Surely you've heard by now that the IRS has some 'splainin to do but despite this, they aren't doing much 'splainin and in fact are getting pretty good at dodging reasonable questions. The GOP witch hunt for the heads of every man, woman and dog responsible for all this drama might be a bit, er, overdramatic but it isn't unreasonable to suggest a few people should lose their jobs.
Those world class libertarians over at Cato seem to think the federal government could easily follow the "inept TSA employee" guidelines and trash several culpable IRS employees who may or may not have trolled right-leaning non-profits, if they wanted to.
Politico wrote yesterday that “heads won’t roll at the IRS.” The article is right that it is very difficult to fire federal workers, and I’ve written about the extremely low federal firing rate. The article says that 8,755 people were fired last year. But that was out of 2.1 million civilian federal employees, or just 0.4 percent of the total.
Politico notes that strong civil service protections are a big hurdle to firing. But just as important, I think, has been the unwillingness of federal managers to put the time and effort into removals. It’s much easier for managers to move troublesome employees off to a quiet office to get them out of the way, or to transfer them out of their section.
Chris goes on to say that part of the problem is that it's really, really hard to get fired from your government job if you are a poor performer because, let's face it, the entire basis of the government is poor performance, at least to some of us.
But getting shit-canned for being inept, scandalous or otherwise really bad at your job isn't anything new. Here are a few examples from the TSA:
- 400 TSA workers have been fired for stealing items from passenger bags.
- 5 TSA employees in Fort Myers were fired for violating screening rules.
- 28 TSA workers in Honolulu were fired for violating screening rules.
- The TSA proposed firing 25 workers in Newark for screening failures, and 4 were eventually removed.
- The TSA proposed firing 12 workers at the Charlotte airport.
Aside from the thefts, the other TSA firings seem to have been for actions no more troublesome than that of IRS employees. IRS employees were apparently not just failing to follow proper protocol, but were proactively inventing new procedures that undermined fundamental rules for nonpartisan, neutral, and fair treatment of taxpayers.
So. Can we maybe just fire a few people besides the acting commissioner who was going to retire in a month anyway and call it a day?