Tuesday, February 03, 2009

One More Thought on Tax Cheats Seeking High Places

I really do have other things to talk about this week (among other things, I will chime in on Michael Phelps' indiscretions that came to light over the weekend), but I can't seem to move away from the subject of the numerous Cabinet appointees who seem to have "forgotten" to pay their taxes. (Again, my personal dog in this hunt is that over half my income is derived from self-employment, and if I did the things these guys have done, I wouldn't be rewarded with a plumb government job; I'd be making license plates in Huntsville, or whatever they do down there now.)

I may not be able to express my feelings as eloquently as I'd like on this subject, but Victor Davis Hanson does a fine job:
Millions of Americans don't have either Daschle's or Geithner's resources, yet they pay dearly to go to accountants, honestly turn over all their records, and then pay the full amount of taxation in accordance with their understanding of the law, and the advice they receive from professional accountants.

Yet men both much richer and much more informed about the U.S. tax code not only don't do that, but feel no compunction to rectify mistakes unless they cause embarrassment enough to thwart their careers.

[...]Any more of these stories and we will be on very dangerous ground, since the message is a terrible one to the American people: You pay your full amount, but our elites not only do not, but won't unless they get caught.

This is all about as good an argument for a flat tax as one can imagine.
This is also a good argument to keep government in the hands of talented, productive people, who would bristle at the mere thought that someone would refer to them as "elites."

Hat tip: Instapundit. And with the tax issue tanking the nominations of these folks, NRO's Larry Kudlow thinks that it's time for Timothy Geithner to step down as well:
Geithner never answered the question put to him by senators Kyl and Bunning: Would he have paid his back taxes if he were not nominated to run the Treasury? His issue has never been resolved. He will never have the full trust of the country.

Consider this: Daschle said today that he would not have been able to lead a reform of the nation’s health-care system “with the full faith of Congress and the American people.” Well, Geithner will not be able to lead a reform of the nation’s financial system either. Mr. Geithner will not have the full faith of the American people or Congress, where 31 no votes were cast against his nomination — by far the largest nay vote for a post-WWII Treasury secretary.

[...]This is a matter of personal character and accountability. It is a matter of honesty. Too many of our leaders suffer big deficits in these areas.
Well said. Do the right thing (for once), Mr. Geithner. Now.

(I'll have a new subject tomorrow, I promise.)

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