What the Right is Saying: Tim’s Taxes


I will be regularly posting clips called “What the Right is Saying” and “What the Left is Saying” from time to time — particularly when there is a point either side is making that reasonable people could scratch their head and say, ‘hey, that makes some sense. . .’
tim geithner.jpgFrom RedState.org’s Morning Briefing:

Tim Geithner Did What Leona Helmsley Did. She Went to Jail. Will He Go to Treasury?
Geithner is allegedly a brilliant career bureaucrat. He’s a political insider with his own ties to Obama, as Obama’s mother once reported to Geithner’s father. Having never worked in the private sector, he has cooked his personal books like one of the Wall Street swindlers Team Obama routinely excoriates.
Let us assume the oh-so brilliant Geithner – who does his own taxes because he is so smart – did innocently forget to pay the employer’s share of taxes related to an employee. That could happen; the Democrats sank Linda Chavez’ nomination as Labor Secretary over less.
Even so, there is the matter of Geithner’s own taxes. The International Monetary Fund sent notices to Geithner making clear he was responsible for his payroll taxes. He had direct knowledge that he was responsible, but he still refused to pay. He even accepted reimbursement from the IMF for those taxes and signed certifications that he’d paid them.
When he finally decided to pay, Geithner paid only enough to avoid potential criminal liability for failure to pay taxes. He willifully shortchanged the tax system even though he’d already been reimbursed for the taxes. There is no issue of mistake here. Geithner knew he had a tax obligation, took steps to pay his taxes, and deliberately paid only so much as to avoid criminal liability, but not so much as to pay his entire obligation.
Compare Geithner’s treatment by the media to Sarah Palin’s treatment.

— Steve Clemons


28 comments on “What the Right is Saying: Tim’s Taxes

  1. J-BO says:

    he didnt pay his taxes
    he signed a paper saying he understood he had to pay these taxes
    he received reimbursement for these taxes
    he took the reimbursement and still didnt pay the taxes
    if obama wants to make a statement of change in washington, he should pull geithner off the table


  2. Tosk59 says:

    Hmm, seems like the fact that no FICA, etc. was deducted from his pay should have been EASILY EVIDENT EVERY TIME HE LOOKED AT EVERY SINGLE PAYCHECK HE RECEIVED… So, 26 times a year (if paid bi-weekly) X several years. Then his employer notified him of the need to pay. Casting this a s a “taxes are complicated, it was a mistake anyone could have made” is rather disingenuous.


  3. Linda says:

    Geithner did get a bargain and great deal on these taxes for most of his adult life. MSM coverage of this has perhaps been confusing because media and perhaps IMF has been referring to them as PE taxes rather than the more common term of FICA (Social Security and Medicare).
    FICA is the easiest and least avoidable tax to calculate because it is assessed on gross pay (no deductions). It also happens to be the most regressive federal tax. 75% of U.S. taxpayers pay more in FICA tax than they do in federal income tax. The larger part of FICA is Social Security tax (total of 12.4% of gross salary. Self-employed pay the full amount. Employees pay half with their employer paying the other half.)
    BUT that tax is capped and paid on only the first $102,000 of gross pay. This figure is adjusted annually. Looking back at all Geithner’s jobs since college, it is likely that he started out at salaries above that level. I happen to recall that I went over the cap once around 1994 when my salary was $58,000 and didn’t have FICA deducted for my last paycheck of the year.
    According to Wiki for Geithner he was named President of Federal Reserve Bank of NY in 2003, and his salary there in 2007 was $398,200. The President and VP of U.S. have salaries of $400,000 and $198,600.
    I don’t want to get into “predator” class debates because Geithner will be confirmed and be Secretary of the Treasury in a week or two.
    My message to Geithner, Summers, and Obama is that when they start working on entitlements, they fix Social Security in part by eliminating that regressive cap.


  4. Frank says:

    Obama has given new meaning to the word “vetting”.
    So much for Obama’s perspicacity on what he thinks the people think of what Geithner has done.Or maybe he thinks we need a “devil” to undo what “devils” have done to our financial system ..Then he would be hailed as a realist.


  5. Perry Jefferies says:

    Without understanding all of the ins and outs of the preparation, payment, forgiveness issue I think that the executive starting out with an “embarrassment” for not following the rules he’ll be expected to manage is a negative but I think it is more ridiculous to believe that he is the only person in America that can do this job. What if he gets hit by a bus?
    The choice was a mistake and should be withdrawn, or walked away from.


