Daschle/Geithner/Killefer Lessons Learned

Now that Tim Geithner has been confirmed as Treasury Secretary, Tom Daschle has withdrawn as HHS Secretary and Nancy Killefer  has withdrawn from some government post I had never even heard of (chief performance officer?), we can infer some new rules in our changed government.

1.  It is OK to cheat on taxes, but of course there is a limit.  And that limit is more than $34,000 but less than $128,000 in taxes owed if you are a Democrat.  (For Republicans, the limit remains the perception of thinking about adding $100 to your charitable deductions without the receipts to back it up.)

2.  We now have a new way to get tax cheats to not only pay up, but to apologize for their errors and carelessness: nominate them to Cabinet posts.  We've already collected $162,000 and public apologies from just two tax cheats that way.  Nancy Killefer is a third, but I don't know the amount.  Perhaps Charlie Rangel or William Jefferson should be nominated to replace Daschle.

3.  We might have a new method to elicit information and apologies from enemy combatants without resorting to torture, sleep deprivation, stress positions or defiled Korans: nominate them to Cabinet posts.  It's too bad we already waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; we might have obtained his confession and plans of other terrorist attacks simply by offering him the position of Secretary of Defense.

4.  When we are desperate enough (as in the current economic crisis, or at any time in the last 80 years), neither competence nor ethics matter in a nominee as much as speed of confirmation.  If you either can't do your own taxes correctly, or refuse to do them honestly, you can still be put in charge of tax audits and collection.  If we ever have a crime crisis, for example, Charles Manson stands a good shot to head the FBI.

5.  Of course one lesson is the obvious one: if you thought "change" meant getting competent and honest people with no ties to special interests into influential government positions, you can now consider yourself suckered.  I put the lesson this way: you vote for a Wizard, but you get a man behind a curtain.
Now that Tim Geithner has been confirmed as Treasury Secretary, Tom Daschle has withdrawn as HHS Secretary and Nancy Killefer  has withdrawn from some government post I had never even heard of (chief performance officer?), we can infer some new rules in our changed government.

1.  It is OK to cheat on taxes, but of course there is a limit.  And that limit is more than $34,000 but less than $128,000 in taxes owed if you are a Democrat.  (For Republicans, the limit remains the perception of thinking about adding $100 to your charitable deductions without the receipts to back it up.)

2.  We now have a new way to get tax cheats to not only pay up, but to apologize for their errors and carelessness: nominate them to Cabinet posts.  We've already collected $162,000 and public apologies from just two tax cheats that way.  Nancy Killefer is a third, but I don't know the amount.  Perhaps Charlie Rangel or William Jefferson should be nominated to replace Daschle.

3.  We might have a new method to elicit information and apologies from enemy combatants without resorting to torture, sleep deprivation, stress positions or defiled Korans: nominate them to Cabinet posts.  It's too bad we already waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed; we might have obtained his confession and plans of other terrorist attacks simply by offering him the position of Secretary of Defense.

4.  When we are desperate enough (as in the current economic crisis, or at any time in the last 80 years), neither competence nor ethics matter in a nominee as much as speed of confirmation.  If you either can't do your own taxes correctly, or refuse to do them honestly, you can still be put in charge of tax audits and collection.  If we ever have a crime crisis, for example, Charles Manson stands a good shot to head the FBI.

5.  Of course one lesson is the obvious one: if you thought "change" meant getting competent and honest people with no ties to special interests into influential government positions, you can now consider yourself suckered.  I put the lesson this way: you vote for a Wizard, but you get a man behind a curtain.