February 2, 2009 [LINK / comment]

Tax evasion? What-ever! (II)

Just like what happened to Tim Geithner (the newly-sworn secretary of treasury) back in mid-January, it seems that Tom Daschle has had a little problem remembering to pay his full share of taxes. A one hundred twenty eight thousand dollar problem, to be more precise. Well, when you casually play with billions of dollars of taxpayer money every day, such small amounts may seem insignificant. The L.A. Times reports that a spokesman said it was all the result of "simple mistakes," and that Daschle "had worked in good faith to correct them." The former South Dakota Senator was paid "$1 million a year to advise a private equity fund," even though he is not a financial expert by any stretch of the imagination. (Hat tip to Chris.)

The very fact that an investment fund would pay that much money is itself proof of the deeply corrupt nature of the financial system in this country, which in turn explains much of the current recession we are in. Bailing out the status quo will not restore health to our economy, and I'm afraid that much of the rescue / stimulus funding that Presidents Bush and Obama have been pushing for is going to be squandered. Fortunately, most of the Republicans in Congress are aware of this and are resisting Obama's excessive and dubious stimulus package.

Once again, President Obama's commitment to higher ethical standards in his administration is coming into question. Geithner was said to be indispensable for saving the financial sector [from] ruin, hence the easy pass for him. Geithner went on to name an assistant who has been working as a corporate lobbyist, notwithstanding Obama's pledge not to allow that. (Myron is shocked -- shocked! -- at the brazen hypocrisy of the Obama team. smile) For his part, Daschle enjoys good relations with pretty much every Democrat in Washington, and this makes serious scrutiny of him very unlikely. It's an astonishing display of how political heavyweights exploit their insider connections. "Change"? I don't think so.

UPDATE: The New York Times asked a variety of legal and tax experts how serious Daschle's offense was, and their opinions run the gamut from minor "mistake or oversight" to "Fundamentally Corrupt." (Hat tip to Connie.) To his credit, perhaps, Daschle did issue a profuse apology today.

Gregg to head Commerce

President Obama has nominated New Hampshire Sen. Judd Gregg to be secretary of commerce, and Judd has accepted. Might this have something to do with Obama's desire to have a filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate? (Assuming Al Franken is certified as winner in Minnesota, the Dems will be only one vote shy of the magic 60-seat threshold.)

Pelosi, tuna, & Samoa

Back in January, 2007 when Congress raised the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had American Samoa exempted from this provision. Why? Well, Star-Kist tuna is headquartered in San Francisco, which she represents, and cheap labor would assure a competitive advantage to that brand. Well, well, well. It has also been alleged that her husband is a major stockholder in DelMonte, which owned Star-Kist, but this has not been proven. See Snopes; hat tip to Stacey Morris.