  6. Dan Kervick says:

    Did Geithner stiff the government due to an oversight, or on purpose? I don’t know. And I don’t care. All I know is that this guy is supposed to be some sort of banking genius with great bureaucratic chops to boot.
    At the very worst, it looks like Geithner is a tight-fisted shark disposed to try to work the angles to hang onto his money. Is this the worst kind of guy to have in charge of the Treasury Department, managing the US government’s assets and dealing with our foreign creditors? Hardly.


  7. TonyForesta says:

    I do not know Mr Geithners networth, or how much he earns, or has earned in his various public servant positions, but in the spirit of goodsportsmanship, I will accept part of your retort WigWag recant the claim that Geithner is a member {himself} of the predator class, because I cannot prove it.
    That said he is an enabler, an apoligist for, and a minion of the predator class who have ruthlessly robbed and pillage the American people middle class for eight year, and perpetuated a system where thehaves play by and benefit from one set of rules, and the havenots are forced to play by, and are burdened by an entirely different set of rules.
    Geithner does not now, never has, and never will work for the poor or middle class Americans. He represents and works for the predator class exclusively.
    Geithner should withdraw himself from consideration for the Secretary of the Treasury, or Obama should force his withdrawl. There is no way to trust this man to work in the peoples best interests.


  8. Tahoe Editor says:

    Believe what you want to believe, but that’s totally wrong. He’s a gamer.

    WSJ: A Geithner Tax Amnesty // The ‘tax gap’ in profile
    Washington is abuzz over Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner’s $34,000 self-employment tax “mistake.” The brouhaha has prompted a second delay for Mr. Geithner’s confirmation hearing, which was originally scheduled for Friday but will now be put off until after the inauguration.
    When he does appear, Senators will want to know how a reputed financial wizard could have overlooked his Self-Employment Tax liability for four years. All the more so because he had signed a document from his employer at the time, the International Monetary Fund, certifying “that I will pay the taxes for which I have received tax allowance payments.” Democrats are saying this is no big deal, but if that’s true then perhaps they should consider applying their tax absolution a little more broadly.
    Some of our readers may recall something called “the tax gap,” which is the estimated difference between taxes due under the law and the taxes that the Internal Revenue Service actually collects. In 2007, the IRS estimated that the gap stood at $290 billion a year. And since Democrats took control of Congress, Senators like Max Baucus and Kent Conrad have made a fetish out of closing the gap. Mr. Baucus has browbeaten the IRS over the gap, demanding plans to close it and putting out newsletters decrying it.
    In response, the IRS issues regular “fact sheets” to inform taxpayers about such questions as whether your small business is actually a “hobby,” and how you can “help yourself by filing past due returns.” The IRS also audits taxpayers to check that their deductions are legitimate and that they’ve included all their 1099 income and so on. The IRS estimates that more than 90% of the gap is the result of honest mistakes or misunderstandings, but it also includes people who didn’t report their snow-shoveling income, their eBay sales or even their babysitting money.
    But now Mr. Geithner has come along seeking the job of overseeing the IRS, among other duties. And lo, Mr. Geithner is a living embodiment of The Gap.
    He’s no different from those people — you know who you are — who overestimated their charitable contributions or “forgot” about that $500 cash payment they received when it came time to do their taxes. Even after the IRS audited him in 2006, Mr. Geithner paid back taxes only for the two years — 2003 and 2004 — for which he had been audited. He did not bother to amend his 2001 and 2002 returns until late last year, when the tax issue came up during the Obama vetting process.
    But Mr. Baucus, who once called the tax gap “an affront to all the rest of us who pay our taxes,” is not affronted. “This is an honest mistake and it’s clear there was no intention not to pay,” said the Finance Committee Chairman.
    For our part, we are delighted that Mr. Baucus and Democrats are suddenly in such a forgiving tax mood. In addition to being a teaching moment for liberals, perhaps Mr. Geithner’s tax snafu can do all of America some good. We’d suggest that Mr. Geithner and Mr. Baucus together set a new standard for the IRS in dealing with people who, like Mr. Geithner, make a boo-boo on their tax returns.
    Let’s have an amnesty — with penalties waived, as they were for Mr. Geithner — for all those Americans who somehow “forgot” to pay their taxes but are now willing to fess up or are audited. If forgiveness is to be the order of the day for the man who may soon be responsible for the IRS, American taxpayers deserve a similar reprieve.


