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Tax Trouble at Treasury
January 14, 2009 6:28 PM   Subscribe

Timothy Geithner is an experienced financial leader (previously). He is President Obama's pick to run the Treasury Department, which includes the Internal Revenue Service. The problem is that Mr. Geithner did not pay more than $30,000 in taxes, even his employer reminded him to do so. Now his nomination may be in jeopardy. Is Mr. Geithner the new Zoe Baird?
posted by Slap Factory (63 comments total)

 
But did he pay $29,999 in taxes?
posted by AwkwardPause at 6:34 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


He paid his taxes. What is the problem. It's certainly not that he owes taxes.
posted by parmanparman at 6:39 PM on January 14, 2009


What cracks me up is that THIS is what the Republicans go after - his tax bill and nanny whose green card lapsed. Let's overlook the fact that as a member of the Federal Reserve for New York he let malfeasance pass without a second glass, failed to investigate Wall Street and looked the other way, helped to mismanage the financial morass we're in and all the while has been a part of the "nobody could have seen this coming" crowd.

No, why would we want to have appointment hearings of substance?
posted by tgrundke at 6:40 PM on January 14, 2009 [15 favorites]


Ahem

The committee report paints Geithner as a sloppy bookkeeper

from the AP link.
posted by captainsohler at 6:41 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was never a big fan of Geithner. I consider him an insider, and someone who has less incentive to rock the boat and more incentive to simply "save the banks", i.e. moral hazard. He was instrumental in the Bear Stearns bailout. His opinion was valued during the Lehman bankruptcy. And now it seems that Bank of America is getting a bailout to save Merrill Lynch (which is just horseshit; if fucker Ken Lewis' eyes are bigger than his mouth, maybe he should shut the fuck up and let Merrill fail, or at least step down as CEO for being a complete dumbass after buying Countrywide AND Merrill in 6 months).

But after watching the Republicans delay his nomination, and really squiggle in their chairs, I'm starting to reconsider. If they hate him that much, maybe he's not all that bad. I'm waiting to see the real reason Republicans are going after him (perhaps they're trying to setup Republican Sheila Bair as Treasury Secretary).
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:46 PM on January 14, 2009


He paid his taxes. What is the problem. It's certainly not that he owes taxes.

I suppose the problem is that he did not pay his taxes when he was supposed to, and then did not pay the taxes he owed until after he was selected to lead the federal agency that is responsible for our nation's finances, even though he was serving in a high-ranking position with the Federal Reserve up to that point.

Maybe non-payment of taxes -- even a lot of taxes -- is a venial sin nowadays.
posted by Slap Factory at 6:48 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


"But after watching the Republicans delay his nomination, and really squiggle in their chairs, I'm starting to reconsider. If they hate him that much, maybe he's not all that bad."

Sounds like you're part of the problem.
posted by Johnny Porno at 6:51 PM on January 14, 2009 [3 favorites]


No, he's not.
posted by Max Power at 7:00 PM on January 14, 2009


he let malfeasance pass without a second glass

Malfeasance should be glassed at least twice.
posted by Nick Verstayne at 7:06 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe I'm old fashioned, but I don't think a tax dodger should be the head of Treasury. Secretary of Education? Sure. Secretary of Agriculture? Why not. But Treasury?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:07 PM on January 14, 2009


Let the bears pay the bear tax. I pay the Homer tax.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:15 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


From what I understand, while the IMF does tell their employees that they have to pay social security tax, they don't tell you that you have to pay both employee and employer portions. I believe Mr. Geitner only failed to pay the employer portion.
posted by electroboy at 7:22 PM on January 14, 2009


Is this the thing that the media goes on about when they think fiscal policy is too boring and complicated for their audience?

Now the public knows that they have to be careful paying their taxes when working for the IMF, but what I would like to know instead is what policies the new Treasury secretary has and will support.
posted by demiurge at 7:25 PM on January 14, 2009


According to the transition team, Mr. Geithner's accountant advised him that he was not required to pay the employer payroll taxes on his IMF salary. If that's true, it was a pretty serious error by his tax preparer, but Geithner himself is probably off the hook. It's embarrassing, but I doubt it's a deal-breaker for his nomination.

