- The Washington Times - Monday, March 9, 2009

Good grief! Yet another presidential nominee - former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, President Obama’s pick to be U.S. trade representative - owes back taxes. He joins Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, former Sen. Tom Daschle, failed Chief Performance Officer candidate Nancy Killefer, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis (whose husband was the offender) among those nominated who owed back taxes.

How many more scofflaws never made it that far in the process?

No wonder there have been so many biting cartoons such as: Man says to dog, “I see why Democrats don’t mind high taxes. They don’t pay them.” Or GOP elephant says to President Obama at Stimulus Talks, “How are we going to pay for it?” and Mr. Obama replies, “I could get my cabinet nominees to pay their taxes.” Or Mr. Obama at a news conference saying, “In order to stimulate the economy, I’m proposing a massive infusion of cash,” and reporter asks, “You mean you’re ordering your cabinet nominees to pay their taxes?” Or Vice President Joe Biden saying in the first panel, “Paying your taxes is patriotic!” and in the second panel is shown hugging Daschle and Geithner and adding, “… unless you’re inside the Beltway.” Or one advisor telling Mr. Obama, “The good news is we see an improvement on the deficit,” and a second one saying, “The bad news is it’s based entirely on your cabinet nominees finally coughing up their back taxes.” That’s just a small sampling.

Over the top? What’s really over the top is the disregard for the tax system that so many people who presumably are the best and brightest and who aspire to be among the nation’s leaders seem to have. If the tax system is so complicated that they can’t figure it out, it’s time to radically simplify the tax system. In the meantime, the unfortunate message is: If they don’t pay their taxes, why should I?

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