Policy Documents

How to Make the Government Behave

Richard W. Rahn –
July 23, 2013

This article at CATO that also appeared in Washington Times on July 23, 2013, makes the case that the federal government is hiding in real ways from public accountability:

Most people who work in government have no problem giving their real names and telling you what they do, but there are exceptions. Those who are engaged in real undercover work for government intelligence agencies or certain law enforcement agencies have a legitimate need to keep their identities secret, but they are a tiny fraction of all the people who work for government. However, what we are seeing is that too many other people in government, notably at the IRS, use pseudonyms when dealing with the public. The claim is that they need to do this to protect themselves from irate taxpayers. In reality, IRS personnel are no more in danger than many others in both the public and private sectors who have to deliver bad news (including economic columnists). All too often, the main reason for not giving the taxpayer a real name is for IRS officials to avoid taking responsibility and to cover for a lack of knowledge about the case and/or the tax law and regulations.