  9. Matt says:

    Totally unconvincing. He did make a payment, just wasn’t big enough. Honest mistake.


  10. Tahoe Editor says:

    Wrong. He was supposed to take the initiative and MAKE THE PAYMENT HIMSELF. He signed several forms pledging to do so. That’s the moral test he failed. Sorry, Tim, but it’s caught up with you.


  11. Matt says:

    Who is subject to U.S. income taxation on UN earnings?
    U.S. citizens and permanent residents who have signed the Waiver of rights, privileges, exemptions and immunities (the waiver) are subject to U.S. income tax on their UN earnings (latest tax circular). In addition, U.S. citizens serving in the U.S. are also subject to self-employment tax on their UN earnings. The UN reimburses those staff members who have to pay the U.S. income taxes due on their UN earnings as well as one half of the related self-employment taxes payable by U.S. citizens.
    source: http://tinyurl.com/8zwtxh
    I suspect that the IMF has an identical arrangement and that Geithner failed to pay the second half of those self-employment taxes because he was under the impression that the IMF was supposed to and, in fact, had covered his full tax bill.


  12. Tahoe Editor says:

    Not exactly. Actually, not at all.
    It’s like a Republican appointing an education secretary who wants to eliminate the Department of Education, or appointing an EPA administrator who wants to eliminate all barriers to pollution.
    Geithner paid the taxes when the vetting committee told him to. He didn’t pay the taxes when the IMF told him to (over and over and over). A former high-ranking Treasury official who willfully thumbs his nose at the I.R.S. should not be the tax collector in chief.
    There has to be someone better.
    Sorry, Tim, but those consequences you gambled on? They have arrived.


  13. WigWag says:

    “Let me ask you this: If it’s such an “innocent mistake”, why is everyone (including BO) saying it’s so “embarrassing”?”
    For the same reason everyone said the Zoe Baird and the Kimba Wood mistakes were so embarassing. Of course, Bill Clinton had to pull back those nominations because everyone said that someone who made a tax mistake couldn’t possibly be Attorney General.
    Geithner paid the taxes; he never committed a criminal act; why get so excited about something so unimportant.
    This whole thing is alot like the criticism that Bill Clinton shouldn’t raise money for his Foundation while Hillary is Secretary of State. It’s all heat but no light.
    It’s faux progressivism run amok.


  14. Tahoe Editor says:

    Nice. Apparently Geithner accepted ADDITIONAL COMPESATION from the IMF to PAY HIS TAXES. And he KEPT THAT COMPENSATION as well.
    No man is indispensable, and this man should not be the Tax Collector In Chief.

    EDITORIAL: Not fit for duty at Treasury
    Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner should follow New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s example and bow out.
    Now, the IMF is an international organization, not a U.S. business. So it does not withhold taxes from paychecks for Social Security and Medicare. U.S. employees are expected, and required by the IRS, to pay their own taxes. Geithner neglected this essential duty as a citizen and taxpayer. Sure, plenty of people don’t pay their taxes, either out of ignorance or duplicity. But those people shouldn’t be nominated for key positions in the U.S. Cabinet.
    Clearly, President-elect Obama considers Geithner a bright and talented individual who would bring important skills and ideas to the table during tough economic times. But Geithner’s failure to pay taxes, even if accidental, and the timing of his subsequent payment of those taxes, go to the heart of his suitability to assume responsibility for the nation’s Treasury.
    Richardson decided that the interests of the country were more important than his own, and left the national arena. Geithner should reach the same conclusion and withdraw now from consideration as Treasury Secretary.

    EDITORIAL: He took the money … and kept it
    President-elect Barack Obama’s designee for treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, faces questions about how he could have “forgotten” to report and pay more than $32,000 in self-employment taxes when he worked for the International Monetary Fund from 2001 to 2004.
    Mr. Geithner “accepted payment from the IMF as restitution for taxes that he had not, in fact, paid. …
    “The IMF took great care to explain to those employees, in detail and frequently, what their tax responsibilities were. … IMF employees were expected to pay their taxes out of their own money. But the IMF then gave them an extra allowance, known as a ‘gross-up,’ to cover those tax payments. At the end of the tax allowance form were the words, ‘I hereby certify that all the information contained herein is true to the best of my knowledge and belief and that I will pay the taxes for which I have received tax allowance payments from the Fund.’ Geithner signed the form. He accepted the allowance payment. He didn’t pay the tax. For several years in a row.”
    “It was my experience that executives who receive reimbursements on a grossed up basis are keenly interested if the amount they have received will indeed make them whole,” writes Rosslyn Smith at Americanthinker.com. “Receiving payments on a grossed up basis is not something that just slips one’s mind when preparing an income tax return.”
    If Mr. Geithner does indeed show signs of adherence to Leona Helmsley’s doctrine that “only the little people pay taxes,” that could be a legitimate reason to block him from running the Treasury … and the IRS.

