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[politics] I'd call it disillusionment, but I was already cynical before - Lakeshore — LiveJournal
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Jay Lake
Date: 2009-02-03 21:15
Subject: [politics] I'd call it disillusionment, but I was already cynical before
Security: Public
Tags:politics
Geithner and his little tax problem. Daschle and his slightly larger tax problem. Killefer and her very stupid tax problem..

Come on Democrats, you guys are supposed to be better than Republicans. I don't have, as the_flea_king once put it, a hate-on for conservatives. I have a hate-on for hypocrites. Hypocrisy, intellectual dishonesty and sheer old fashion self-delusion have been the stock in trade of the GOP all my adult life. (I came of age, politically, during the Moral Majority's ascendancy, and watched Ronald Reagan run up the then-largest deficits in history while claiming the mantle of fiscal responsibility. 'nuff said there.)

Apparently my quite tepid faith in the Democrats is being repaid with destructive silliness in the vein of the entitlements of wealth. "Only little people pay taxes" seems to apply to the party which is not my party of choice, but my party of default. You don't match greed with greed, and you don't match hypocrisy with hypocrisy.

Confidential to Democrats in America: We didn't throw the bums out just for the sake of having a new set of bums.

Originally published at jlake.com.

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lauriemann
User: lauriemann
Date: 2009-02-04 13:00 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Rich people seem more likely to fudge their taxes. Every single new administration has had this same problem. Yeah, it would be nice if Democrats were above this, but it looks like they aren't. Remember, part of the reason why Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg dropped out from being considered for Clinton's senate seat was because there may have been problems with her taxes. Geesh!
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User: lonfiction
Date: 2009-02-04 13:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
>We didn't throw the bums out just for the sake of having a new set of bums.

Then I must just be a natural born cynic, because that's pretty much my expectation every regime change. We just get Heath Ledger's "better class of criminal." :)

Trying to be happy about the things like my country no longer being run by torture-mongers and science-haters. Hoping that the stuff I'm not as thrilled about (more troops overseas?!) works out for the best. And about the hypocrisy? Hate to say it, man, but both sides have always, always, always had this prescriptivist attitude of knowing what's right for everyone else (religiously or ethically) and then doing whatever the hell they want to when they think nobody's looking.

It's a sorry mess, politics. But at least our current mess is logarithmic orders of magnitude less sorry than it had been, and the ways in which it is sorry are petty, venal ones, rather than Nurembergian assaults on decency.
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jtdiii
User: jtdiii
Date: 2009-02-04 13:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I expected the Democrats would at least do a better job vetting their candidates before they submitted them. Just because this has happened before.
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User: ex_paulskem
Date: 2009-02-04 13:44 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I'm not sure it's a reflection of the attitude that only little people pay taxes, though I suppose it could be.

Of course, I tend to be fairly forgiving of these kinds of things because the IRS definition of "income" is so broad that I think very few people could withstand much scrutiny of their income tax filings and come away unscathed.

Consider: A kindly neighbor, at no charge, routinely shovels the driveway of an elderly couple to clear it of snow and does so all winter, for three years running. Under IRS definitions, the fair market value of that shoveling service is income to the elderly couple. If they don't declare it and pay taxes on the fair market value, they are, technically, tax cheats.

Now, I realize that Daschle's problem is bigger in scale (he was provided a limo and driver), and that Daschle is no elderly retiree, but the larger point is the same. The IRS definition of income is so broad as to capture all kinds of activity that many people wouldn't consider a taxable transaction.

We could hit this closer to home with another example: An author guest of honor at a Con is flown out to the coast, put up in a hotel, and provided meals and a car service for the duration of the Con. Likely all of that is income to the author under the tax code, but I wonder how many authors would claim it as such (or would know that they should).
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lauriemann
User: lauriemann
Date: 2009-02-04 14:13 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
If the person doing the shoveling considers it a gift, he/she can give something worth up to $12,000 a year without it being considered taxable by the recipient. It's unlikely the shoveling was worth that much, not even in Minnesota!

Edited at 2009-02-04 02:15 pm (UTC)
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kara_gnome
User: kara_gnome
Date: 2009-02-04 15:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I know, I know, it's appalling and helps undermine everything good that could be done, deflect attention and energy away--and it's so dumb!

