IRS HAS DEEPER PROBLEMS
Your April 8 editorial ("The IRS: Not phoning it in") was disappointing, the gist being a U-T San Diego-worthy analysis that the IRS has problems: "[It] appears to still be busy back-burnering corporate loopholers, sticking it to Tea Partiers and ferreting out mom-and-pop business owners who under-claimed doily sales for the previous tax year." Hilarious.
You might ask why? In short, the IRS budget has been slashed 18 percent (after inflation) since 2010, with consequently 5,000 fewer agents to do its job—you know, things like answering phone calls, distributing refunds and catching tax cheats. It's penny-wise and pound foolish, as according to the Treasury Department every $1 spent on IRS enforcement yields $6 or more of revenue. This, of course, is part of the Conservative/Republican/Grover Norquist modus operandi of shrinking government down to the size where it can be drowned in a bathtub:  Gut targeted agency/program until it can't effectively function;  Proclaim "That agency/program doesn't work;  Eliminate or privatize it.
The EPA, public schools, USPS, libraries, clean-energy research, mass transit, and most social programs are also targeted. Why? Because these agencies/ programs cost the uber-rich and their purchased elected officials money/profits or tax dollars. They'd prefer to pollute, exploit, hoard and basically screw the 99 per cent without the inconveniences of such things as health regulations or tax laws.
As is said, taxes are the price of living in a civilized society. And collecting them is, unfortunately, a thankless but necessary job. Is this an excuse for government waste? No. (Of course you'll rarely hear calls for eliminating far worse government waste like the Missile Defense Agency or F-35 Flying Boondoggle, since war and weapons are very profitable industries for the 1 percent.) But ridiculing the IRS for its current problems is just plain lazy journalism. You can do better.
Rick Chiszar, University Heights
SOME IRS LOVE
The criminal tax-dodging corporations bash the IRS. I have found them to be wonderful quiet accountants who actually gave me a refund I didn't claim. The Tea Party was guilty of claiming to be an educational nonprofit, and the IRS should have investigated them. Please do not join the anti- IRS, anti-government Tea Party whose tax dodgers are actually causing deaths by lack of government services. Thank you.
Valerie Sanfilippo, San Diego
WHEN IT RAINS
Thank you for a fine review of some of my favorite food ["No need for silverware," April 8]. My Google Alerts picked up the review. Unfortunately, I live far enough from San Diego that I will have to settle for several good Ethiopian restaurants in the Portland area, instead of Harar Ethiopian. You did an excellent job of introducing what seem like exotic dishes to those unfamiliar with them. May I make one suggestion about your review? The parenthetical comment at the end of the first paragraph about heavy rain not being a concern in Ethiopia does not ring true for those at all familiar with the climate. Parts of Ethiopia are indeed dry, but Addis Ababa and the highland area where the dishes you reviewed originate have a heavy rainy season. In Addis Ababa, the mean monthly rainfall in July and August is between 11 and 12 inches each month—more than San Diego's annual average rainfall, though the winter rainfall does approach San Diego levels. Don't let my comment color my appreciation for your review. The picture and the description are mouth-watering! I love your concluding sentence: "Especially in the rear dining room; it's as if you wandered into someone's backyard halfway around the world, and the host treated you like an honored guest." You caught not only the food, but the culture!
John W. Mahaffy, Newberg, Oregon
Correction: The San Diego International Beer Festival is June 19-21, during the San Diego County Fair.