On Thursday, Peggy Noonan wrote a column where she said that the IRS was going after individuals because they were conservatives. Her evidence? She’s heard of four different conservatives who were audited last year. I’m serious! That’s her claim. But it is even sillier than that. Take for example, this gem of deep thinking, “The Journal’s Kim Strassel reported an Idaho businessman named Frank VanderSloot, who’d donated more than a million dollars to groups supporting Mitt Romney. He found himself last June, for the first time in 30 years, the target of IRS auditors.” Wow. The election was last year. The donation would have had to have been in late 2011 or early 2012. I doubt very seriously that the IRS would even have noticed his campaign contribution by last June.
Need more evidence? Franklin Graham “believes” his father Billy was targeted. I guess it’s a faith thing. And a conservative freelance writer who earns a “meager” living got audited. With the almost 1.5 million IRS audits last year, what are the odds that these three random people would be audited? I can tell you one thing, Noonan knows this isn’t just chance! “It is not even remotely possible that all this was an accident, a mistake.” Oh boy! I think Noonan has been riding the Crazy Train for too long and her brain has started to rattle apart.
Nate Silver has an excellent statistical analysis that shows just how insane Noonan is being. In fact, it even comes with a wonderfully understated sarcastic title, New Audit Allegations Show Flawed Statistical Thinking. For example, 12% of all people who made more than a million dollars last year were audited. So if Idaho businessman Frank Vandersloot has gone without an audit for 30 years, he’s damned lucky. The same undoubtedly applies to Billy Graham. He has a net worth of about $25 million. Son Franklin makes over a million per year. Rich people get audited, especially because they employ a large army of lawyers and accountants to avoid paying their taxes.
As for that poor freelance writer, well, the IRS is much more likely to audit people who make a lot less than normal. Regardless, people get audited. And Nate Silver provided this nice little chart to show who is really getting audited:
The main point of this is that Obama voters were audited at a rate 12 percentage points higher than Romney voters. Noonan’s column is entirely typical of this weird, and totally unjustified, belief among conservatives that they are some kind of persecuted minority. Just look at the voting habits of Romney and Obama voters: the more money they have, the more likely they are to vote conservative. This also means that the more conservative you are, on average, the richer you are. I know on the Crazy Train, everyone thinks that “elite” means college professors who make $50,000 per year. But in the real world, it’s the rich who actually have power. Not only is Obama not oppressing these people; no one is oppressing them.
Please Peggy Noonan! Please disembark the Crazy Train!