Steve Miller testified before Congress last week and I immediately thought, “Hey, these suited stiffs might get something right after all!”
Unfortunately it wasn’t Steven H. “Steve” Miller, the founder of the Steve Miller Band who showed up. Rather, it was some lawyerly bureaucrat named “Steven Miller, Acting IRS Commissioner”. This Steve Miller displayed an amazing penchant for “abracadabra”, but no real talent for magic…or music. It was a terrible concert.
Opening Number: Watch What My Left Hand Is Doing
Steve Miller (no…the bureaucrat one) started the show off by asking members of the Committee to separate the
(a) creation of lists targeting politically right-leaning organizations applying for tax exempt status from the
(b) management or handling of those lists by IRS agents responsible for approving or denying the same applications.
This song sucked. The lyrics made no sense to me. If we’re supposed to see these as separate issues, shouldn’t we be assured that different groups handled (a) and (b)? But in actuality wasn’t it the same IRS agents who (a) made the lists, and then (b) handled the lists they themselves had created?
According to Steve Miller (the one whose music sucks), and insomuch as we can rely on his honesty and forthrightness in sworn Congressional testimony, the answer is yes.
Sucky Steve Miller wants us to separate this issues of the creation of targeted lists (which he saw as a reasonable but flawed method of doing “triage” on large numbers of applications) from the shepherding of those lists through the IRS process for either approval or denial. The clear implication is that if (a) was well-meant but ill-conceived and (b) was just “poor customer service” (as Sucky Steve Miller later stated), then the whole sordid affair was just a minor process problem with some mild undertones of human resourcing.
However, as tone deaf Steve Miller testified, the agents performing both tasks were the same. There should be no distinction between the two portions of the process, because there was no difference in the personnel handling the two parts of the process. The process was incepted, implemented, and executed by the same people from start to finish.
This song sucked. Separation denied.
Refrain: Watch Me Pull B.S. Out of My Hat
The (Voice reject) Steve Miller then cruised into his second number in the concert. This one was a Bob Dillon-esque ditty about the plight of the worker, man. The tune was oversampled and tiresome and, as was the case with the previous song, the lyrics were downright stupid.
The first verse went something like this:
“We believe the front-line career employees
that made the decisions
acted out of a desire for efficiency
and not out of any political
and partisan viewpoint,”
And then it moved immediately into this chorus:
“We did group those organizations together
to ensure consistency,
to ensure quality.
We continue to work those cases,”
While listening to this lament of the common man; the overworked IRS agent just struggling to get his work done, I had some thoughts.
(1) If the goal was “efficiency”, why did those same agents choose to draft, mail, review, respond to, and file extremely detailed, lengthy, irrelevant, intrusive, questionnaires?
- How is it “efficient” to create massive amounts of additional and clearly extraneous busywork for oneself?
- Assuming the “efficient” agents at the IRS cross-checked answers given by respondents, the verification of the questionnaires alone would have demanded a massive amount of effort in man-hours.
- And why, if it was all about “efficiency”, was this scrutiny only applied to conservative groups? This kind of “efficiency” wasn’t extended to any groups with the words “progress”, “progressive”, “environment”, “organize”, “organizing”, or any other arguably left-of-center buzzword in their title(s).
(2) Where did the “efficiency” go?
- If the agents were trying to be more efficient in their workload management, how was it that response times and resolution times were astronomically longer than anyone could ever reasonably expect?
- …and only for conservative groups. Again, the kind of “efficiency” that cost “Tea Party” or “9/12” or “Patriot” groups up to 36 months or more for approval or denial was closer to 3-9 months for groups with liberal names.
Much like the tunes of Bob Dillon himself, I found the jumbled mash of gobbledygook lyrics unintelligible and the melody tiresome and antiquated. Even the real Steve Miller could not have made something palatable out of this song.
Closing Number: Thank You and Goodnight
This song delivery was actually really upbeat for the grand finale, which was weird because it seems to have been written as a funeral dirge. Apparently Sucky Steve Miller penned this song as a farewell. It started off with something sappy, such as the bold assertion that the responsibility for things happening in the IRS “stopped at my desk”. The result of those things, as implied in song, was that it was Sucky Steve Miller’s responsibility to step down as a result of his failure to correct the horrible oversights in “customer service” and “efficiency” at the IRS.
Except, Sucky Steve Miller was already on his way out the door. All the fiasco did was move his resignation date up approximately 3 weeks with no lasting impact to his retirement or benefit package. That is, Sucky Steve Miller could very well be sitting on the beach ruining Margaritaville for an extra 3 weeks…on our dime. That was the “accountability” taxpayers received for Sucky Steve Miller’s horrific failure.
To be fair, Sucky Steve Miller wasn’t really the one responsible for the concert. There was an opening act named Lois Lerner. She crashed and burned and the audience booed her off the stage. After that she was promoted and is now overseeing of the division of the IRS tasked with running Obamacare. Get ready for more “efficiency”!
The venue for this particular Steve Miller concert was as storied, grandiose, and as stunningly beautiful as any I have ever seen. However, the music was horrible and the ticket price was $TramplingOnThe.Constitution.
If you get a chance to see Sucky Steve Miller or any of his genre, take my advice. Don’t. Stay home and watch Spinal Tap again.