Another day, another politician with tax problems. Tom Daschle, former Senate Majority Leader and Barack Obama's pick to be the new Secretary of Health and Human Services is the latest:
ABC News has learned that the nomination of former Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., to be President Obama's secretary of health and human services has hit a traffic snarl on its way through the Senate Finance Committee.
The controversy deals with a car and driver lent to Daschle by a wealthy Democratic friend -- a chauffeur service the former senator used for years without declaring it on his taxes.
ABC News has obtained the Senate Finance Committee Report on Tom Daschle's nomination to be Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, which indicates that Daschle's tax problems were even more substantial than earlier reported.
Mr. Daschle also didn't report $83,333 in consulting income in 2007.
Daschle "deeply regrets" his mistake. I know the feeling.
New York Democrat Charles Rangel also had a few problems with the tangled tax code. And Obama's pick for Treasury Secretary, Tim Geithner, Turbo-taxed his way into a tax mess as well. Will another "tax cheat" sail through confirmation?
I suppose some would call me a tax cheat. I prefer the term "tax procrastinator". On top of the thousands of dollars I send Uncle Sam and his nephew in Alabama every year, I still owe more. And I pay more. I do not attempt to avoid interest and penalties, I just suck it up, no excuses.
I hate the IRS and the tax code with a passion. Ten or so years ago I took the Enrolled Agent exam. It was (still is) given in three parts, all three of which I passed the first time. I never became an EA because by the time I got through the exam my hatred for the tax code, which was already pretty strong, went off the charts. The exam covered individual and corporate taxes and if you are not convinced our tax code is a convoluted, complicated, confounding mess, just sign up to take it yourself. I weep at the number of trees that had to die so I could study for it.
There is a solution and if Congress would put it on the front-burner and seriously consider it Daschle, Rangel, Geithner and millions of other Americans would no longer have anything to "deeply regret" when it comes to doing their patriotic duty. That solution is the Fair Tax.
I believe one of the reasons our Senators and Representatives are so willing to forgive is the fear that one day they might discover they have erred in reporting and paying taxes. It's not that hard to do. While it seems improbable Geithner, Rangel and Dashcle did not know they owed taxes, there are no doubt millions of "honest tax cheaters", politicians and ordinary Americans, who have made mistakes on their tax returns. Congress blindly passes tax bills year after year, adding more forms, more lines, more convoluted calculations, without regard to the burden it places on taxpayers. IRS agents, supposedly highly trained can't even keep up with the changes. I dare say politicians who vote on these bills have no earthly idea what in the hell they are doing. And pure Hell is the best way to describe what many of us go through just to survive April 15.
Make April 15th just another day.