Anybody who saw the Senate Minority Leader lose his seat in 2004 and then magically reappear in 2008 with a pair of snappy red glasses knows that Tom Daschle is a bit of a jackass. But little did we know he was a tax cheat who would blame his current woes on his accountant.
In a letter to his former Senate colleagues apologizing for not paying OH OVER A HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS IN TAXES, Daschle writes:
When my accountant realized I would need to file amended returns, he suggested addressing another matter I had raised with him earlier in the year: whether the use of a car service offered to me by a close friend might be a tax issue. In December, my accountant advised me that it should be reported as imputed income in the amended returns.
So Daschle “raised the issue” earlier in the year and who knows, he might have been happy to pay this rather extravagant sum, but his accountant didn’t get around to “advising” him one way or the other until December. Silly accountant! What’s this person getting paid for?
The larger issue, of course, is this. Many of us, particularly those of us with some freelance income who have to file our own estimated taxes, spend a whole lot of time wondering if we are going to be wildly overpaid or underpaid, tax-wise, at the end of the year, and living in abject fear of audits and fines and the countless ways the IRS can make your life unpleasant if you do not pay your taxes.
And yet for jackasses like Daschle, it does not even occur to them to worry about this stuff. They feebly “raise the matter” with their accountant, and maybe some months later the accountant says, “Yes well perhaps you should pay these taxes if you want to be considered for this fancy government position.” What is so infuriating is not just the idea that people like Tim Geithner and Tom Daschle seem to think they are tax exempt; it’s that they live a life so blissfully free from worry about taxes.
Tom Daschle is not such an extraordinarily talented individual that he is the only human who can save American healthcare as the head of Health and Human Services. Indeed, the Republican vote on SCHIP shows that nobody can save American healthcare, because the votes aren’t there. Universal healthcare will never, ever happen, not even in the middle of our second Great Depression in which the streets will fill with millions of homeless indigents who lost their health care along with their jobs and are now perishing in the streets. So fuck it, Obama should cut Daschle loose and nominate, why not, YOUR MOM. She pays her taxes, right?
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