Friday, February 06, 2009

Obama Labor Secretary Appointee Latest to face Taxing Questions – In One Week Polls Begin To Give GOP an Edge!

Hilda Solis , Obama’s choice for Labor Secretary, is the latest in a series of nominees who are facing questions regarding unpaid taxes. Apparently, Sam H. Sayyad, Solis’ husband, had tax liens placed on his business, which were paid off this past Wednesday. The liens, dating back to 1993, were placed on Mr. Sayyad’s business by the county of Los Angeles, and totaled approximately $11,000, a small amount in the greater scheme of things. Solis, is the fourth in a series of appointees who have unpaid taxes in their closets (or in Solis’ case, her husband’s closet). First came Timothy Geithner Treasury Secretary, who erroneously claimed his child’s summer camp expenditures on his taxes. Chucking that up to a simple mistake (and frankly, individuals who trust their accountants normally just sign on the dotted line, so one could give Geithner a pass on that slip-up. Enter Tom Daschle, legendary Speaker of the House who lost his seat and standing while pontificating on the evils of the Bush administration. Apparently, Daschle also had problems with his tax returns, which alone, were possibly not enough to keep him from an appointment, however the connection to lobbyist was culminating in a quick withdrawal of Daschle’s nomination as the Head of Health and Human Services. Daschle was followed by Nancy Killifer, nominee for Chief performance officer – once again, taxes were at issue, or the failure to pay.

There are several questions that come to mind, but first and foremost: “Who is vetting these positions?” After reviewing the lengthy and invasive employment review instituted by the current administration, it boggles the mind that those who are tagged for high level positions, are being passed through without thorough examination. One must also consider that the media has played a pivotal role in bringing these tax questions to light – not the administration. Who then, is responsible for keeping the proverbial egg off of President Obama’s face? It appears as if the President has been apologizing for appointees on a daily basis, when he is not pleading with Congress to act fast on the economic crisis (something which, without tax relief to those who are bearing the brunt of the Fannie/Freddie crisis (thank you Barney Frank), will be doomed to failure. Of course, keeping tabs on Congress at this point, may or may not prevent further revelations regarding tax evading government appointments or current members of Congress.

Which begs the question; Do these high-profile members of the party in power find taxes to be such a minor issue or non-issue, that non-payment isn’t considered abnormal? Most citizens fear the IRS (and their State equivalents) more than any other organization – and make it a point to avoid taxes, penalties, fees and the like by filing early and in concert with a double check by an accounting firm (incurring further costs for the pleasure of paying the Federal Government or the State). In conversations with “average” citizens (i.e. those who are not in the Congress, the Senate, the White House or possible appointee), it is noted that (paraphrasing) “If I didn’t pay taxes, I’d be in jail”. Good point. Now that the focus is on the Party in Charge, and the media is doing its due diligence (about time), the public has lost its initial zeal – President Obama’s job approval rating fell 15 points in one week, while support for the Stimulus Package has dropped to 37%, all of this resulting in a shift in popularity for the minority party as support for the GOP is up 3 points in a week on the Generic Congressional Ballot. In review, taxing Revelations regarding appointments, growing unrest over the “Stimulus Package” and a general drop in popularity in only one week’s time has given a boost to the GOP. With the addition of Michael Steele at the GOP helm, one can only imagine what those numbers may look like in three months should the present trend continue; at the very least, the GOP has been given enough material to wage competitive campaigns in 2010, at the most, 2010 may turn out to be much more interesting that originally anticipated.


Chuck said...

I think we could be witnessing the making of a perfect storm in 2010. Obama is turning out to be just like a lot of us predicted and the public is already growing restless. Congressional Democrats cannot stray from their far left roots to accomplish economic reform, they are stuck in big government mode. Michael Steele went through today and cleaned house at the RNC headquarters.

It is foolish to count our chickens before they hash, a lot has to go our way. I think though that we can make some noise in 2010.

Ralph Short said...

Tina, good perspective on the issue. A couple of clarifications are necessary however. Daschle was the Majority leader in the Senate, I believe Thune is the guy who ousted him. Also, it is my understanding Geithner was notified by the IRS some years in advance of their disagreement and he had to sign papers each year acknowledging the difference in interpretation. Larry Sabato brought this up on the Brian and the Judge show on Friday. That would seem to go beyond a simple oversight.

I also wonder if the voters are factoring in old Charlie Rangel's tax issues as well. You hit it right on the money with the real taxpayer issue. Apparently we are now being asked to forgive the deadbeats who don't pay their debts (forgive means pony up the difference), build frisbee parks for faraway places, bail out California's bloated cradle to grave budget,etc., etc.

That is an awful lot for less than 1/2 the population that actually pays taxes, given that 500 million of us are losing jobs every week according to Speaker Pelosi. Parenthetically with that last comment, a logical conclusion would be, since they are clueless about how many people are losing jobs how could they possibly be entrusted with a trillion dollars to "save the economy". Sometimes, sarcasm helps to keep one's sanity.

I am hoping Steele and others can stop the madness.

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