The ultimate irony of the entire bailout, infrastructure, stimulus plan is that those proposing it or poised to be major players in it do not even pay the entirety of the taxes they owe. Barack Obama played teacher in a lesson on the obvious when he admitted that he made a mistake and that those with power and influence are held to a different (read: nearly non-existent) standard than everyday Americans, at least when it comes to paying taxes. All of this is fallout from Tom Daschle remvoing his name from nomination for Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary when it was revealed that he was able to skirt paying his full share of taxes by improperly reporting charitable donations and not listing all of his income. This after Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner admitted his own tax mistakes during his confirmation hearings and Obama's nominee for Chief Performing Officer bowed out after her own tax problems. So there are two scenarios (which are not mutually exclusive): A, the tax codes are archaic and too complicated for anyone to figure out and we should simplify them (though this would put numerous lawyers and accountants out of business) or B, these people thought they could get away with it and it came back to bite them in the ass.
One positive that can come out of this whole thing is that Obama is admitting a mistake (something it took Bush years to do). Not only is Obama admitting mistakes, but when given the opportunity to pass the buck to Daschle, he refused and instead insisted that it was his own fault. Is this for show? I don't know, but after five years of "Mission Accomplished," I think Obama admitting a mistake is a step forward regardless.
The one thing to come out of all this can be summed up in a single word: embarrassment. It's an embarrassment for the Obama administration because it makes it look like they did a McCain campaign-like job of vetting these nominees. It's even more embarrassing for the actual nominees themselves, who made hundreds of thousands of dollars and could not either pay their taxes correctly or hire someone else to do it if they feel they were not qualified. They also lied to Obama and that lie was exposed on a national level. It also takes a qualified HHS nominee out of the running, so it not only hurts Obama and Daschle, but also Americans across the nation. To end this brief post, I'd like to point out Republican strategist Ed Rollins' assertion that Daschle did the "honorable" thing by bowing out of the nomination process. I'd have to disagree and say that Daschle saved face by bowing out; the honorable thing would have been to pay his taxes. Peace.
Photo - Tom Daschle (Wikipedia)