Blog Entry

Screwed Again

Posted on: February 2, 2009 1:41 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2009 1:46 pm
 

I filed my taxes this weekend. I paid over $30K in federal taxes and another $11K in state taxes in 2008. Sucks to be single. I captured the huge interest and dividends on my Schedule B (Not!!). I itemized my mortgage, state and local taxes, and my charitable donations. I donated $14,000 to my foundation to a local University's Engineering Department to be used as scholarship for 1 student of need. That is near and dear to my heart so I do it every year. I will attend another graduation ceremony this spring for a newly minted engineer as a result! I have been paying taxes since I was 16 years old (my first job was in a movie theater - a dorky uniform, but a fun job) and I have never been auditted. In fact I have never made an error. Only once did I pay an accountant to do my taxes when I moved twice in one year for work which made for an ugly set of returns. The point is I never made a mistake because I was brought up to do the right thing, perhaps it is fear of an audit or worse, or maybe they just aren't that hard to do it right. Maybe I am just really smart. Maybe other people are having trouble with theirs and I should temper my opinion. Surely our government officials have not made taxes so difficult or complex to compute that super smart people screw it up. People like Presidential Administration Department Secretaries, surely they are able to decipher the tax code and get it right.

Apparently not so. Timothy Geithner, confirmed Treasury Secretary, and now Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Tom Daschle have both made gross tax errors in their past. The good news is they have paid their restitution to the IRS. But the question is, why now? Did they dread waking up to a new day feeling the guilt of cheating their country out of funds needed for the betterment of their country. Perhaps they attended confession and the Good Father required them to pay up to absolve them of their sins. Let's be honest shall we? They got caught years after the deeds were committed. They did not plan on coming clean until they got a call from Obama to self serve the country, the esteemed man of great ethics.

Tell me how this is better than those horrible Bush people.

For completeness I submit:

From AP:

Daschle wrote a letter to the top leaders of the Finance Committee. The letter, released Monday, sought to explain how he overlooked taxes on additional income for consulting work and the use of a car service. He also deducted more in charitable contributions than he should have. Daschle recently filed amended tax returns for 2005-07 to report $128,203 in back taxes and $11,964 in interest. "I am deeply embarrassed and disappointed by the errors that required me to amend my tax returns," said Daschle, the former Senate Democratic leader. "I apologize for the errors and profoundly regret that you have had to devote time to them."

In the letter dated Feb. 1, Daschle provided a timeline for when the errors were discovered and tax payments made. Uncertain is whether the tax issue will stall or derail Daschle's nomination. Daschle was an early supporter of Obama's presidential bid and several of Daschle's former Capitol Hill staffers went to work for Obama after Daschle, then a South Dakota senator, lost his re-election bid in 2004.

Daschle filed the amended returns after Obama announced he intended to nominate him as secretary of Health and Human Services. Daschle explained in his apology letter that the presidential transition 

 team flagged charitable contributions they concluded were deducted in error. When his accountant realized amended tax returns would need to be filed, he suggested addressing another matter that Daschle raised with him earlier in the year: whether the use of a car service provided by a close friend and business associate, Leo Hindery, should be reported as income. The unreported income for that car service totaled more than $250,000 over three years.

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Comments

Since: Jul 16, 2008
Posted on: February 4, 2009 12:17 pm
 

Screwed Again

I think it is great that you donate to a universty for scholarships. I am a universty student in utah. There are so many people that think just cause you single or newly married that you have all the money. Heck! my wife and I are have trouble juggle work and school but it is so worth ever headache, test, and problem so that we can be better in the long run. I know that it woould help us not to pay taxes but it is some thing we have to do to help this country run and operate. I just do see how someone in a postion like this can cheat on this and get away with it. Taxes are so easy even with turbo tax these days. I think that if your in poltics then the irs needs to check the lying cheats out. I even work for a local state rep on his farms and he never paid me for the work i did for two weeks. so in my opinion they need to be check out.




Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: February 4, 2009 8:14 am
 

Screwed Again - Victory!!

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Tuesday abruptly abandoned his nomination fight for Tom Daschle and a second major appointee who failed to pay all their taxes, telling NBC News: "I screwed up."

"I’ve got to own up to my mistake. Ultimately, it's important for this administration to send a message that there aren't two sets of rules — you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes," Obama said on NBC’s "Nightly News with Brian Williams."

The admission came little more than 24 hours after Obama had said he was "absolutely" committed to Daschle's confirmation as secretary of health and human services, a job in which he would taken the lead in the president's ambitious plans for the nation's health care system.


Excellent news.  The first of many chinks in Mr. Obama's reputation.  The honeymoon appears to to be lasting all of 14 days.  How do you like that negative media Mr. Obama?  Kind of stings a bit.

Now how about you get to work fixing the economy with tax cuts for both business and individuals and you will be a hero.  If you keep insisting on piling on the pork you will fail miserably.  I have worn out my representatives phone lines lately.  Trust me, they know Cyndi!!   Can you say the same for your elected officials?  If not, give them a call and tell them what is on your mind.  You'd be surprised the impact you can have on them and your country.




