Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Only in Ireland

Typical isn't it. The little guy has to pay taxes and is pursued by the state for those taxes, but the well-connected guy gets to be in charge of the tax collectors despite the fact he "forgot" to pay what he owed a few years back. Where else but Ireland would such a thing happen?

Oh wait, it's not Ireland at all, but America. President Obama's choice of Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner has successfully dodged the fact that he's a tax dodger.
Timothy F. Geithner was sworn in as secretary of the Treasury on Monday evening, confirmed by a Senate majority that concluded that his experience in government and finance outweighed concerns about recent disclosures of some $34,000 in past tax delinquencies.
Geithner claimed it was an innocent mistake, but as the Times spent years working for the Treasury Department before he joined the International Monetary Fund. He knew the laws and if he didn't, he obviously wasn't much of a Treasury Department official.
His confirmation became unexpectedly complicated this month by the disclosure that he failed to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes for 2001-4, when he was a senior official at the International Monetary Fund. As an international organization, the I.M.F. does not withhold taxes for American employees, though it does provide statements of their estimated liabilities and pays them an amount equal to the employer share of payroll taxes.
I was in favor of Geithner's appointment when I first heard about it back in November, but I can't believe that he wasn't asked to withdraw when his "innocent mistake" came to light. I do not believe he is so unique that the President couldn't find someone else to run the Treasury Department, even in these difficult times. In fact, I suspect that the difficult times are going to provide greater incentives for people to get 'creative' with their tax returns. And, now, they can argue with the IRS that they "just made an innocent mistake, like your boss".

Honestly, if this had happened in Ireland and Fianna Fail was involved the press would be all over it, jumping up and down, shouting about low standards in high places. This is a bad decision by President Obama.