The housekeeper thing is a non-issue. She was legal when he hired her, and it's not clear he ever knew her status had lapsed.
posted by EarBucket at 7:25 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


Your axe, sir. Is it sufficiently sharp yet?
posted by joe lisboa at 7:27 PM on January 14, 2009


According to the transition team, Mr. Geithner's accountant advised him that he was not required to pay the employer payroll taxes on his IMF salary.

Really? The Form 1040 SE isn't conducive to that error, because it doesn't have you calculate the employer and employee halves separately.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:46 PM on January 14, 2009


It's like: even the smartest guys they can find are too dumb to pay their taxes.

SIGH
posted by sporb at 7:50 PM on January 14, 2009


Remeber the Obama team saying how if you wanted a job in his administration you had to come clean with details about your blogging/on-line activities?

Yeah. This guy fucked up the old-fashioned way. I shouldn't take any pleasure in that but I do.
posted by bardic at 8:02 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The worker had documents verifying her status as a legal worker, but they expired in July 2005 and she continued to work for Geithner until October of that year.

Dunno if that's what happened in her case, as the news accounts are spotty, but it's entirely common for your documents to expire even though your status did not. In at least some of those circumstances, existing employers are specifically forbidden from re-verifying eligibility when documents expire.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:15 PM on January 14, 2009


Let's overlook the fact that as a member of the Federal Reserve for New York he let malfeasance pass without a second glass...

Without a second glass of scotch? Not enough to account for overlooking malfeasance.

But, if second glances are involved, maybe so.
posted by ericb at 8:19 PM on January 14, 2009


He reportedly accepted reimbursement from the IMF for taxes he didn't pay.
posted by Jahaza at 8:19 PM on January 14, 2009


The republicans don't "Hate" Geithner. A lot of people think he'd still be treasury secretary if McCain had been elected as well. Republicans like this guy, and he'll get the nomination. A couple of them just want to embarrass Obama. It's nothing.

Frankly, what they ought to be doing is looking into what exactly he did during the bailouts which were so horribly mismanaged. The whole thing was a joke and he was right there in the middle of it.
posted by delmoi at 8:29 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The guy should not get a pass on this. He should be instructed to pretend he's voluntarily withdrawing his name.
posted by wrapper at 8:36 PM on January 14, 2009


President-elect Barack Obama concedes that, in light of the economic situation which the nation faces, "not everything that we talked about during the campaign are awe going to be able do on the pace we had hoped.''And there will be some "sacrifice'' ahead, he says - "everybody's going to have some skin in the game.''

Well, not quite everyone.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:44 PM on January 14, 2009


Best of the Google Newswire.
posted by Poolio at 8:59 PM on January 14, 2009


I gotta go with Jefferson. Sometimes, if you can't get a good apple, you need a new barrel.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:59 PM on January 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


From what I understand people who work for the IMF have a complicated deal with their taxes, and stuff like this happens pretty often. Geitner wasn't doing his own taxes and his accountant didn't deal with the problem appropriately. It really seems to me like it sounds like a bigger problem than it actually is.
posted by I Foody at 9:08 PM on January 14, 2009


Delmoi, I like how your entire second paragraph basically repeats what I said, and yet somehow you still want to argue with me. The whole reason I'm intrigued by Republican opposition of Geithner is because he worked so closely with Paulson and Bernanke (both Rs). Given his role in the Bear bailout, he clearly has no better vision than any other Republican (or Democrat, considering Dodd, Frank, and Schumer's ineptitude). And even before Obama's pick, Bair's name was thrown around (pretty seriously). So perhaps the grandstanding is because Geithner may choose a different path of action going forward (hence the opposition to him). Probably not in all likelihood, but a guy can dream.

