Opinion: Move along, folks. Nothing here but the tax truant Obama wants at Treasury

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So there we were driving along on the interstate enroute to do a public service TV ad about safe driving practices for regular Americans who didn’t go to Harvard and once worked for the World Bank and we were getting directions to the studio on a cellphone. And a state trooper made us late by pulling us over.

It seems he thought 80 miles an hour in a 65 zone was excessive and it also seems that using a cellphone and texting blog items while driving is now illegal for some inconvenient government-imposed reason. Also something about wearing a seatbelt.

All of which we knew because we speak English often and have noticed the seatbelt and speed signs every 150 feet across America. But we were busy with our own work, which is more important than some silly rules clearly written for other more simple people to obey. And our legal record is exemplary, except for that neighborhood association letter about the hockey net in the driveway.

As soon as the trooper caught us red-handed, we told the officer with the large gun and one-way sunglasses that it was just an honest mistake.


Which we would correct immediately by hanging up, logging out and buckling up. How’s that?

And you’ll never guess which senate cloakroom he told us to shove that into.

Anyway, what we were blogging was the news that the Senate nomination hearing for Barack Obama’s Treasury secretary-designate Timothy F. Geithner has been delayed.

So now he won’t be sworn in until after the Great Changer’s inauguration ceremony next week. If ever.

Geithner is a huge expert on money, having run a Federal Reserve Bank and planned important parts of the important economic stimulus package for the important president-elect to impose on regular people.

But someone pointed out to Geithner that he had a little issue about employing a housekeeper who became an illegal immigrant and that he knew so much about money that he did not pay his own income taxes.

Who in this busy life would ever think of paying income taxes each April? There’s never anything about April 15 in the media. And who’s got time to read that stuff anyway when you’re busy coming up with financial rules for other people to obey?

That missing unpaid tax sum is now up to $48,000 with interest and penalties -- owed, by the way, to one of the departments that Geithner would run if he ever became Treasury secretary. All because of some silly laws written by government for unimportant, unhurried people to obey.

Now that it’s come out, Geithner says it was an honest mistake. And transition people told senators more than a month ago. Which means, what -- the watchdogs were busy doing their taxes?

And today the president-elect said the same thing, that it was all unintentional. Nothing much here. And Obama added that once caught, Geithner paid the tardy taxes in full.

So what’s the problem that a would-be Treasury chief violated tax laws? Let’s get on with the confirmation hearing because he’s a really smart guy who’s done good things. And he’s a Democrat who can be excused such trivial oversights. The same way, say, Rep. Henry Waxman would overlook a similar problem of Dick Cheney’s.

Geithner is so smart, in fact, that he’ll probably grab a bus over to that Senate cloakroom someday soon.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Top photo: Associated Press

Bottom Photo: Treasury secretary-designate Timothy F. Geithner. Credit: Joe Tabacca / Bloomberg