A little dissention in the IRS?
The Treasury secretary, who oversees the IRS, didn’t pay all his taxes. Neither did five other top nominees for the Obama administration, or their spouses.
Now, as Wednesday’s tax deadline looms, some Americans are wondering why they should comply with the arcane requirements of the Internal Revenue Service when top administration officials failed to do the same. Even some IRS employees are upset at what they see as a double standard.
The most criticized example has been Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who admitted not paying $34,000 in payroll and Social Security taxes, saying his failure to pay was an oversight. Five other nominees disclosed similar tax issues, including one as recently as two weeks ago when Kathleen Sebelius, President Barack Obama’s pick for secretary of health and human services, admitted she didn’t pay $7,040.
“Our members are upset and angry,” said Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, referring to concern bubbling up within the IRS over unusually strict rules that can cost agents their jobs if they make a mistake.
Indeed – while the man who has Cabinet level authority over the IRS was essentially a tax cheat, IRS employees are held to a very strict standard concerning their taxes and returns:
In some cases, IRS employees have lost jobs for simply filing a late return or failing to report a few hundred dollars of interest income.
Of course, the union representing IRS workers doesn’t want to see Geithner or anyone else held to the same standard. Oh, no – instead they want those standards loosened:
In an interview Tuesday, Kelley said the Geithner case underlines the need for a change of the rules governing IRS employees.
“My issue is not that I want Geithner or anyone else punished,” Kelley said. “I want there to be a re-examination of the law that holds IRS employees to a separate standard: one in which a simple mistake can cost them their jobs with no right of appeal.”
Yup – again, something the Obama administration and some of our commenters don’t seem to understand – the essence of leadership is setting the proper example – not do as I say but not as I do. That “essence” is still missing from this bunch.