Tom Daschle should withdraw: reflections on taxes and more.

I have always liked Tom Daschle, and think he would probably be a good secretary of health and human services.  But his troubles with taxes don’t come remotely close to passing the smell test. 

Just think about it.  He was offered a full time car and driver three years ago by a firm to which he consulted.  Which do you think was true?  (1) He thought that a perk that was worth $100,000 a year had no tax consequences and he didn’t think it worth asking his accountant for clarification, or (2) He accepted the car and driver after deciding that he would not pay taxes on it and figuring that he would get away with it.  If you answered (1), you are totally clueless.  By the way, even if the perk was a gift from a friend or relative, gifts are taxed on the amount in excess of $10,000, and any rich person knows this.

Should Daschle withdraw from consideration as a secretary under these circumstances?  The answer is YES!

By the way, I still like Tom Daschle, and view him as a very good person who has done something wrong.  Moreover, I fully understand his giving into the temptation of underdeclaring income to the IRS.   The probability of getting caught is quite low, and the penalty if caught is small.   Anyway, if Daschle withdraws from consideration as Secretary of HHS, perhaps he can take part in a commission whose goal is to fix our broken tax system.  I’d support him for that.



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