Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Dodged a Bullet...

...over his tax problems. If his confirmation hearings came after those of Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer, he would not be Treasury Secretary today.

Still, given the news today that Tom Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader chosen by Barack Obama to head Health and Human Services, and to lead an overhaul of health care, pulled his nomination over tax problems, and news that Nancy Killefer — nominated by Obama to be the government's first chief performance officer — failed to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help, and withdrew her nomination today, saying that she did not want to become a distraction for the administration, it is unlikely to be an easy night for Geithner.

Geithner is most likely not in serious trouble in his position as Treasury Secretary unless, and this is the key, a major player starts making some noise about the hypocrisy of Geithner overseeing the IRS while failing to pay taxes. Especially given that the Daschle and Killefer tax problems resulted in their withdrawing from consideration for their respective positions. And given their problems are at least a notch below Geithner's. (Killefer's are about a hundred notches below.)

Daschle belatedly paid $128,203 in taxes and $11,964 in interest, mostly relating to services provided to him, i.e.,access to a driver he used. While, Killefer didn't pay $995 in unemployment taxes required to be paid on household help.

On the other hand, Geithner, while working at the Word Bank, simply didn't pay required taxes on his World Bank income.

There's enough firewood, if someone wants to build a bonfire. But, no one has been spotted with lighter fluid.

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