    Geithner failed to pay a significant sum in taxes and was obliged to send the IRS a check for some $48,000. This is not, in and of itself, a disqualifying offense. Even Albert Einstein was moved to remark that the tax code is a most difficult thing to understand. What is much more serious is that Geithner, while neglecting to pay these taxes, accepted compensation from his employer, the International Monetary Fund, intended to offset the taxes he hadn’t paid. It is difficult to understand how Geithner could accept repayment for his taxes while unaware that he owed the taxes for which he was being repaid. This problem has similarly struck Tom Ochsenschlager, a tax expert with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, who said, “It’s such a basic mistake that I kind of wonder if we know all the facts.” Us, too.
    Consider this: Not long ago the United Way, probably the nation’s best-known charity, was the victim of an error in its tax record — an error committed by the IRS. The IRS’s response, naturally, was to put a lien on the United Way’s assets, along with charging interest and exacting penalties. (The IRS later reversed itself.) Geithner received no such rough treatment. Instead, he’s being made head tax-collector. In a republic that prides itself on being a nation of laws, there can be no separate, lenient tax code for the high and mighty while hoi polloi are left to face the ravening revenuers. If Democrats want to endorse a two-tier tax system (it’s all a mere “hiccup” says Harry Reid), Republicans should let them put up the votes for it on their own. President-elect Obama can and should do better for Treasury.


  15. Tahoe Editor says:

    Here is your “idiosyncrasy”:
    Whereas all other U.S. workers have their taxes withheld by their employers, The World Bank Group does not withhold. BECAUSE IT DOES NOT WITHHOLD, The World Bank Group tells its employees 1,000,000 times that their taxes won’t be withheld, and that the employees are therefore faced with a moral test: “Remember” to pay them yourself, or “forget” and see what happens. Tim Geithner got his paycheck and said, “Nice! No taxes!” And he felt no compulsion to pay them — or rather his compulsion to keep his money overrode any legal concerns he obviously didn’t have enough of.
    Let me ask you this: If it’s such an “innocent mistake”, why is everyone (including BO) saying it’s so “embarrassing”? It’s embarrassing because everyone knows he tried to game the system, and now he wants absolution because he’s faced with powers & responsibilities he obviously didn’t anticipate when he was cashing his IMF paychecks.
    Any first grader can understand this. There’s not one thing complicated about it. Giving him domain over the I.R.S. is a bad move.


  16. WigWag says:

    Geithner a member of the predator class? He’s been a public official his entire career. He’s probably made less money during his adult working life than most investment bankers or hedge fund managers make in six months. There are probably people who read this blog (and perhaps write for it) that make as much or more than Tim Geithner.
    I don’t know enough about Geithner to know whether he will do a good or bad job. I tend to agree with Paul Krugman that the Obama stimulus plan is a pale shadow of what it should be, and if Geithner had a role in drafting it; he should be criticized.
    But to call him a member of the predator class; or to bust his chops over an insignificant tax mistake; that seems like a bit much.
    People who devote their lives to public service instead of making millions of dollars when they easily could have, should be congratulated not eviscerated.


  17. TonyForesta says:

    True that Tahoe Editor. The predator class plays by an entirely separate set of rules as the rest of us plebes. Gaming the system is a right of passage for the predator class. The other 99.5% of the American population can never dream of accessing any of the tax deferrals, defrayals, write-off, write downs, and other tax dodges that are only available if one is superrich, one of the predator class. Gietner intentionally dodging his tax obligation in addition to all the other innovative, creative, and inventive tax options available to the predator class is conduct unbecoming, and illegal. Mere plebes would have the houses siezed, the paycheck garnished for 1/10 these amounts. Gietner is a Wall Street inside and directly responsible and culpable for conjuring, cloaking, and exacerbating the economic crisis.
    Obama should never have suggested his appointment in the first place, but now should remove Gietner from consideration, and appoint a candidate who will work for and in the best interests of the other 99.5% of the American people, and NOT the predator class.


