Tuesday, April 14, 2009

April 15 is Patriotism Day

April 15 used to be “Tax Day,” but ever since Vice President Joe Biden exhorted us about our patriotic duty to pay taxes, it has become the day we show our patriotism. His actual statement is “It’s time to be patriotic …. Time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut.”

Incidentally, the video has been pulled from YouTube as if he never said it.

Calling April 15 “Patriot Day” or ‘Patriot’s Day” sounds better, but those titles are already taken.

So as we celebrate Patriotism Day, without parades, fireworks, or barbecues, let us look at the record of our leading patriots in the Obama Administration.

While many might think Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner with his $34,000 in tax deficiencies and interest should win the prize of Chief Tax Scofflaw, he only places second. He used $30 TurboTax as his excuse.

The winner is White House Chief of Staff, and former Representative, Rahm Emanuel. He wins for creativity, as befits one who earned $16.2 million from Wasserstein Perella and $320,000 as a director of Freddie Mac (The Federal Home Mortgage Corp.)(2000-2002). He lists 4228 North Hermitage, Chicago as his home address, but pays no property taxes on it, unlike his neighbors who pay $3,500 - $7,000 on their comparable properties. The owner of the house is listed as “The Rahm Emanuel & Amy Rule Charitable Trust.” He set up his house with his wife as a non-profit charity (Chicago Rules, remember).

During his 2008 reelection campaign, Emanuel was the largest recipient of campaign contributions from hedge funds, private equity firms, and the securities/investment industry.

We shouldn’t count either former Senator Tom Daschle (as Secretary of Health and Human Services) or Nancy Killefer (as Chief Performance Officer) because they both withdrew their nominations because of tax problems. Killifer ran afoul of the Nanny Tax, made famous by Zoe Baird and Judge Kimba Wood in their failed appointments as Attorney General in the Clinton Administration. Caroline Kennedy of New York is also rumored to have withdrawn her request for appointment to the United States Senate because of tax issues; to wit, the dreaded Nanny Tax.

That leaves us Governor Sebelius of Kansas, the new Secretary of Health and Human Services owing $8,000, a stiff discount from Daschle’s $140,000.

Representative Hilda L. Solis, the recently confirmed Secretary of Labor, had no personal tax problems, but her husband, Sam Sayyad, did.

Former Dallas Mayor Ron Kirk, the Obama Administration’s Trade Representative owed almost $10,000.

The soon to be Democratic Senator from Minnesota, Al Franken, stiffed 17 states of $70,000, while Representative Charles Rangel of New York is apparently a opportunistic tax cheat.

The recent House election in upstate New York will probably have Republican Jim Tedisco defeating Democratic carpetbagger Scott Murphy, who also has tax issues.

So next April 15 we will be even more patriotic as our taxes continue to rise, and as I remember from George Orwell’s Animal Farm: “All Animals Are Equal, But Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others.”

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