Sunday, February 1, 2009

It's Only Health and Human Services

We tax all the others and pass the revenue on to you

I used to be upbeat about the president's vetting squad. They caught TimmyG cheating for four years straight. The prez didn't care, sure, but his team caught him. They did their part.

Not so for Tom Daschle, former South Dakota senator and the president's pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services. They whiffed on him. TommyD owed us -- you, me and the rest of the nation -- $140 large in back income tax and interest. And no one noticed.

No wonder there's a financial crisis. Our senior government officials and cabinet nominees aren't paying their freakin' taxes! Oh, and TommyD omitted another $88 large in 2007 consulting income. What's that, another 20, 30, 40 large in taxes? Change he could count on... in his pocket.

TommyD has an angel, Leo Hindery. Hindery paid TommyD a million a year through his company Intermedia Partners (gotta keep it deductible, don'cha know?) plus a luxury car and driver.

Your main employer gives you a luxury car and driver and you think it's not taxable income? C'mon. Hey Tommy, do you think Leo's outfit was deducting what you weren't claiming? Bet your sweet patootie.

You can't teach integrity, Mr. President. We wanted you to change the DC way of doing business, remember? Instead you're giving us tax breaks for people who don't pay taxes and leaders who don't pay either. Who's left? Just us. Poor us.

In your inaugural address you told us "The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works...". It usually does work, Mr. President, but in spite of, not because of, men like Mr. Geithner, Mr. Daschle, Mr. Richardson, Mr. Blagojevich and Mr. Spitzer.

It works because ordinary people struggle to make it work in spite of the venalties of their office holders and political appointees. It works because little people bear heavy burdens to make it work while our leaders too often bear none. They make it work because it's all they have. It's their only hope. They have no angels to consult for or senate seats to sell or offshare bank accounts to pay hookers with or multiple legal residences to claim tax exemptions for or bricks of cash in freezers. This is all we've got, Mr. President. This, and you. Make it work.

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