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Personal About Politics: Rough Waters of Washington & Tax Trouble

By Cheri Cabot  Posted by Cheri Cabot (about the submitter)     Permalink
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opednews.com Headlined to H2 2/13/09

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Getting sea legs in the rough waters of Washington is always a challenge, but considering President Obama was hit with an economic tsunami before he even took office, he is doing admirably. He continues to appear unflappable while trying to navigate Congress through the stimulus package, still sending friendly overtures to the obstinate GOP members even as they continually stab him in the back. 

The Republicans are acting like spoiled little kids who have been getting their way for eight years, and now that they are told to behave, they throw a temper tantrum.

My advice Mr. President: throw the pirates overboard. Stop playing nice. Maybe if you treat them with the same distain they are exhibiting, you will make more headway because it's a language they understand.

What credentials do they have to try and dictate the contents of the economic recovery package? None. Absolutely none. Much as they would like the world to believe this economic debacle began on January 20 the minute President Obama took office, we all know it happened on their watch.

Congressional investigators discovered that the Bush administration received assets that were worth $78 billion less than the amount it invested in the country's banks late last year. You know all that money that former Treasury secretary Henry Paulson said "we" as taxpayers would eventually reap from his massive infusion of funds in TARP?  Well, "we" will be getting about 30 cents on the dollar, and bank executives will still go home with their massive bonuses.

Apparently looking for better advice than offered by Paulson, the GOP   brought "Joe the Plumber" up to Washington to ask his opinion about the stimulus package!  Joe the Plumber!  Please.

GOP congressional staffers invited Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher aka "Joe the Plumber" to a breakfast in Washington this past week where he told them to kill the stimulus package because it's an example of "American government....kicking our butts left and right."

(Well, that part is right, Bush and Paulson did kick our butts)

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Then he proceeded to give them this advice: "It's not politically incorrect to say you're Republican or conservative. They need to dig their heels in and fight for what needs to be done."

And when asked if he had political aspirations, he said, "I don't know if the American public deserve (sic) me." 

Are they joking? Is the GOP really so desperate that they are asking advice from a bigoted and racist handyman? (that's right folks, he's not really a plumber) We all know how valuable he was to the McCain campaign.  Maybe the Republican Party deserves him, but I don't think the American public neither wants nor deserves him.

It wasn't exactly a tsunami, but it certainly was a storm this past week with all the tax troubles of the president's cabinet nominees. Apparently President Obama needs to vet a little deeper.  First it was Tim Geithner, then Nancy Killefer and finally Tom Daschle.

Geithner pleaded ignorance and "innocent mistake" on his lack of paying taxes and was eventually confirmed as treasury secretary. Then Nancy Killefer hadn't paid unemployment compensation taxes for domestic help and had a lein placed on her home as a result. That's a bit more difficult to explain away, so she bowed out as a budget post nominee. Finally Tom Daschle had to withdraw as the secretary of health and human services nominee because of back taxes he owed.

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Had Geithner not been the first nominee in the tax disasters, he may not have been confirmed.  Writing for "The Daily Beast" Pulitzer Prize–winning reporting team Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, feel that Geithner's lapses are far more egregious than Tom Daschle's.

They write that their offenses are not equal. Daschle failed to count as income the value of a car and driver he received from a New York private-equity firm, InterMedia Advisors and also overstated charitable contributions and understated income from InterMedia.

According to Barlett and Steele, although Daschle ended up paying more than Geithner, "Geithner's situation was nonetheless a bigger ethical lapse. As an employee of the International Monetary Fund in 2001 and later years, Geithner was responsible for sending a check to the IRS to cover his own payroll taxes. He didn't do so. What he did do was submit a request to the IMF for reimbursement of those taxes. And he collected."

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