The Campaign Spot

Geithner Ought To Establish a Kindler, Gentler IRS

From the comments that GOP senators and staff are making to The Washington Post, it appears few righties on Capitol Hill really want to push hard against the nomination of Tim Geithner to be Treasury Secretary.

Even though the list of violations of tax law is piling up: failing to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes while at IMF for four years, while being informed by his employer that they didn’t do so; collecting a reimbursement for those taxes while at IMF; not correcting the errors made in 2001 and 2002 when he paid the back taxes for 2003 and 2004; using his child’s time at overnight camps to calculate deductions for dependent-care; taking deductions for ineligible donations to charity; failing to pay an early-withdrawal penalty for a retirement plan; and employing a housekeeper whose papers have expired.

Other than that, he’s in the clear… except for his role in the bailout and his spotty oversight of Citibank in recent years.

Now, if Geithner really is the best-qualified and “about as conservative a nominee as you could hope for,” and the consensus of the U.S. Senate and the incoming administration is that the above list of violations of tax law are truly “hiccups,” I will have no objection other than to say we need to make this the new rule, not a special exception. No more can tax “hiccups” be a reason to keep anyone out of any position in government. The IRS must treat every citizen with the deference and easygoing manner they treated Geithner.

Roger Simon is right in asking whether a Geithner-run IRS will be as easy on other people when they say they made “honest mistakes.”

We cannot have one interpretation of tax law for the Washington aristocracy, and another one for the rest of us.

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