House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan sent a letter Monday to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellenseeking an explanation for why journalist Matt Taibbi received an unannounced home visit from an IRS agent. We’ve seen the letter, and both the circumstances and timing of the IRS focus on this journalist raise serious questions.
Mr. Taibbi has provoked the ire of Democrats and other journalists for his role in researching Twitter records and then releasing internal communications from the social-media giant that expose its censorship and its contacts with government officials. This effort has already inspired government bullying, with Chair Lina Khan’s Federal Trade Commission targeting new Twitter owner Elon Musk and demanding the company “identify all journalists” granted access to the Twitter files.
Now Mr. Taibbi has told Mr. Jordan’s committee that an IRS agent showed up at his personal residence in New Jersey on March 9. That happens to be the same day Mr. Taibbi testified before the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government about what he learned about Twitter. The taxman left a note instructing Mr. Taibbi to call the IRS four days later. Mr. Taibbi was told in a call with the agent that both his 2018 and 2021 tax returns had been rejected owing to concerns over identity theft.
The bigger question is when did the IRS start to dispatch agents for surprise house calls? Typically when the IRS challenges some part of a tax return, it sends a dunning letter. Or it might seek more information from the taxpayer or tax preparer. If the IRS wants to audit a return, it schedules a meeting at the agent’s office. It doesn’t drop by unannounced.
The curious timing of this visit, on the heels of the FTC demand that Twitter turn over names of journalists, raises questions about potential intimidation, and Mr. Jordan is right to want to see documents and communications relating to the Taibbi visit.
The fear of many Americans is that, flush with its new $80 billion in funding from Congress, the IRS will unleash its fearsome power against political opponents. Mr. Taibbi deserves to know why the agency decided to pursue him with a very strange house call.
The history of humankind goes back hundreds of thousands of years. Only in the past few hundred has economic progress raised most people out of poverty. What has been responsible for this remarkable increase in the global standard of living? Capitalism!
Lockdowns did succeed, however, in causing perhaps unprecedented social and economic disruptions. According to the World Bank, lockdowns caused an “historically unprecedented increase in global poverty” of close to 100 million people, and according to UNICEF, over 150 million children missed school for more than a year. In many countries, unemployment, bankruptcies, drug abuse, and psychological problems soared to record levels.
Unlike the targeted isolation of sick patients and their immediate contacts, complete nationwide lockdowns have never been part of the established public health response to epidemics and pandemics. It is important to understand, therefore, how exactly the near-global adoption of such an irrational and destructive measure during the recent covid pandemic came about.
Trump was an agent of lockdowns. Two slices:
The whole machinery of DC had been marshaled with Trump’s approval. The order read: “indoor and outdoor venues where people can congregate should be closed.” He issued this order on March 16 and expected full compliance, and then lobbied for trillions in welfare to the states to make sure they stayed locked down.
Only South Dakota with Kristy Noem refused. And for that she was dragged through the mud of media lies for two years because she allowed motorcyclists, for example, to organize and ride in her state. The fake studies coming out about the Sturgis bike rallies set a new low standard for real-time science.
Georgia is important because it was the first state to open. Trump tweeted his opposition to this move both in general and then, two weeks later, in opposition to Kemp’s opening.
This is why we must be grateful for people like [Wall Street Journal editor James] Taranto for digging more deeply into the actual history of what happened in those fateful months from 2020 when life itself was completely upended by dreadful decision-making from the White House. If we had more journalists interested in what actually happened, rather than just pretending that either what happened was perfectly normal or that it didn’t happen at all, we would be far closer to getting to the truth, and making sure that such a calamity never repeats itself.