… With Tom Daschle’s withdrawal from his nomination to head Health and Human Services, the journey into Change continues (see post below). I have to hand it to President Obama — his lineup of nominees is providing quite a tour of the backstage hypocrisies of liberal politics:
Tom Daschle, with his “tax problems” involving $140,000 or so in back taxes for items including the undeclared services of a limo and driver (fascinating contrast to the video clip now making the rounds — can this be for real? — of a 1986 campaign ad that shows Daschle priding himself on driving his own rusting Pontiac past the limos of Washington). And then there’s the clip of Daschle denouncing tax cheats.
Nancy Killefer, who just withdrew as Obama’s nominee to oversee budget and spending reform, also over a “personal tax issue” — in her case, household help.
Timothy Geithner, now confirmed as Treasury Secretary, having expressed “regret” over $34,000 in back taxes (money he had received from the IMF specifically to cover part of his tax bill to the IRS, but had failed to pay to the IRS as promised).
And, of course, Hillary Clinton, now confirmed as Secretary of State, with her ex-presidential spouse pulling in oil-soaked millions in speaking fees and hundreds of millions for the Clinton Foundation (none of this disclosed in detail until first the presidential campaign and then Hillary’s nomination demanded it — and then only in painful stages, with questions remaining). Here, the concern is not “tax problems,” but potential conflicts of interest, and a disregard for transparency.
What America actually needs right now is not a parade of nominees offering up their tax sins and income sources on the altar of political ambition — some to be trashed, others to join the Obama cabinet and pursue the current confiscatory agenda of taxing trillions away from their fellow Americans. The real answer would include lower tax rates, a simpler tax code, and nominees who see the virtues of both, and would work to deliver them. When the system produces this circus of “tax issues” (and disclosure issues) among the taxers themselves, it’s a profound sign that it’s time for real change — of which there is, right now, not the faintest sign.