t a tax exempt non-profit, even if they did some volunteer work on occasion.

  171. 171
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @low-tech cyclist: Nate is kind of doing a Bayesian filter here. Noonan is saying “this is so improbable it MUST be deliberate” and Nate is running the numbers and saying, no, no it ain’t.

    At this point, Noonan’s argument collapses into special pleading unless she has evidence, which of course, she does not.

    When somebody makes an extraordinary claim without prior probability, they’d better be bringing some evidence because otherwise, time to ignore and move on. Dumb theories are so oversupplied they trade on the pink sheets, over the counter.

    edited to fix tags

  172. 172
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Chris:

    …tax-exempt status is a privilege, not a right (certainly when the organization in question has the means to pay taxes).

    I have only looked shallowly into this; is it possible (or likely) that the goal for some subset of these groups was to profit from tax exempt status? Essential, form a “social welfare group” with a political name and theme for fund raising purposes. Get tax exempt status. Solicit donations from the gullible. Spend measurably less than half on politics. Spend the rest on … other things. Administrative overhead, like generous salaries, parties, vacation rentals, etc.
    I know that this is commonly suspected. Is it true?

  173. 173
    Bonnie says:

    Just for the record, the groups involved were NOT audited. They were just asked for more information as they applied to be tax exempt.

  174. 174
    pattonbt says:

    So I guess then my story should be data as well. Here goes….

    I am an Obama max donor (primary and campaign) in 2008 and 2012. And yet, in 2010 I got audited by the IRS. I believe it is because I am white and Obama is black. So Obama is the real racist.

    I’m sure it wasnt because I had a massive increase in income (payout from one job I had been at for more than a decade), I live overseas or I had filled out my taxes wrong from the previous years. No that could definitely not be it at all. I’m sure it was a reverse racist thing. Hence Obama = real racist.

    /snark

  175. 175

    […] The Plural of “Noonan” Is Not “Data” (balloon-juice.com) […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] The Plural of “Noonan” Is Not “Data” (balloon-juice.com) […]

Comments are closed.