Think about it this way: does Geithner have the balls necessary to completely nationalize the entire banking industry? Can he force banks to write down mortgages and commercial loans to prevent complete collapse? Isn't that the Republicans' greatest fear?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 9:16 PM on January 14, 2009


No, why would we want to have appointment hearings of substance?
posted by tgrundke at 9:40 PM on January 14


Oh for fuck's sake, he's nominated to the Secretary of the Treasury. The IRS is part of the Treasury. He was audited by the branch of government he's being appointed to run. If he wasn't going to be nominated, he never would have paid his taxes. This is substance.

Geitner wasn't doing his own taxes and his accountant didn't deal with the problem appropriately.

If Geitner becomes Secretary, can I use this excuse if I get audited?

Fuck this guy, and fuck Obama for this shitty pick, and for all the others. Every nominee for these top level cabinet posts needs to be squeaky clean, brilliant, capable, and effective. No passes, no excuses. If the tax law is too complicated for him to understand, then he shouldn't be in charge of enforcing it.

Throw him in the garbage and find someone else.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:24 PM on January 14, 2009 [8 favorites]


Republicans are neither morally competent nor have the intellectual faculties to judge Obama's nominations — and certainly not any nominations that relate to our economy, after they gutted the Treasury and bailed out Wall Street.

Hopefully we can get the impeachment processes started as soon as possible, so that we can get these right-wing crooks out of any position of power, so that they can no longer play these stupid games.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:28 PM on January 14, 2009


I don't trust Geithner, in that he seems to come from the old, failed type of economic mindset.

Given the current economic situation, and the challenges we're about to face, I'd be happier with a nominee more like Joe Ades.
posted by rokusan at 9:29 PM on January 14, 2009


The worst part of the scandal isn't that Geithner didn't pay FICA taxes in the first place, but that after being audited in 2006, he only paid what he owed for 2003-04. Although he had made the same 'honest mistake' in 2001 and 2002, the statute of limitations precluded the IRS from auditing those earlier returns, and he went ahead and kept the money because legally he could. It was only when the Obama team went over all of his returns that Geithner decided to pay the older portion of his back taxes. This points to a moral failure over an embarassingly paltry sum.
posted by metaplectic at 9:30 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


Republicans are neither morally competent nor have the intellectual faculties to judge Obama's nominations — and certainly not any nominations that relate to our economy, after they gutted the Treasury and bailed out Wall Street.

Your brush is a bit broad, there, but there's a great idea for a shutdown argument there. Something like...

"Honored colleague, I do not trust your party's judgment regarding economic leadership."

The replay value would be huge.
posted by rokusan at 9:31 PM on January 14, 2009


From the WSJ article:
Mr. Geithner prepared his own federal-tax returns during the first two years he worked at the IMF, 2001 and 2002, according to the Senate Finance Committee report.
posted by metaplectic at 9:36 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


even better:

Mr. Geithner "filled out, signed and submitted an annual tax allowance request worksheet with the IMF that states, 'I wish to apply for tax allowance of U.S. federal and state income taxes and the difference between the "self-employed" and "employed" obligation of the U.S. Social Security tax which I will pay on my Fund income,'" the Finance Committee reported.
posted by metaplectic at 9:38 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


From the AP article "In 2006, the IRS audited Geithner for the tax years 2003 and 2004, resulting in $16,732 in additional taxes and interest. The IRS waived penalties. Geithner left the IMF in 2003, but some of his compensation was not paid until 2004, so that year was affected, too.".
Did the IRS look at the previous two years that had the same set of circumstances? No Did Greither amend those returns when it had been brought to his attention? Not until he faced the confirmation process.
These money guys know the score. Due to budget cuts the amount of IRS agents and officers has dropped almost 10% under the Bush adminstration. And on the odd chance you do get caught, you hire a lawyer who will negotiate that if penalties are dropped, the tax will be paid in full. The IRS will ask for a 5% interest rate, but that is just the price of doing business. No harm, no foul.
The libertarian renegade tax protestors make the news, but the regular cheats are an everyday ocurrance.
Someone in the business told me, "Ya just plead stupidity and take your chance, and usually it works out OK" Also that it is believable to forget or overlook something, but to avoid making up false records, yes, that constitutes fraud. Everyone in the financial industry knows the drill. It would be difficult for them to find a candidate for the post that didn't have some of the same issues, just like Kimba Wood and Zoe Baird's nanny issues. Strict adherence to the rules do not necessarily apply, unless you know you're headed for a cabinet level post.
posted by readery at 9:39 PM on January 14, 2009


