The Guest Blog

Bowyer: I Was Wrong About Geithner


I was anxious to be constructive and to give the benefit of the doubt.

I thought it was a technical failure, and mainly useful to make the case for tax simplification.

I didn’t realize in fact that the mis-statement had been outside the state of limitations and therefore didn’t pay up until his nomination.

The Vice President said during the campaign, that wealthy people ought to be patriotic and agree to higher taxes. Then they turn around and elevate a man who DID NOT EVEN PAY TAXES AT THE CURRENT LEVEL, to the CENTRALLY IMPORTANT AND ONLY CONSTITUTIONALLY MANDATED POST which deals with our finances at a time of national economic crisis.

I know they like to use the crisis as an argument for a quick confirmation. Nonsense!

The crisis is the argument to get the right guy in place. Summers could do it (but we caved to the "obdurate feminists" on this). Volcker could do it, but we wanted a young, attractive, hip team which could play basketball with the President and look good with its shirts off. Obama chose Geithner based on image and personal chemistry. I question the President’s judgment, just like I questioned Bush’s judgment on ‘Brownie’ and the ‘great job’ he was doing.

The IRS, probably more than any other agency, depends on moral credibility.

Our tax system is largely a self-reporting system. Yes, there are audits, but most of us are governed by the honor code. There simply are not enough auditors to catch all the cheaters. Our most powerful tool is moral legitimacy. We say ‘don’t cheat on your taxes, because cheating is unfair to everybody else’. We say ‘don’t cheat, because it’s wrong’.

But now the guy at the top, who is telling people not to cheat, is himself a cheater.

He cheated not just when he was in private life, but even after he was the top guy at the New York Fed. It was until he was moved from one of the most powerful financial posts in the world to the most powerful post, that he finally knuckled under and paid his taxes. What arrogance! The last thing we need is another master of the universe who feels like the rules of the moral code do not apply to him.

The second last thing we need is a bunch of Invertebrate Republicans squishing around the halls of the Senate.

    • Geithner: Strengthen Derivatives, Hedge Fund Rules

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