Simple logic via the Weekly Standard: If the IRS is already this corrupt at its current funding level, imagine how much more corrupt it’ll be once there’s less money to pay for oversight and ethical training of IRS employees. By the same token, presumably if we increased the agency’s budget tenfold, we’d see a sharp decline in corruption thanks to all the extra oversight and training IRS workers would be getting. I wonder if Serrano has a ballpark figure on how much extra we’d need to pay the agency to get them to not harass conservatives in the future. If there’s already a baseline of corruption there, with only the extent of it susceptible to budget volatility, then I’m thinking maybe we should cancel oversight and training altogether and just hand IRS employees the money budgeted for those departments as bribes.

By the way, this isn’t the first time Serrano’s called for more money for the IRS and it isn’t the first excuse he’s offered in order to get it. Two years ago, he made another simple point to justify boosting money for the agency — namely, the more money we appropriate for it, the more money the IRS makes for the government by chasing down tax cheats and auditing people. (“It makes little sense to cut the agency that collects revenue.”) The path to a balanced budget runs, in part it seems, through a much more powerful, aggressive tax collector. Democrats should run on that message next year. Oh, and if all of this sounds suspiciously like extortion to you — more money for the government or who knows how abusive it might get — there’s a possible reason for that. Jose Serrano was quite openly a fan of Hugo Chavez, inviting him to his home district in 2005 and mourning him publicly while the rest of Washington, including many Democrats, made the stinkface after Chavez’s death a few months ago. Go figure that he seems to believe there’s no problem, including government corruption, that can’t be solved by making government bigger and richer.