On the positive side, at least it's not some sex thing. Yet. :D

Anyway, you're exactly right, it's so too bad!
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User: dirkcjelli
Date: 2009-02-04 15:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
heads up on what this all means:

http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2009/02/the-untold-daschle-story-the-blacklisting-of-leo-hindery/
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farmgirl1146: CoCo up a pole
User: farmgirl1146
Date: 2009-02-04 17:50 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:CoCo up a pole
Interesting story. I will keep an eye open for Leo Hindery information. I can't get too excited by this, however, since Hindery, who I had not heard of before, is actually one of many people decrying deregulation and off-shore manufacturing. It is not an uncommon position in the VC community. As far as stacking Wall Street Democrats, they are light years better than Wall Street Republicans. I am personally much against Wall Street, but I still have money invested through it. I am looking for a better way, and perhaps I have found one. Will report on that in a few years. That's how long it will take to prove one way or the other.
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farmgirl1146: intense CoCo
User: farmgirl1146
Date: 2009-02-04 17:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:intense CoCo
I am pleased that Daschle got tossed. He always struck me as a very manipulative guy. I would bet that he is a "reflector" type of person who feeds back to his conversation partner a pattern of response patterned on the other person. It is taught in sales training classes. If people seem too much like me, my brain jumps to the possibility that I am simply being "reflected." I think this is how people like Daschle get ahead.

With really limited interview times and puffed up reputations abounding in WA DC, I am impressed there have been so few problems. Remember Clinton's first 100 days? I don't like to put too much importance on one person, but I hope that Rahm Emanuel is the bastard he is reputed to be, and just sees through all the bullshit. If so, he has gotten caught by it at least four times.
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Brent Kellmer
User: skaldic
Date: 2009-02-04 18:18 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Personally I'm mixed. Huge numbers of people have trouble with their taxes, and the more you make (with presumably greater complexity in your income and deductions), the more potential problems.

I think we're seeing a full spectrum of issues here -- Killefer, we don't know much about, other than she withdrew because she'd had some tax issues. Geithner had issues, but they were taken care of and (and this is key, in my opinion) confusion about the tax issue that he had, has happened to a large number of those involved in the IMF, just as he had. Personally, I think it was perhaps careless, but probably a relatively honest mistake.

Daschle, though -- that was clearly greed, or stupidity. Don't know which, and don't care. The sad thing is that because he was greedy or stupid or both, he can't joint in and contribute in the way they'd wanted him to (and maybe make his sorry ass worthwhile). To me, at least, he's the only real hypocrite, or at least the only clear one.

Let's hope he's also the last one, because we don't need the Dems to follow in the GOP's rather large (and rather smelly) footsteps.
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Doctor Pipe
User: dr_pipe
Date: 2009-02-04 19:56 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
We threw the bums out so the new guys would enact better policies. I could care less about their past tax histories, drug uses, or infidelities. If they start pushing for pointless wars or pillaging the public coffers now, then I'll get upset.
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User: autojim
Date: 2009-02-05 02:45 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Not contributing the correct amount *to* the public coffers = pillaging same, on a functional equivalency level.

I guess Team Obama: Cabinet Police forgot to include specific questions about the payment of taxes on the 63-question test...
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Mister Eclectic: Don't Vote
User: howeird
Date: 2009-02-04 19:59 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Don't Vote
Where did this use of "vetting" come from. To me, vetting is what happens to my cat when he needs his rabies shot.

It's called screening. And it isn't being done because we have a neophyte president who has surrounded himself with amateurs. You would think that after two years of campaigning, Obama would have talked to, screened, had background checks completed and made deals with all his major appointees, but clearly he didn't. Almost everyone he has chosen so far has been essentially promoted to the head of whatever department they worked in under Clinton. Except the one he (WTF???) kept from W's administration.

I don't see this as replacing one set of bums with another set of bums. I see it as one set of crooks who were appointed by the head crook, being replaced by another set of crooks who are taking advantage of the opening between removing the old alarm system and installing a new one.
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Danny Adams
User: madwriter
Date: 2009-02-04 21:54 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
My favorite comment on NPR this morning was about Geithner, who said he'd done his own taxes on TurboTax: If the guy who's going to be running the Treasury and thus overlord of the IRS screws up his taxes so badly, maybe this would be a good time to simplify the tax code?
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User: autojim
Date: 2009-02-05 02:43 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I wondered who had hired Wesley Snipes' tax accountant... now I know.
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