The shame of this tax bullshit is that it's going to take time and attention away from potentially interesting questions about Geithner's role in managing the crisis so far and what he plans to do if confirmed. I could forgive this fuck-up if he had a truly sensible plan and good excuses for what's happened so far. But now I don't think I'll even find out.
posted by mullacc at 9:41 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


And I don't even want to get started on the lack of corporate tax enforcement under Bush, as I want to get a good night's sleep - But besides all the bullshit spouted about tax rates and "socialism", we need to address the broken tax collection system we have.
Tax Collection was outsourced in 2006, with very little oversight.
The system needs an overhaul, and I don't think that's what Obama and the Senate Finance Committee want. I want to believe in the whole change thing, but this nominee is not looking like that is the direction we're headed in.
posted by readery at 9:50 PM on January 14, 2009


And I don't even want to get started on the lack of corporate tax enforcement under Bush, as I want to get a good night's sleep

It's more complicated than that. Apparently, under Bush, corporate tax revenues as a percentage of GDP hit their lowest since 1983 (in 2003) and their highest since 1978 (in 2006).
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:09 PM on January 14, 2009 [2 favorites]


I want to believe in the whole change thing, but this nominee is not looking like that is the direction we're headed in.
posted by readery at 12:50 AM on January 15


I stopped believing in the whole "change" thing the moment Obama picked Bush's Secretary of Defense to be his Secretary of Defense.

We don't need someone with theories and lofty big change ideas. There was no avoiding this economic slump in 2005, it is certainly unavoidable now. You need a practical person who has experience managing actual money, because those are the people who understand the difference between how the system should and how it actually works.

It would be difficult for them to find a candidate for the post that didn't have some of the same issues, just like Kimba Wood and Zoe Baird's nanny issues.

Maybe not in New York or Washington, but the best finance people don't work out of there. They work out of Omaha, Nebraska and Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. They run money out of Tennessee and Texas. They are the sharp-pencil, old-school contingent. They are very sober, very reserved, very quiet, and very very good at what they do. And they pay their taxes, and follow the rules that everyone else follows. Granted, unlike Obama's pick for Treasury, none of them worked for Henry Kissinger, but I consider that to be a good thing.

I refuse to believe that there are no clean qualified people in the United States. But I don't really think the Republicans or the Democrats are looking very hard to find them.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:13 PM on January 14, 2009 [4 favorites]


Really? The Form 1040 SE isn't conducive to that error, because it doesn't have you calculate the employer and employee halves separately.

I personally read not one line of this crap. Instead I hand to it a paid professional to do this. If this man's defense is that his paid professional made a minor, non-criminal error, and he has subsequently paid the correct taxes and penalties, I literally care not a tap about it.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:14 PM on January 14, 2009


If this man's defense is that his paid professional made a minor, non-criminal error, and he has subsequently paid the correct taxes and penalties, I literally care not a tap about it.

My point was that it's not a minor error. If it was an honest error, it was a bafflingly stupid one, particularly if made by a tax professional. It's also interesting that the same mistake was apparently made both in years Geithner was filing his own taxes and in years he wasn't. And it's hard to explain is why he sought reimbursement for taxes he apparently thought he didn't have to pay, and didn't pay.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 10:27 PM on January 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


if you can't get a good apple, you need a new barrel.

your interstellar shuttle, when does it leave?
posted by troy at 12:15 AM on January 15, 2009


Am I the only one who thinks that this is all misdirected anger and vitriol? That people just want to be pissed at Obama for something, so they pick this? I understand that we're all angry about the current fiscal conflagration, but c'mon, this is ridiculous. Guy messed up his taxes, and trying to devine whether or not he did it on purpose, whether or not he knew what he was doing was improper, is idiotic. Oh, and all that stuff about "the IMF told Geithner to pay it" is misleading. If the IMF is like any company I've worked for, they probably hand out a publication an inch thick twice a year with all the rules and regs, everyone signs to say they've received it, and then they go about their merry ways.

