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.