Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Genuinely disappointed

First off, I was hipped to the notion that there is a “Park to Park Run” in a couple of weekends that goes from Hermann to Discovery.

That’s not completely out of the question.  A nice 5 miler would do me well.  Hell, any running would do me well.  I need to get off my fat ass.


Ok, now look.  I’m genuinely disappointed that Daschle withdrew his name from consideration for President O’s cabinet.


Yes, there was plenty of funny to poke at with VP Biden having said “it’s patriotic to pay more in taxes” and then President O picking nominee after nominee who disagrees.  There’s plenty of funny there.


But it’s still not a big deal.  So what if Daschle didn’t pay taxes on non-cash income?  Who among us HASN’T taken cash for a job and not declared it as income?  I never once declared a single penny of a single tip I ever received.  Lawn mowed?  $20, cash, tax free.  Yup.  I’m not ashamed to admit it.  Come on after me, IRS.  I don’t care.  It’ll cost you more to investigate it than you’ll recover, and I don’t think you can even prove I ever received the money.

But in Daschle’s case, his benefactor benefited from declaring the expense as pay to another—some kind of form, I’m a little vague on details of high flying tax crap—the driver benefited from declaring the income, and that, in turn, would have forced Daschle to acknowledge the benefit as income.


Yes, it’s against the law and there is an ethical obligation to abide by the law.  ESPECIALLY if you’re a public servant.  But it is NOT your ethical obligation to go out of your way to find out if there is any law that you’re NOT abiding by.  Which is to say, you drive the speed limit, as far as you know what the speed limit is.  You’re not obliged to call the DPS every so many miles to confirm that the limit hasn’t changed from the last sign you read.  In Daschle’s case, he clearly wasn’t trying to avoid paying taxes—he filed a return and signed it.  He clearly intended to pay taxes.  All evidence suggests that this was a simple oversight.  One of those “oh, you declared that?” moments.  At that point was he ethically obligated to pay?  Yup.  Should an oversight disqualify him?  Nope.


What disappoints me most, I think, is that after the SecTreas was confirmed, I had hoped that there truly was a different atmosphere where the Chief would stand up and say “you know, that’s really not a big deal.  Do you know how much $120,000 is to the federal government?  We just spent that much, just now.  And now again.  And again.  And again.  $120k is nothing.  And he’s paid it back.”


But he didn’t say that.


And now Daschle has pulled out.


And Daschle is still uniquely qualified to head up Health and Human Services.  If you wanted health care reform, that’s the guy who would have gotten some kind of holistic solution.  Maybe not a perfect solution, but a complete solution that helped people get meds for a cold before it turned into pneumonia.


But no.  He can’t.  ‘Cause he farted in church.  So he can’t serve in public office any more.  Ever.  Never ever.  Over what amounts to not even a rounding error on the US Federal budget.


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