Now, can we ignore this bullshit and get on with SAVING THE FUCKING COUNTRY?
posted by incessant at 12:22 AM on January 15, 2009


That people just want to be pissed at Obama for something, so they pick this?

He hasn't even been sworn in and the right are already blaming him for the "Obama Recession". At this juncture, Republicans should be laughed out of the country, instead of taken seriously, so that we can get back to the work of fixing the country.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:50 AM on January 15, 2009


I think the onus is on Geithner defenders to explain why he is such a great pick for Treasury Secretary. So far his main qualification seems to be his previous involvement in the financial bailout so far, working well with Paulson, etc. Yet the dude can't even fill out his own taxes correctly (in the most charitable interpretation). Why not Larry Summers or Shelia Bair?
posted by metaplectic at 1:02 AM on January 15, 2009


"your interstellar shuttle, when does it leave?"

Yes, it's "hot air" indeed? Ah, the virtues of "can't." We can't change the system? Only the men?
Perhaps we should avoid meddling in the affairs of our betters altogether.

Jefferson's desire for a bridled federal government, the right for national independence, and the right for the living of one generation to not be ruled by the ways of the dead were some of the main reasons for the American Revolution.
The question isn't why this independence and self-reliance weren't almost immediately abandoned (Shay's Rebellion, et.al.) for the expediency of the present and the coherence of the state - the question is why is that bondage accepted, even craved, and so few are willing to accept the risk of thinking freely and acting in the interests of truth first.
Our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor, all that.
Single acts of tyranny may be ascribed to the accidental opinion of a day; but a series of oppressions, begun at a distinguished period and pursued unalterably through every change of ministers, too plainly prove a deliberate, systematic plan of reducing a people to slavery.
Can it be believed that a grateful people will suffer individuals to be consigned to execution, whose sole crime has been the developing and asserting their rights?

... ah, but there's so much that's so good on T.V. isn't there?

Obama was not only the best choice in the election but probably the best choice the U.S. has had for leadership since the founding fathers. But he's not God on the throne and if we see fit to change the government out from under him, limit his power, alter the selection process, change the criteria - than so be it.

The public mind is manifestly advancing on the abusive prerogatives of their governors and bearing them down. No force in the government can withstand this in the long run. Courtiers had rather give up power than pleasures; they will barter, therefore, the usurped prerogatives of the King for the money of the people. This is the agent by which modern nations will recover their rights.

That's especially true concerning this matter.

(all quotes by Jefferson of course)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:15 AM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh, and all that stuff about "the IMF told Geithner to pay it" is misleading. If the IMF is like any company I've worked for, they probably hand out a publication an inch thick twice a year with all the rules and regs, everyone signs to say they've received it, and then they go about their merry ways.

The real point is that after the IRS audit (in the course of which his error was made abundantly clear), Geithner only paid back taxes for 2003-04; he did not have the integrity to also pay for 2001-02, which were then covered by the statute of limitations. He cannot claim ignorance after being audited, especially since he prepared his own returns in 2001 and 2002. In short, he kept the money because he thought he could get away with it.

We do not need such a person to be our Treasury Secretary.

The only reason I can think of for Obama sticking with Geithner is that he doesn't want to spark a sell-off in the stock market. (Much the same reason he picked Geithner in the first place - for continuity and to appease Wall St.)
posted by metaplectic at 2:13 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Republicans are neither morally competent nor have the intellectual faculties to judge Obama's nominations

Quite the broad brush you have there.

Can he force banks to write down mortgages and commercial loans to prevent complete collapse?

