Taxing times

A word or two about this Daschle business, if you will.  I am a pretty big fan of Daschle’s — particularly those glasses — but not paying your taxes is really uncool (that goes for you, too, Wesley Snipes!).  And it’s something I don’t understand.  I realize that Tom has more to report than the one W2 I have, but I’m still confused by this “oversight” or whatever he’s calling it.  I don’t know what it means that he messed up on $15,000 in charitable giving.  Does this mean that he thought he gave $15,000 more than he did?  Geesh.  The car & driver thing I guess I can understand because there’s no real box for that (yes, I know, miscellaneous income or whatever, but I’m not sure it would occur to me that that was income).  But then the $80,000 from lobbying efforts that wasn’t reported…Ok, WHAT?  So, not knowing much about these things, does all this mean that he intentionally tried to get around the tax rules the rest of us abide by?  If so, holy cow — no kidding you’re not getting confirmed.  But it seemed to me that before he withdrew, it was looking like he would get confirmed and that everyone (ie Dems) was rallying behind him.  And then all of a sudden — bam!  — he’s out and Obama’s saying it was a mistake.  Is he saying it was a mistake to nominate him or a mistake to stand behind him?  He’s saying that he doesn’t want to send the message that there are two sets of rules — one for us and one for people who make lots of money.  That’s good, of course.  But that must mean that the mistake was supporting him, right?  Because — presumably — he did not know that Daschle was in arrears on his taxes when he threw his name out there.  And if his mistake was in supporting him, it seems that he continued to make that mistake until Daschle pulled out on his own (I know, maybe the White House gave him the hook, but they’re saying no).  I’m just not sure what to make of all of this.  Maybe nothing.

But it seems odd to me that the nominee for Treasury Secretary is green-lighted with his tax problems while the nominee for Health & Human Services Secretary is shown the door because of his.  Or, do you think, it was really the lobbying ties and he didn’t want to deal with it?  Please advise.


14 Responses to “Taxing times”

  1. 1 Kristin February 4, 2009 at 10:37 am

    I concur with so much of your befuddlement. And I will add: why on earth didn’t the Obama vetting team know anything about this? Or Geithner? Or that Nancy person? And if they did…? Then double ARGH!!! I mean, come on people. You ran the perfect campaign, pretty much.

    That said, I will still take this scandalous over Bush scandalous any day. You know how sometimes you swim up from sleep in the morning and have those weird dreamy thoughts not unlike the ones you have while falling asleep, only these are a bit more clear or profound or whatever because you are waking up and not conking out? This morning I just had this memory of people on their roofs in New Orleans in the hot sun, waving sheets and screaming for help. Scores and scores of them. And how scary and fucked up that was. And then I started to fully wake up and I felt the anxiety of that memory fade a bit. There’s an adult in charge again, and I’m still very grateful for it. Even if he is a politician.

  2. 2 gracieandkate February 4, 2009 at 11:02 am

    I’m completely on board with that. I don’t think this is some megascandal or anything, I’m just baffled by it and don’t know what it means, if anything. I mean, I suppose it’s up there with all other kinds of arrogance — Eliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, Ted Stevens…Well, maybe I should put Spitzer in with all those, and maybe not even Daschle. I mean, at least Spitzer and Daschle say they were wrong…But still, arrogance that you’re going to get away with something while you’re IN the public eye…It’s just such an odd psychology to me.

  3. 3 Kristin February 4, 2009 at 12:16 pm


  4. 4 gracieandkate February 4, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    We’ve reached 10,000 hits today! Hooray! Hooray!

  5. 5 Sara H February 4, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    I read the Obama “mistake” thing as an apology for supporting Daschle. Obama pretty clearly thought Daschle was going to get the green light notwithstanding the tax issue (which perhaps was not an unwarranted assumption after the Treasury secy thing, although that seemed more a geniune mistake), but I am pretty disappointed that he initially took that stance and he was right out there with it. I’m hoping he learns from his mistake. I appreciate that he’s willing to admit a mistake (which W seemed not so good at), but it’s pretty early in the presidency to be apologizing. Keep a clean house, dude! Let’s see the non-insidery-ness of your administration!