  18. WigWag says:

    Nice to see you back, Tahoe or to be more accurate, nice to read your words!
    I don’t know what Geithner was or was not bombarded with, but there is no question that the tax status of US employees of instiutions such as the world bank is idiosyncratic. Geithner was an “employee” of the bank, just not for tax purposes. This certainly sounds “arcane” to me.
    My understanding is that he failed to pay self-employment taxes in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004. When he discovered the mistake he immediately paid the 2003 and 2004 taxes but not the self-employment taxes from the earlier years. I have read that the most likely explanation for this is that the IRS statute of limitations for matters like this had already past; in essence, Geithner no longer owed the tax; whether by mistake or trickery, he had gotten away with it; the taxes were no longer a legal obligation for him. In fact, the IRS didn’t even have a mechanism to pay the back taxes once that time thresh hold had past. Why? Because no one pays taxes they are no longer obligated to pay.
    Only an idiot would pay the back taxes under those circumstances; or a prospective Treasury Secretary. Of course Geithner ended up paying them.
    The whole thing will pass it no time; by this time next month no one will even remember it (kind of like the Olmert snub of Rice Steve Clemons mentioned in another post).
    The whole thing is simply trivial.


  19. Tahoe Editor says:

    It’s not just the right saying this.
    I worked at The World Bank Group. There’s nothing arcane or complicated about responsibly paying your taxes. Every U.S. employee at WB/IMF is bombarded with notices both before & after the hiring process, repeatedly and explicitly reminding them that they are responsible for taking the initiative to pay their own taxes. Then they’re all faced with a choice: Obey the law, or keep all your money and see what happens. There’s always a set of gamers who go for Option 2. Geithner was one of them.
    This isn’t a case of Geithner failing to understand tax preparation. It’s a case of Geithner seeing an opportunity to flout the system. There’s no expertise involved. The WB/IMF tells you 10 or more times: pay your taxes yourself. Then you do, or you don’t. Geithner didn’t. It’s that simple.
    Now that he has the chance to gain a lot of power, Geithner wants to be excused for this “innocent” mistake. Would that all Americans could be so rewarded for so-called innocent mistakes.


  20. questions says:

    Ever use an accountant to help with taxes? They typically say something like, “Don’t pay til the IRS comes after you.” Why pay more than you’re forced to pay? Now, this attitude doesn’t make you a moral citizen who takes tax-paying seriously, but it certainly does make you pretty typically American in your disdain for law, for taxes, for obedience. (I believe he had a fair amount of professional help along the way.)
    Geithner is clearly a tax cheat, but I’m guessing that many many other people are as well. Do you declare every penny? Do you pay “use tax”? (Look it up.) Do you keep records of garage sale income? Have you ever been paid under the table….
    Not a disqualification, but let’s embarrass the hell out of him while we have a chance.


  21. Will says:

    Honestly, these guys are morons. For those of us that actually consider ourselves Conservatives or the “right” if you will, printing the stupidity that comes from PowerLine or RedState just confuses people further. Unfortunately, we’ve got too many folks out there that are unwilling to objectively (and analytically) examine their beliefs…so they outsource that to the fools at these blogs.
    Giving them an audience just makes it more difficult for well-meaning Conservatives to have serious debates with our counterparts on the left. If you really want to hear what the right thinks (to spur intellectually debate), have a legitimate guest poster from time to time.
    With respect to Geithner, if these guys knew anything at all, they’d know that Geithner is going to be little more than a figure-head at Treasury. The incoming administration is not allowing him to bring in any of his folks (a serious error in my judgement). I have mixed feelings on Geithner. On the one hand I think that of all the people that Obama could have realistically chosen, he’s one of the best people. On the other…the guy needs a serious ego check.


  22. Matt says:

    Forgive me if I’m wrong here, but I think there is a general understanding when you go to work for an international governmental organization (like the World Bank, IMF, or United Nations) that you will not personally have to pay taxes to the country you are actually working in. I think when the UN was established, for example, the idea was supposed to be that UN work would not be taxed by the countries it was located in. The United States government didn’t like this, so they made it a precondition for joining that the USG COULD collect taxes on UN activities. The UN then promised it would foot the bill for its employees. So, with this kind of institutional background, it is entirely understandable if an employee of such an organization believes that he does not have to pay any additional tax to USG out of his own pocket.


