Timothy Geithner is allegedly an inspired pick by Barack Obama to be our next Treasury Secretary. Those who claim that the madness of crowds can suddenly be rational point to the fact that the stock market rose 500 points on the day that Wall Street learned of his nomination. Of course, the bipolar market has since gone down and no one claims that that means that Wall Street has suddenly lost faith in its gifted insider, Tim Geithner.
Geithner’s confirmation by Congress was supposed to be a formality (and with this Congress, what Obama nominee wouldn’t see it all as a formality?). But a funny thing happened on the way to the Treasury Department: it has come out that Geithner, who would be put in charge of “saving” our economy from economics and be head of the IRS among other things, can’t do his own taxes.
He keeps making mistakes and the mistakes always seem to go one way — in his favor.
Geithner, for example, confused his children’s bourgeois sleep-away camps with “dependent child care” and deducted them for years. It was an honest mistake.
Geithner paid an “undocumented foreign worker” to do his housekeeping for three months. It was an honest mistake. No word on if the illegal alien in question was related to Barack Obama in any way.
Geithner made early withdrawals from his retirement plan and forgot all about the penalties incurred (until he was nominated, anyway). He made improper business deductions, improper charitable deductions, and accidentally expensed his personal utility bills. These were all honest mistakes.
And then Geithner forgot to pay all his Social Security and Medicaid taxes for four years while working for the International Monetary Fund. Not only was this mistake “honest,” but according to those who tout the Obama talking points, it is also “common.” I don’t what they think is common — working as a contractor for international power organizations or not noticing for four years that your pay statement says “$0” in the little spot for Social Security and Medicaid withholdings.
Under Federal rules, Geithner, as a self-employed contractor, was supposed to pay his Social Security and Medicaid taxes himself (both the employer and the employee halves). The IMF informed him of this repeatedly and according to some sources actually gave Geithner checks to reimburse him for his Social Security and Medicaid taxes. Geithner may have taken those checks and still forgotten to pay his taxes. It was an honest mistake that he half-corrected when it was discovered in an audit. The statute of limitations had expired on the other half, but now that he wants to be an Obaminion, he’s cut a check for that half as well.
This is what we know. I have a feeling we might soon know of even more honest and common tax mistakes now that the confirmation has slowed down from rubber-stamp to reasonable speed.
Now there are two possibilities here: either Geithner is skirting the “contribution” system that Obama wants us all to pay more into, or else he really can’t understand the tax code.
If it’s the first possibility, then I can at least respect the man for fighting to keep his own possessions within the full extent of the law — and apparently a bit beyond that extent. I wish more people would do so, so that we could deny the Federal government the life’s blood on which that vampire grows: our money. Denying the government money (within all legal bounds of course) is not just wise, but it is also a moral necessity for anyone that believes in small government. Geithner wants to work for Obama, so apparently he does not believe in small government. In his case it must all be honest mistakes, right?
And if we choose to believe that that’s true, then what does that tell us about our system?
Our tax system is so huge, Byzantine, corrupt, worm-eaten, all-encroaching, complex and self-contradictory that even an economic “genius” like Tim Geithner, the Treasury Secretary nominee, the President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, a graduate of both Dartmouth and Johns Hopkins, a former employee of Kissinger and Associates, the Treasury Department, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the International Monetary Fund, as well as a protégé of both Robert Rubin and Lawrence Summers, cannot (apparently) understand how to do his own taxes.
And if such a genius as this can’t, who can? If our income tax system cannot be followed, it is the tax system that is criminal. Yet where is the movement to abolish it and replace it with an understandable and just alternative such as a flat tax, a fair tax, a sales tax, or a reverse lottery in which the government would just pick people to steal from randomly (yes, even that would be more fair than our current rotten system)?
Either Tim Geithner should not be confirmed, or the IRS should be abolished. But it would be morally inconsistent to keep both in the same government.
Oh heck, maybe Obama should just show a little courage and give the job to Larry Summers.