Thefts and Losses at the IRS – A Necessary Sacrifice

So the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration issued a report entitled The Internal Revenue Service Is Not Adequately Protecting Taxpayer Data on Laptop Computers and Other Portable Electronic Media Devices. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, I won’t the ruin the suspense by blurting out the ending, but I do note that on page 8, Figure 1 shows known incidences of theft and of IRS computers and/or loss of taxpayer data.

The Table below shows that data. Apropos of nothing, it also shows the IRS Operating Budget as a share of the Total Federal Budget going back to 2001. (Note… the first column is for calendar years, the second for fiscal year.)

Its not much data. Still, when you’re cutting costs at a department you despise, I wonder where you cut them first. And I wonder why anyone would be surprised that things go horribly wrong (real tax collections fall, thefts and losses increases, etc.). Lest you think this harms the American public, consider that the money is being better spent elsewhere. On the plus side, we got Saddam so he’ll never plan, finance, or execute another September 11…. oh, wait.

IRS’ operating budget from IRS Table 29
Federal budget from OMB Table 1.1

As always, let me know if you want my spreadsheet.