Bureaucratic rationality

Cleaning out some of the older links from my newsreader brought me this old news about a bit of Yuletide scroogery from the IRS, courtesy of Alina at Totalitarianism Today (2004-12-23):

As if payroll taxes weren’t enough— here is an example of the IRS almost literally whisking the Christmas turkery from the table-tops of hard-working Americans. According to Brian Hindo of Business Week, many companies used to hand out turkeys this time of year. Now, however, 41% give out coupons, which can be redeemed at any store for a turkey or a tofu turkey or whatever suits the employee’s fancy.

Sensing a little possibility for happiness, the IRS immediately put its best and brightest bureaucrats on the job. Heaven forbid an employee use that coupon to purchase a tub of Whip Cream rather than a fine-feathered friend. The result? The judgement that gift certificates, unlike actual turkeys, are a cash equivalent— and therefore taxable.

With apologies to H.L. Mencken and Max Weber, I think our theoretical lexicon needs revision. Thus:

Bureaucratic rationality, n.: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy without permission.

7 replies to Bureaucratic rationality Use a feed to Follow replies to this article · TrackBack URI

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    Bureaucratic rationality #2: Government Issue edition

    Two deploying soldiers and a concerned mother reported Friday afternoon that the US Army appears to be singling out soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle’s…

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    Bureaucratic rationality #3: Indecent Exposure edition

    With apologies to Max Weber and H. L. Mencken. IN NOVEMBER 2004, LUCY WIGHTMAN BEGAN RECEIVING anonymous e-mails that threatened to unravel the life she…

· April 2006 ·

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    Bureaucratic rationality #4: State Ownership of the Means of Reproduction edition

    (Link thanks to Freedom Democrats 2006-04-03.) With apologies to Max Weber and H. L. Mencken. BLOOMINGTON, Ind., March 29 — Angela Hendrix-Petry gave birth to…

— 2007 —

  1. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Geekery Today:

    Bureaucratic rationality #5: A Dream Deferred edition

    First the IRS ate your Christmas turkey. Now they are coming to crush your childhood dreams, too. (Via Technology Liberation Front 2007-01-29.) From Tom Tomorrow…

  2. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2007-01-31 – Bureaucratic rationality #5: A Dream Deferred edition:

    […] the IRS ate your Christmas turkey. Now they are coming to crush your childhood dreams, […]

  3. Discussed at radgeek.com

    Rad Geek People’s Daily 2007-11-07 – Bureaucratic rationality #6: Brings All the Boys to the Yard edition:

    […] Bureaucratic rationality, n.: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy without permission. […]

— 2013 —

Post a reply

By:
Your e-mail address will not be published.
You can register for an account and sign in to verify your identity and avoid spam traps.
Reply

Use Markdown syntax for formatting. *emphasis* = emphasis, **strong** = strong, [link](http://xyz.com) = link,
> block quote to quote blocks of text.

This form is for public comments. Consult About: Comments for policies and copyright details.