It wasn’t so very long ago that the Obama administration was very loudly and pointedly agonizing over the dreadful impact that the sequestration-imposed, across-the-board budget cuts were going to have on both the economy and the federal government’s ability to perform some of its basic functions — which doesn’t quite explain why it is that union employees of the Internal Revenue Service are about to receive $70 million in bonuses that were supposed to have been cancelled.

The apparent deal with the National Treasury Employees Union is scheduled for Wednesday and was made public by Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa. …

Grassley says the bonuses should be canceled under an April directive from the White House budget office.

The directive was written by Danny Werfel, a former budget official who has since been appointed acting IRS commissioner. …

In a letter to Werfel on Tuesday, Grassley said the IRS notified the employee union March 25 that it intended to reclaim about $75 million that had been set aside for discretionary employee bonuses. However, Grassley said, his office has learned that the IRS never followed up on the notice. Instead, Grassley said, the IRS negotiated a new agreement with the bargaining unit to pay about $70 million in employee bonuses.

“While the IRS may claim that these bonuses are legally required under the original bargaining unit agreement, that claim would allegedly be inaccurate,” Grassley wrote. “In fact, the original agreement allows for the re-appropriation of such award funding in the event of budgetary shortfall.”

Mmm hmm. Paul Ryan had some choice words about the situation on Fox News this morning, and as he points out, this is merely another example of the dangerous inertia of big government, via the WFB:

Look, what we’re seeing is the arrogance and abuse of big government. We are seeing big government in practice. We know from our IRS investigation already from the Ways and Means Committee that this wasn’t a few rogue agents in Cincinnati. This is a systemic pattern of abuse of power directed from Washington by the IRS targeting people based upon their political and religious beliefs. And now they’re going to get $70 million of bonuses at a time when government agencies are getting cuts, at a time when we’re doing furloughs at the Pentagon and other places. It’s outrageous. Hard working taxpayers deserve better than this. Unfortunately, as I mentioned, this is what big government looks like if practice. Now they’re going to get our healthcare records. Now IRS, come October, is going to be more in charge of our health care system.