EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

April 26, 2014

Column: What your public servants are doing to/for you

No, it’s not your imagination. The federal government has been acting particularly goofy this spring.

Most recently, it gave tacit approval to powdered alcohol. “Palcohol” was all over the news as the newest new thing -- add water to the contents of a small packet and, voila!, a Cosmopolitan or a Mojito. Or it could be added to food. The brave parents who volunteer as guard dogs at high school proms were apoplectic.

The next day, it was explained that a “mistake” had been made. No such approval will be given, at least not immediately. The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau is reassessing the “labels” the Palcohol developers have proposed.

Does our government learn from its mistakes? Of course not.

We are reminded of another “oops” moment just a few weeks ago when the Department of Homeland Security proposed hiring a private company to track license plates to locate people for various reasons. The uproar, in the wake of world outrage over the United States’ indiscriminate spying on just about everyone, was intense. The next day the proposal for yet another huge databank to keep tabs on private citizens was disavowed.

Do the bureaucrats hang their heads in shame at some of the Stupid Government Tricks they devise? Of course not.

A week after the national agony of tax day, we learned that more than 1,100 IRS employees who failed to pay taxes or otherwise had tax troubles got bonuses and extra days of paid leave.

According to an IRS inspector general’s audit, even more agency employees who were in trouble with the agency for various reasons got time off and bonuses. What?! Wasn’t the head of the IRS just apologizing profusely that 30 percent to 40 percent of taxpayers with tax questions can’t get even through to talk to an IRS employee?

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