Like Geithner, I have no training in economics (true!), so I don't understand what this means. Complete collapse of whom? Who benefits from their writing down the loans? People who were imprudent enough to "buy" houses they could not afford? Is it best to keep the prices artificially inflated so they can pass off their bad decisions to another round of suckers? Why should the government be party to that?

If the IMF is like any company I've worked for....

Almost certainly it is unlike any entity you have ever worked for.

As to Geithner- His great quality is his ability to reach out and get the best out of other people. (He's a people person!)

Just not, apparently, his accountant.

Count me as a no vote. His tenure at the Fed should be immediate disqualification.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:05 AM on January 15, 2009


This fucker oughta read the entire 30,000 page tax code and commit that bitch to memory BEFORE he's confirmed. And by God, I don't want a dude in that position who won't try to cheat on his taxes. Hard to trust THOSE bastards.
posted by sfts2 at 6:09 AM on January 15, 2009


Oh, and those who don't understand the issues and specifics involved ought to rein in their strong opinions a bit. The issue as I understand it involves contractors working part time overseas liability for employees. Seeing as how this is a person, not a company - to represent this as misunderstanding an obvious rule or deliberate action to avoid taxes is pretty silly.
posted by sfts2 at 6:15 AM on January 15, 2009


Guy messed up his taxes, and trying to devine whether or not he did it on purpose, whether or not he knew what he was doing was improper, is idiotic.

The way you frame the issue, as "guy messed up on his taxes", does heavily lean toward the conclusion that this isn't a big deal. It's worth asking why you frame the issue that way, though.

Suppose, for a moment, that Geithner didn't pay the correct amount of self-employment tax because he preferred to keep the money for himself--he knew he was obligated to pay, but figured he wouldn't get caught. Suppose further that he sought reimbursement for the taxes he didn't pay simply because he wanted even more money.

Does he still sound like a good pick to head up Treasury to you? He doesn't to me. Now, you're convinced that this isn't what happened, but it's not clear to me why you're so sure it was an innocent mistake.

I think it's worth finding out if Geithner is the sort of man who makes innocent, if somewhat stupid, mistakes on his taxes, or if he's the sort of man who intentionally underpays when he thinks he can get away with it. We can debate whether the former sort is still competent to head Treasury, but I think the latter sort clearly isn't. The current economic crisis is not a reason to push a pick through without vetting his character--I would say the crisis is precisely why we need the best Secretary of Treasury we can get.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 7:44 AM on January 15, 2009 [3 favorites]


And they are gonna do what? With what votes?
posted by Ironmouth at 10:01 AM on January 15, 2009


I think the onus is on Geithner defenders to explain why he is such a great pick for Treasury Secretary....Why not Larry Summers or Shelia Bair?

Geithner is unique in that he isn't a Wall Street guy, but since he runs the NY Fed he has experience working directly with Wall Street.

He's not an academic, yet he was a protege of a very well-respected academic (Summers). He's not an industry guy, yet he has the industry's respect because of his role at the NY Fed.

He also lacks the drama storm that Summers brings with him. By appointing Geithner as Secretary and giving Summers a job as an advisor, Obama gets the "brilliance" of Summers and the practicality of Geithner.

As for Blair, a lot of people think she acted rashly and unjustly in seizing WaMu so suddenly and then mishandled the Wachovia/Citi/Wells Fargo affair. She went from being seen as tough and fair to out of control.

I don't think there's a good model for choosing a Secretary in a financial crisis like this. Geithner was a very reasonable pick on paper. It's interesting to contemplate more imaginative picks, but I don't think the names that pop up are realistic. Buffett for example--easily the most respected and most successful man in finance. But he gained his reputation by making smart choices about risk and reward. The likelihood of Buffett saving the day is small and the downside risk to his reputation if he fails is enormous. He'd be crazy to take the job.


