Private Sector: compete or die. Government: pull a “Washington Monument” hissy fit

by Skip

Washington MonumentAnd thanks to IRS Commissioner Koskonin (you know, the Obama hack that kept on insisting that the Lois Lerner emails were gone, got all indignant when challenged on it, and remains indignant when shown they existed all along), we have a perfect example of the Washington Monument Syndrome (whereby when not getting all they want of taxpayer monies, they decide to take their peevishness out on said taxpayers – e.g., they close down the most famous tourist spot in DC: the Washington Monument):

Here’s a letter to the D.C.-based WTOP Radio:

You report that the IRS is cutting back on “customer service.”  Pleading poverty because of the budget cuts it must endure as a result of Congressional displeasure with its recent mistreatment of many of its ‘customers,’ the IRS moans that it simply has too few resources now to adequately man its customer-service phone lines.  The IRS’s message to its ‘customers’ is clear: tell your representatives to increase our funding or we’ll make your lives even more miserable than we already do.

There’s a key, if familiar, lesson here: when private firms in competitive markets seek more revenue they considerately offer customers the carrot of better service; in contrast, when government agencies seek more revenue they angrily whack ‘customers’ with the stick of worsened service.

Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA  22030

(H/T: Café Hayek)

Leave a Comment

  • It is time for congress to tell the IRS to pull staff from audit and harassment operations and put them all, even former managers, on the phones, and with their continued employment dependent on attitude and accuracy – both of which are typically lacking.

  • Kathleen LaBonte

    I contacted the IRS recently and was on hold 40 minutes. When a customer rep finally answered he told me the system was down and that he had limited info. I told him since I waited 40 minutes for I would take whatever he had. He snarkley replied “What do you think we are doing.. sitting here twiddling our thumbs??!! My response to him cannot be duplicated here. It is time for the IRS to be entirely dismantled.

  • sb

    This has been one of my fears, too. At the very least, that they will turn a blind eye if someone else does it.

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