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Excuses, Excuses

The IRS today acknowledged that it had wrongfully targeted Tea Party groups for heightened scrutiny. In trying to explain the agency’s mistake, IRS spokeswoman Lois Lerner reportedly stated “I’m not good at math” -- an excuse that now seems to be going viral.

Given the smashing success of this phrase, we wonder whether the IRS will now use a few variations of it in the new Obamacare lawsuit that it’s facing. This lawsuit challenges the legality of the IRS’ unauthorized extension of the employer mandate to states that have refused to set up their own health insurance exchanges. The plaintiffs contend that Congress limited the employer mandate to participating states, and that the IRS has no power to rewrite the law.

Perhaps, rather than present a detailed legal defense of its position, the IRS will simply claim one or more of the following:

“We’re not good at taking no for an answer”;

“We’re not good at interpreting complicated sentences written by another government body, especially when that body is Congress”;

“We’re not good at dealing with states that aren’t team players, even if those states outnumber the states on our team.” (Thirty-three states have refused to participate in the exchange program); and/or

“We’re not good at Latin, so the phrase ‘ultra vires’ (‘beyond our powers’) is Greek to us.”