    Dopey politicians, take note: in the age of whistleblowers, instant celebrity, turbo tax and the internets, you can’t get away with stuff any more. So wise up and clean up. Willie Nelson is a national treasure, the rest of you are going to be disliked.

    Kate, I’m really sorry, but the Daschle glasses have GOT to go! 🙂

  6. 6 gracieandkate February 4, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Ha! I totally love the glasses. That’s so funny. And I agree on Obama’s apology — I appreciate it, but really — $140,000!?!?!? Come ON!

    Speaking of getting caught, this Michael Phelps nonsense is so annoying. Possible prosecution? Really? Which leads me to a different but related subject, we (and by “we” I mean the DOJ and not me at all) recently received an extradiction request from Texas to hand over a guy on a charge of possession of marijuana. WHAT?!?!?!!? Putting aside any feelings I have on the criminalization of marijuana, I still can’t believe Texas has the time or the resources in the midst of this megarecession to want to bring someone back for possessing pot. Nonsense! Why is everyone so crazy?

    And on final note, did you see the news about the college student asking Scalia — at some speech he was giving — why cameras are not aloud in supreme court proceedings when the proceedings are public and transcribed? His response? That that was a “nasty, impolite question” and moved on. Brills.

  7. 7 gracieandkate February 4, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Ok, full disclosure — I guess she also asked if his opposition to televised hearings was “vitiated” by justices going on book tours. Alright, perhaps the question was phrased in an impolite manner, but I’m not sure it’s nasty and I think it warrants a response.

  8. 8 gracieandkate February 4, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Ok, second disclosure, apparently Texas isn’t feeling the recession in the way the rest of us are. It’s been reported they have an 11 billion dollar surplus. You read that right. So maybe that extra money has to be spent and carting off pot smokers from the north is one way to do it.

  9. 9 Sara H February 4, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    I don’t know about this Phelps thing. He had the DUI, too, so maybe he needs to be on a little bit more of a leash, but on the whole, this last one was pretty innocuous. Further contributing to my skepticism about the propriety of criminal charges: the sheriff, according to msnbc, rose to power on the coattails of Miami Vice, and played the part by driving a porsche seized from a drug dealer.

    Ah, remember when Scalia came to UW? And my nutty professor (I can’t even remember the class, I just remember Jess was in it with me – Weisbard!) totally confronted him and Scalia told him to go put on his sandals and start a revolution if he wanted change? Me-ow!

  10. 10 gwendolyngarden February 5, 2009 at 12:28 pm

    The sheriff who drove the seized porsche had better be claiming that as income on his taxes. As K & I have discussed, use of a cell phone is another zany income benefit that must be claimed.

    No kidding you shouldn’t be allowed to skirt the tax laws, but I don’t think it would hurt to simplify the tax code. And get rid of AMT while you’re at it (those forms are ridic!)

  11. 11 gracieandkate February 5, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    For sure. Though I imagine Tom D. must have an accountant to help him with that mess.

    That’s hilarious, Sara, about Scalia. What a weirdo.

  12. 12 Kristin February 5, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Did you see that Ruth Bader Ginsburg has cancer? Sad. She seems very nice. And for some reason she likes Scalia and is his BFF. Good luck Ruth.

  13. 13 gracieandkate February 5, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I know! I mean, yeah, I know she’s sick and that’s really terrible, but it sounds like they caught it really early so I’m hopeful. But isn’t it funny how they ARE such good friends? Their families have a holiday dinner tradition and everything. Did you read that Toobin book? Yum!

  14. 14 rose February 5, 2009 at 5:07 pm

    Ok the whole Phelps thing is absolutely ridiculous. The only thing anyone saw was a picture. I didn’t realize you could bring charges for that. Was there actually pot in the picture? I haven’t seen it, but I sort of doubt this will go anywhere.
    Baltimore does not have time to be wasting the taxpayers money on prosecuting this sort of thing!. We DO NOT have a surplus!
    (like Texas has I guess…)

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February 2009

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