Friday, January 16, 2009

Geithner’s gotta go

I was really hoping we’d get through Obama’s nominations without any drama. The country’s problems are so large the last thing we need is a protracted fight on one appointment, no matter how big it is -- but he’s got to cut Tim Geithner loose.

It simply isn’t credible to believe that someone with his background could have failed to pay tens of thousands of dollars in Federal taxes through a simple mistake. The man graduated from Dartmouth and received a masters in international economics from Johns Hopkins.

He didn’t grow up in the shadow of any smokestacks, either. His father worked for the Ford Foundation; his grandfather was an advisor to President Eisenhower. He was also no stranger to the complexities of living abroad, having grown up mostly abroad. He graduated from a high school in Thailand.

He had to know what he was doing (or not doing as the case may be) and it would be a very bad thing to start the new administration with a key figure, the man to whom the IRS will report, under this kind of cloud. In these troubled times (as they say on the nightly news) moral leadership is important, and Geithner has shown himself to be lacking in the necessary integrity.

24 comments:

fenway said...

As I understand it he was given a 1099 when he should have been given a something else - or vice versa and the incorrect, or no taxes, were collected. A couple of years ago it was corrected - he paid up with interest. Unless something big happened today even the repubs on the committee can't seem to get worked up. I say let it go.

kgwhit said...

During these times, if he is considered the best for the job, I say let it go. My guess is he pays his taxes the way I do.
My accountant prepares them and I glance through them and sign unless something strikes me as widely out of line. They are quite complicated with filings in multiple states where we have offices.
Most years my tax filings are the size of a novella. I'm not an accountant and I pay someone to keep me legal. Maybe he was gaming the system but it is hard to know for sure.

warrenout said...

HMM, Isn't that a picture of James A Garfield. A preminition of jean Dixon proportion? Assainated after 6 months on the job? I believe the doctors cauterized his wound and an infection followed until he was septic and died. Geither was chosen to be the lead money man. His own financial house should be immpeccable. Another time when there wasn't so much talk of money, but not now. Obama needs to be almost perfect out of the gate. If he stays it sets a bad tone. I am sure there is another "financial genius" to be had.

The Nik said...

He lied, plain and simple. For four years. He promised the IMF and World Bank he would pay his own payroll taxes with the extra money they gave him to do so, and he did not. At least not until it was pointed out to him. Twice. We cannot have that inatenttion to detail or ineptitude from someone in charge of the Treasury Department, period.

I do not trust him. I question his motives, stepping down from a nearly $400k a year job (plus bonuses, etc.) to a bureaucratic appointment within the federal goverment that pays less than half ($9k shy of $200k).

AY said...

Add to that, Geithner had to be reimbursed by the IMF for SS and Medicare taxes (that's how it works) -- and he still stiffs the IRS. That's beyond an "honest mistake" or poor judgement.

But he'll sail through the process after few embarrassing questions about his taxes -- but I wonder how deeply they'll probe his decisions/inactions during his years at the Fed Res.

Birdman said...

Given that the economy and Wall Street are teetering on the brink of catastrophe, I don't think that dumping Geithner in favor of God knows who would be a wise choice right now.

By the way, this guy did his own taxes which, given how complicated his return must be, is the bigger lapse in judgement as far as I'm concerned.

d'blank said...

i'm genuinely shocked that after the BS of the last 8 years, so many of you are willing to turn a blind eye to such obvious corruption. If he did his taxes hiselfperhaps it was so that there would be no one telling him he owed taxes. I've been an ex-pat employee; one of the top 3 things ex-pats talk about with one another is their taxes. he knew. he cheated. he got caught. and now you want his let him run the US Treasury and the IRS? come on.

Gaga said...

Looking to head the treasury with tax oversights, no thanks, bye

Anonymous said...

Mr Blank, you and your commenters the Nik and Ay got it right. Your other commenters appear clueless about the published details of Mr Geithner's actions and failures. I have prepared tax returns for professional men and women for decades. I listen to lies for a living. Mr Geithner's statments and evasions don't pass the laugh test. It is quite clear from the record that he decided, not only initially, but several times over the years thereafter, that he could evade his taxes, break the law, and even more outrageously, further enrich himself by keeping the tax reimbursements that his employer gave him (and for which he repeatedly signed acknowledgements of his liablilities.) The man is a petty crook. He should die of embarassment that he has sold himself at such a low price. Now Obama (reported by his own staff to have "fallen in love with the man") wants to upgrade him to the big leagues of venality. If he is comfirmed (or more to the point, if Obama doesn't help him to the door) it would be, to use the language of the IRS, "prejudicial to the proper administration of tax policy." Gosh, and I was so hopey changey.

Woody said...

First Richardson, now Geithner. Maybe Geithner helped Rangel with his taxes. Geithner and Rangel need to go.

The Nik said...

