02/03/09 — 'Me, too': Daschle and others offer tips for those who have tax issues

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'Me, too': Daschle and others offer tips for those who have tax issues

After this latest round of nominees who seem to not understand the tax code, the answer for the nation's budget problems seems to be pretty clear.

Eliminate half of the investigators who work for the Internal Revenue Service.

According to the model that has been in play for the last couple of weeks, when you make a "mistake" with your taxes -- i.e. not paying what you owe even though you have no reason not to know what the rules are or you have been reminded that you owe taxes -- all you have to do is say "I'm sorry."

Health and Human Services nominee former Sen. Tom Daschle, who has also attracted attention for the millions of dollars paid to him by companies with health-related interests -- every indication that he is one of the lobbyists President Barack Obama promised not to hire -- is the latest to mea culpa and expect that to be enough.

Daschle, who is no spring chicken, did not pay more than $120,000 in taxes owed on consulting fees and the use of a car service.

And now he is sorry.

Now, in all fairness, if we are willing to confirm a secretary of the Treasury who does not understand or follow the tax code, why should we worry about a Health and Human Services secretary with the same issues?

But since the senator -- and the many Democrats who appeared at a press conference to back him -- have shown us the way, perhaps this might be something we should incorporate into our own tax planning.

Let's all hold out a couple hundred dollars or so and then claim that we "forgot" to pay.

Then, all we have to do is say we are sorry.

What do you think?

Would County Manager Lee Smith understand that we are sorry but we just simply did not know we owed that extra couple of hundred -- and then give us a job in the tax collection office?

Or perhaps Gov. Beverly Perdue will give us a pass on our state income taxes -- as long as we are sorry?

Fat chance of that.

Perhaps Daschle and Timothy Geithner did make mistakes in filing their taxes.

But more likely, they thought they probably would not have to pay the piper and could excuse away the oversight.

That is what happens when the standards are different for those who make the laws and those who must abide by them.

Published in Editorials on February 3, 2009 11:14 AM