Paul L. Caron

Monday, October 20, 2014

The IRS Scandal, Day 529

IRS Logo 2Forbes:  UnFair: Exposing The IRS -- Does Not Make Strong Case Or Decent Documentary, by Peter C. Reilly:

[H]ere is my report on UnFair: Exposing the IRS.  I am reacting to both the film and the companion book, which pretty much cover the same ground in the same order. The bottom line is that Craig Bergman's argument does not make a lot of sense.

He discusses IRS abuses in the last several years and proposes that we repeal the income tax, abolish the IRS and enact the Fair Tax. A lmost all the abuses he discusses concern the qualification of organizations for exempt status. It turns out that the same issues exist under the Fair Tax.

The filmmaker I brought along did not think that it was much of a documentary. His biggest issue was that he was expecting an expose` and instead experienced a reiteration of a political and cultural platform. If this review is any indication, he is not alone in his judgement. ...

It is not an exaggeration to say that the film is seeking to make the case that the IRS is a criminal organization . The tip off is the clip of 1930s gangsters with guns. A significant portion of time is spent on Teapartygate. We get brief clips from news programs hearing from George Will, Governor Mike Huckabee, Congressman John Linder, and Bill O’Reilly among others. Craig Bergman, the narrator, then tells us that he put together a crew of talented filmakers to travel across America to talk one-on-one with those affected by the abuses. Craig starts at the Tea Party “Audit The IRS” rally, has an extensive treatment of Lois Lerner including her campaign against the Christian Coalition while working for the Federal Election Commission and moves on to an interview with Jim Jess of the Georgia Tea Party. There is a lot of network footage, most of it from Fox News. There is r eally nothing new in this part if you have been following the scandal. The treatment is entirely one sided. ...

Jonathan Schwartz did not think that UnFair cut it as a documentary. He did not even think that it was very effective propaganda.  It was more of a rally the troops type of piece that would only work on those who were already convinced of the viewpoints expressed.

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Jack Townsend is a voice of reason crying in the wilderness.

Posted by: Publius Novus | Oct 21, 2014 5:03:41 PM

Thanks, Peter. It is good to have some body who is rational and without a pre-conceived agenda do a review. I thank Professor Caron for reporting your review.

The underlying thesis of the "documentary" is, of course, flawed. The IRS is not a criminal organization. The IRS is a necessary government organization, just as the Department of Defense, the Interior Department, and so forth. A lot of good people serve this country in these organizations, including the IRS. Not perfectly, and occasionally poorly and even inappropriately and sometimes, but rarely, illegally (although the objective case that the Lerner episode being illegal is yet to be made), but overall they serve very well. We need to be supporting them in the mission assigned to them the people of this country through their elected representatives.

Posted by: Jack Townsend | Oct 20, 2014 8:13:46 AM