I think we deserve to hear Geithner explain his role in the financial crisis so far and his plans as Secretary in great detail. I'd especially like to hear him criticize Paulson's actions and explain how he'll be different. I don't think our senators are sharp enough to do that--I just hope Obama's transition team was (and with Summers and Volcker in the camp, they sure as hell should be).
posted by mullacc at 10:12 AM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


How Citigroup Unraveled Under Geithner’s Watch
posted by homunculus at 2:08 PM on January 15, 2009


"I think it's worth finding out if Geithner is the sort of man who makes innocent, if somewhat stupid, mistakes on his taxes, or if he's the sort of man who intentionally underpays when he thinks he can get away with it. We can debate whether the former sort is still competent to head Treasury, but I think the latter sort clearly isn't."

Indeed. If only because he got caught. (Old joke on that - Guy’s hiring financial advisors. First applicant comes in. Guy asks him “What’s 2 +2?” The finance guy looks perplexed and says “Four” Guy says “Next.” Next finance guy comes in. Guy asks the same question “What’s 2+2?” The finance guy says “Well, it depends on your asset value, liquidity and current financial position, but generally Four more or less.” Guy says “Next.”
Last guy comes in. Guy asks him the same question: “What’s 2+2?” The last financial guy opens his mouth, closes it. Looks around, closes the blinds, sweeps the room for bugs, then whispers “What do you want it to equal?”)

More seriously tho - you have to ask, did we catch him on his first bit of malfeasence?
posted by Smedleyman at 3:04 PM on January 15, 2009 [1 favorite]


Obama says he'll look ahead, not backwards --ie, no investigations of the long list of self-evident Republican crimes, of war and otherwise -- and the thank you note from the GOP is a barrage of shit hurled against his biggest nominees -- "tax evader"! "her husband works for scary foreigners"!!! "He let Mark Rich get away with horrible things and freed some murderers"!!!!

ie, Obama caves and the Republicans paint his Secretary of Treasury as a thief, his Secretary of State as her husband's geopolitcal pimp, and the Attorney General as a co-conspirator of thieves and murderers.

oh, and Harry Reid, who -- on paper -- is a Democrat shits on the new Democratic Senator from Illinois before accepting him happily in the fraternity (and let's not even begin to talk about the replacements for Biden and Hillary).

it''ll be an interesting, post-partisan two years from here to the mid term elections. if the world economy weren't down the toilet thanks to America's brilliant leadership, it'd be at least entertaining.

I don't know if any of you guys were paying attention 16 years ago but shooting down Baird -- and Wood after her -- begat Judge Reno of Waco -- who deployed tanks against American citizens on US soil firebombing a private residence, pace Posse Comitatus -- Reno the sunny enabler of Judge Starr and his unlimited power of going after anything, ever, related to Clinton and anybody else he fucking wanted. And don't get me started on the way Reno had that little Cuban child abducted at gunpoint by stormtroopers, all to be taken back to happy Cuba a few months before a close Presidential election with Florida too close too call -- I'm sure that helped Gore a lot in his Florida landslide that year.

maybe Baird wouldn't have become, like Reno, the second-worst AG of the 20th century (much worse than Mitchell, Meese and Ashcroft, yes), the worse altogether with the only exception of that Gonzo torturer guy.

I see Geithner -- who, frankly, is not accused of spying for Bin Laden for fuck's sake -- get slaughered on the news and the ghosts of 1993 appear -- Obama will never name the cabinet you guys want, face it, if he wants these people let him have them. half-assed replacements bring a bad juju with them.
posted by matteo at 11:23 PM on January 15, 2009


As someone to struggled to pay rent and SE tax at one point, I want blood. The rich bastards feel the need to cheat on a flat tax?
posted by a robot made out of meat at 4:41 AM on January 16, 2009


I'll be satisfied if he is roasted not by a congressional committee but by Judge Judy.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:13 PM on January 19, 2009


Sanders Votes No on Geithner: “He’s More of a Part of the Problem…Than the Solution”
posted by homunculus at 3:25 PM on January 28, 2009


Why Is Daschle Out and Geithner In?
posted by homunculus at 1:31 PM on February 3, 2009


Why Geithner Was Worse Than Daschle
posted by homunculus at 11:04 AM on February 6, 2009


So much for the savior-based economy
posted by homunculus at 3:56 PM on February 12, 2009


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