Friday, January 23, 2009

Confirmation Means Simply Having to Say You're Sorry

If you need any further proof that President Obama has ushered in a new age of enlightenment, take a look at the Senate Confirmation hearings for the new Treasury Secretary, Secretary of State, and Attorney General. Apparently, transgressions that in past administrations would have been politically fatal are now regarded as trivialities. Ask yourself this question: If President Bush had asked the United States Senate to confirm a Treasury Secretary appointee who was a serial tax evader, what would have happened? Imagine if Bush had asked for a Secretary of State whose spouse received vast sums of money from foreign governments? How about if Bush had appointed an Attorney General who accused the prior Administration of breaking the law and refused to preclude future prosecution? Welcome to, as Gwen Ifill so aptly phrased it, “The Age of Obama.”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner received checks from the International Monetary Fund specifically for the purpose of paying employment taxes which were due, and yet he did not pay them; he pocketed the money. This didn’t happen once; it happened multiple times. Upon being audited, he paid for two years out of the four years’ worth that he owed. Only after his nomination by President-Elect Obama did he then pay the other two years. Most importantly, during the confirmation hearing Secretary Geithner apologized for his mistakes. He is really, really sorry. Geithner is the man many believe is a genius who will save the country from further financial crises. However, during his term as President of the New York Fed he abolished a rule requiring quarterly risk assessments (Geithner Watch). Now he will be in charge of overseeing billions, perhaps trillions of tax dollars. Welcome to the Age of Obama.

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