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January 27, 2009
Tim, Our New Tax Tabulator
Now that Timothy Geithner has been confirmed by the Senate as the new Secretary of the Treasury, what was the big deal about him not paying his taxes?
Tim said all the right things at his Senate confirmation hearing. Like,
"Basic obligations," he said. So what if he missed playing $34,000 in taxes. He fessed up to having missed his basic tax obligation, saying,
He made "careless mistakes" calculating his taxes. We all do. Well, not literally all of us, but many of us skip sending that check to the IRS each April 15. Well, not many of us. But, for sure, a few of us do. And only those who aren't genuinely contrite and adept at saying "Gee, I'm sorry" ever go to jail. It's not like Tim stole a car.
Tim said he incorrectly believed his taxes were deducted at the source when he worked for the IMF. It's easy to misread the numbers on the pay stub. For decades, I, too, had to pay my own taxes. It's hard. Well, it's not really hard. But it is time consuming, although not a lot of time. Particularly if you hire an accountant. They're everywhere.
Just look at all those TV ads about how a firm staffed by former IRS agents can help you pay 10 cents on each dollar of delinquent taxes you owe by negotiating on your behalf with the IRS.
Look at it this way. Don't you want someone being responsible for the Internal Revenue Service who knows how to avoid paying taxes?
Remember the movie "Catch Me If You Can" starring Leonardo DiCaprio in the true story of scam artist Frank William Abagnale? He's chased by a relentless FBI agent, and then ends up working for the feds by helping spot bogus checks, since passing bad checks was his expertise.
Well, Tim knows the mind of the tax evader. What better person to have in charge of the IRS?
Likewise, isn't there a law enforcement advantage to your community if the Chief of Police has a criminal record, as long as she or he wasn't convicted of a felony involving violence, of course? Sure don't want to arm an ex-con with a record of violence. But, who better to understand the criminal mind than a former criminal? Who better to work the Vice Squad than someone once convicted of some vice, like drug trafficking?
So let's give Tim a break. He made his final late tax payment last November, just by chance after the Presidential election. That doesn't mean he wouldn't have done so if it wasn't a requirement for his new job.
Let's thank the ten Republican Senators who voted for Tim's confirmation in alignment with Washington's new spirit of bipartisanship: Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), Ensign (R-NV), Graham (R-SC), Gregg (R-NH), Hatch (R-UT), Shelby (R-AL), Snowe (R-ME), and Voinovich (R-OH).
With Republicans like these, who needs Democrats?