  23. Zathras says:

    I frankly don’t know if Mr. Geithner is the best choice for Treasury in terms of his ability. However, the culture of entitlement among people of means and influence in Washington is not something we ought to be indifferent to.
    A mistake of more than $30,000 in one’s taxes is not a small one. Excusing that mistake can’t really be just a matter of complaining one didn’t understand the law and was too cheap to hire a tax preparer who did. One’s friends and associates will buy that excuse; the media and the doormat Congress will too. That doesn’t make it a good one. If we knew a potential nominee for Secretary of Transportation had a record of moving violations and DWI arrests, he wouldn’t get the job no matter how good he was thought to be on transportation policy. This really isn’t any different.
    Perhaps there is more to this story than has been published to date; I have nothing personally against Geithner and do not wish to be unfair. However, Barack Obama is not short of people who would serve adequately as Treasury Secretary — actually, he may have more such people in his administration than he can really use — and if Geithner were forced to withdraw it would be a minor and temporary misfortune, not a public policy disaster. I’d be more concerned about his nomination being approved because he were considered enough a part of “our crowd” that not paying his taxes isn’t considered that important.


  24. michael claussen says:

    Tim Geithner may be a skilled and capable policy wonk, but he has no less responsibility for his taxes than any of the rest of us. If we are all going to a have a “little skin in” to right this ship, we need people at the top of the skin game with a little less larceny of the soul and a lot more standing-up every time to be responsible.
    If he had someone else do his taxes, he is still responsible, just like us smucks in the hinterland of Kalamazoo. Every time we Michigan dirt farmers read of another smart-as-a-whip insider playing the system we stuff more money into the mattress and sit on our front porches, holding our shotguns with one eye open for the next snake-oil salesman hawking a cure.


  25. WigWag says:

    Expecting Tim Geithner to be an expert in tax preparation is alot like expecting Frank Gehry to be an expert in the installation of dry wall. Even if someone gave Gehry a memo on how to do it, would anyone be surprised if he made a mistake or two along the way? Conversely, would anyone expect a sheet rock installer to be able to design the Guggenheim in Bilbao even if someone handed him an architecture text book first?
    My only point is that so often what the press plays up as consequential because of its likelihood to titillate is, upon intelligent reflection, a non-issue.
    The Geithner story is the perfect example of this. And while many Americans may have “felt the harsh hand of the IRS” isn’t it possible that a Treasury Secretary who made his own tax preparation mistakes might be motivated to have the IRS operate in a more customer friendly and less “harsh” way?


  26. JoeSuppose says:

    The short WigWag:
    Tim Geithner is Jewish, and Leona (Rosenthal) Helmsley is Jewish, and next you will be posting something about Bernie Maddoff.
    So is all this good for the Jews? especially all this Jews and money, and Jews and New York. What will the gentiles think?
    Not good, and Wig’s is right there to defend compatriots.


  27. Steve Clemons says:

    Thanks for the note WigWag — I don’t think that this is a non-story for many Americans which is why I posted it. I think many have felt the harsh hand of the IRS and want to make sure that we aren’t perpetuating double standards.
    But I do agree with you that Tim Geithner is more than qualified to be Secretary of the Treasury despite these tax mistakes.
    best, steve


  28. WigWag says:

    The idea that Tim Geithner is unqualified to be Secretary of the Treasury because he made a mistake in tax preparation (failing to comprehend the arcane rules related to the self-employment tax)is just plain dumb. It’s exactly the type of non-story, story that the press likes to pretend is important. In doing so, the press treats Americans like they’re idiots and distracts their attention from things that really matter.
    It’s important for the Secretary of the Treasury to understand tax policy, not tax preparation. It’s important for the Secretary of the Treasury to be an expert on economic policy and financial regulation not to have the expertise of your average tax preparer at H&R Block.
    I don’t know if Geithner will do a good job or a bad job, but I do know that this story is bogus. By the way, it was also bogus when the Republicans brought it up about Zoe Baird and Kimba Woods and when the Democrats brought it up about Linda Chavez.
    This is why our politics is so unfailingly ridiculous. We have a miserable press-corp. It’s a press corp that thinks we’re all Rubes.


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