Is the Tea Party a social welfare organization? That is the question the IRS has been considering.
A further question is: if they are and if they receive tax-exempt status, do they then become a public social welfare organization? It would seem so. They would in effect be getting public funding in the form of tax favors.
And they would then become what they hate. How ironic would that be? How could they then believably rail against public welfare if they are public welfare?
Of course they are not public welfare or private welfare. They are a political organization. There is no reason they should be given tax-exempt status as a social welfare organization.
Not only are they a political organization, they continually rail about taxes being way too high. It shouldn't take a genius or a comedian like Bobcat Goldthwait to see the logical extension of this.
As he said recently about the IRS-Tea Party matter, "I don't think anybody should be singled out, but if you complain about high taxes a lot. I think the IRS is going to put the screws to you."
He then imagined out loud the discussion at the IRS: Here's a group always complaining "There's too much taxes, there's too much taxes." Hmm, who should we audit?
Actually, with their scrutiny and delayed decision, the IRS may be doing the Tea Party a favor, giving them time to realize the wisdom of the old adage: be careful what you ask for.
For, as mentioned above, if the Tea Party does receive their requested tax exemption, they would technically become part of the public welfare system that they hate.
And who knows? They might just become an exemplary public welfare organization, with a wider, more positive and constructive focus, serving the common good.
Probably not, but they might.
(James Lein is a community columnist for the Minot Daily News)