We dodged a bullet with that scumbag Richardson. Well, not that the Secretary of Commerce could really screw anything up; we just don't need someone of his ilk in the administration. It's beginning to look like Geithner is just another elitist that would have fit right in with the Clinton retreads - "the rules were written for everyone else, not me".

Birdman said...

"Elitist" now seems to be the new "liberal". We get to demonize someone with a word that really doesn't have any meaningful definition other than, in the words of Potter Stewart concerning pornography, "I know it when I see it".

I have know idea if Geithner is the right guy for this job. However, if he is, I'm willing to overlook mistakes, errors, screwups, or whatever you want to call them in order to facilitate getting out of the financial and economic mess were in.

d'blank said...

you make a good point regarding the word, but what Geithner is guilty of is not "mistakes, errors, screwups," it's fraud. I guess it could be worse, BHO could have nominated Wesley Snipes ot Willie Nelson to oversee the IRS.

Birdman said...

I grant you the fraud. I'd hire Pepi if he could get us out of this.

d'blank said...

we're not talking about warren buffet here. this is paulson's butt-boy; the guys who gave away $350 B and got nothing for it.

Fistinyoface said...

Geithner is a punk.

A privileged, Ivy League (Dartmouth), never-worked-a-real-job-in-his-life “ELITIST” – that’s the definition of the word, Birdman.

Not very different from the community-organizer elitist who wants to appoint him guardian of our communal lucre.

Neither of them would spit on the best part of the idiot proletariat that supports them.

Anyone see a pattern to BHOs cabinet selections? Either fellow elitists or those with last names hand-picked to hit the diversity crowd like mainlined Viagra. "Others" need not apply.

kgwhit said...

Great point about the elitist. I think the head of transportation should go to my cousin. He drives a semi and owned his own trucking company once. I'd nominate my brother but he is way too elitist. He is the planner for the Maryland Dept of Transportation and has a masters degree. He plays in a bluegrass band and there is nothing worse than an elitist trying to steal our mountain music.
My old buddy Bill for Secretary of State. He was an Army brat who lived in a number of countries and fought in Vietnam. He still believes the old Trilateral Commission runs the world and he may be right. For health reasons he has quit drinking and doing coke and so he isn't quite as sharp as before. Then again, I'm not sure Yellow Cab can spare him.
I nominate my ex for head of the Treasury...if there was ever a person who could drag every last cent out an American , I don't know who it is. We'd have a surplus in a year. There have to be more "Hell of a Job Greenies" out there.

Birdman said...

Good Pics KG. Especially BT for Secstate. I've seen his diplomatic skills in action many times, especially with a couple of belts of Cointreau in him and he'd make a fine choice.

FIYF misunderstands my position on Geithner. I really couldn't care less about the guy except his ability to do what appears to be an incredibly difficult job. I personally don't know if he can or he can't but enough people seem to think he can to satisfy me.

I really don't understand this sneering contempt for people who were smart enough (certainly connections count as well but tell me a place where that isn't true) to get into an good college. I thought that's what we were supposed to do. I guess I'm wrong again.

Also, I'm not sure I know what a "real" job is. Is it the kind where you shower after you go to work as opposed to before? I'm confused. But then again, I went to public school in Ohio. I'm supposed to be confused.

Fistinyoface said...

What's a real job? That would be one that produces tangible results.

Design the widget. Manufacture the widget. Sell the widget. Save the life. Drive the truck. Run the company. Read the meter. Dig the ditch. Win the acquittal. Make the sandwich. Transplant the heart.

Read Geithner's resume. Lots of activity. Zero achievement.

Seems pretty clear.

d'blank said...

Well, as is often the case, no minds have been changed here. All I know is that I did not vote for Obama to get tax cheats running the Treasury, and I am hugely disappointed that he is standing behind this guy. And I can’t help wondering how some of you who are supporting Geithner would feel if that had been a McCain appointment.

Birdman said...

I'd feel exactly the same way. Can't speak for anybody else. Maybe because I don't live in or near NYC, it's difficult for me to work up the same vitriol.

The Nik said...

Being an "elitist" has absolutely nothing to do with where you attended school or how far you persued you education. It has to do with attitude towards public service... You see elitism in those who practice their trade in the private sector and become enticed with the power and connections that come with public service. It has to do with someone smiling at you, asking for your vote, claiming they represent the "everyman" and have the public's best interest in their heart and mind, but mutter under their breath as soon as you turn around and wouldn't piss on you if you were on fire. Geithner is an elitist through and through, with no prior political experience. He sees doors of opportunities to enrich his friends and make connections for himself to advance further in the financial world. One could make an analogy to Dick Cheney and his connections with Haliburton.

birdman said...

Nik - Now that's a definition I can I can get my head around. It's animal I'm very familiar with here in DC and have nothing but contempt for.

leslies said...

I'm late to the table, but couldn't agree more w/D'Blank. Cut him loose. No room for this kind of gray matter when the dream team's being assembled.