BOSTON (CBS) – There were a couple of interesting stories in Sunday’s New York Times about the federal bureaucracy you pay for. And while they’re about separate agencies, they raise the same set of questions about what is being done with our tax dollars.

One article reports on the now-infamous IRS Determinations Unit in Cincinnati, where underqualified employees were making politically-sensitive decisions in an atmosphere of near-total bureaucratic dysfunction.

The Times story doesn’t prove or rule out the possibility their selective hassling of conservative groups was the result of marching orders from Washington, but it does show what a mess the IRS is. Says one source: “People were coming and going, asking for advice and not getting it, and sometimes forgetting the cases existed.”

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Another piece details how the Veterans Affairs department is struggling to deal with a backlog of disability claims from veterans that right now sits at 600,000 claims sitting unaddressed for at least four months.

It seems applications have overwhelmed an “antiquated processing system,” and only recently has serious money been spent on automating claims.

Yes, this is 2013.

That’s a long time to keep our sick or wounded vets waiting for action, don’t you think?

So, let’s summarize: two of the most important functions of our government, revenue collection and tending to the needs of sick and wounded vets, are being botched, badly, and in some cases have been over long periods of time.

Efforts to fix the problems are either glacial or non-existent.

We know we don’t have to live with this.

Some government agencies can and do perform their jobs with skill. But while they sort out all their partisan finger-pointing in DC, we should keep all the pols on notice — this at-best rank incompetence occurred on your watch.

Better fix it, fast.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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