Since: Jan 1, 2007
Posted on: February 4, 2009 8:02 am
 

Screwed Again

Finally!! I see that Daschle has been given the boot...whoops, I mean...withdrawn his name from considerarion. I found it comical that King O'Bama gave the exact same interview to all of the nightly news anchors. The funny part is that it was pointed out by someone that they were all identical. Perhaps they are beginning to see that this guy is a mildly charismatic drone that cannot perform without a script or a teleprompter.




Since: Jun 3, 2008
Posted on: February 3, 2009 3:48 pm
 

Screwed Again

Does anyone else wonder why all these rich poloticians that state they would not mind paying higher taxes never check the box to donate to the IRS?  How come none are willing to put their money where their mouth is?

It is getting to be a bit crazy that all these nominations are showing that those that create laws cannot abide by them.  How can someone that pays someone else to do their taxes, you know they do so that they can use all the loop holes they can, continually screw them up while those of us not in office and in a much lower tax bracket know exactly how much we owe/recieve and if it is incorrect it is because of a simple math error not because we "forgot" about the extra $250,000 we earned.  How do you forget that?  There is no forgeting it is a choice to not report it and they should be punished, not given a high level political job.

Again, congrats on your scholorship.  I am greatly impressed by your attitude.




Since: Aug 7, 2008
Posted on: February 3, 2009 1:42 pm
 

Screwed Again

I'm a hard-core moderate.  Yes, that's right.  Not hard-core liberal, or hard core consertive, but hard-core moderate.  Think of a person that supports Democratic social stances (environment, pro-choice, ant-gun) but believe in more fiscal conservation.  I do believe it is my obligation (and yes sort of Patriotic in a warped sort of way) to pay taxes.  But I want people who are responsible people handling the money.  I believe there is so much corruption in our government now that neither side can really say why one is better than the other.  We spend too much on defense, not enough on education.  Lobbyists not only have politicians in their pockets, but down their pants.  Unfortunately, we will need higher taxes down the road to help bail us out of this hole, but we need to truly look at our budgets and expenses as government agencies and hack of the unnecessary evils.  Tough decisions need to be made. 

In regards to taxes, it is unfortunate that so many peope try to work the system.  But who can blame them when the government, both Democrats and Republicans, abuse their power.  Its ugly out there and is only going to get uglier.




Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: February 3, 2009 12:45 pm
 

Screwed Again

Another nominee with tax problems....What is it with Democrats not paying their taxes?

From AP

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's nominee to be the first chief performance officer for the federal government has withdrawn after earlier failing to pay tax on household help, the White House said Tuesday.

"Nancy Killefer has decided to withdraw her nomination, and we accepted her withdrawal," said Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman.

The White House later released her letter to the president, which in part stated: "I recognize that your agenda and the duties facing your Chief Performance Officer are urgent. I have also come to realize in the current environment that my personal tax issue of D.C. unemployment tax could be used to create exactly the kind of distraction and delay those duties must avoid. Because of this I must reluctantly ask you to withdraw my name from consideration."

The Obama administration has had several nomination problems.

Timothy Geithner was sworn in as Treasury secretary in January, after winning confirmation despite personal tax lapses that turned more than a third of the Senate against him.

Former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, Obama's nominee to oversea the Health and Human Services Department, is still being considered by the Senate, despite problems with back taxes and potential conflicts of interest.

New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Obama's initial selection for commerce secretary, withdrew his name amid a grand jury investigation into a state contract awarded to his political donors.

Obama took no questions Tuesday after announcing his choice of Sen. Judd Gregg to be commerce secretary. He left the White House lectern ignoring a shouted question about why so many of his nominees have tax problems.




Since: Feb 18, 2008
Posted on: February 3, 2009 12:03 pm
 

Screwed Again

More from Massachusetts, as reported on the front page of the Boston Globe of all places.  Seems even Massachusetts liberals are having voter regret for Deval Patrick.  In an unprecedented move, the State of Massachusetts is seeking legal action to, are you ready for this, have out of state businesses (those outside of Massachusetts) pay Massachusetts sales tax.  Seems Deval Patrick feels Massachusetts residents are crossing the border into New Hampshire to do buy goods/services and not pay MA tax, which of course they are.  I have to believe the MA SJC will throw this case out, as to pass it, would unleash a wave of policies by every other state against MA's best interests.


 

And it apears I owe you an apology.  I am 1 year older than you!




Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: February 2, 2009 5:55 pm
 

Screwed Again

Here in Massachusetts, our lovely Democrat Governor, facing a 2.5 billion dollar shortfall, during a recession, has just announced $587,000,000 in new state taxes. All of the money is allocated to pay for new government programs. Amazing.  Astounding. How do they justify that?

This is the time for states to take advantage of the crisis (a quote from Chief of Staff, Ram Emanuel) and cut the garbage programs that are sapping their budgets, sapping their taxpayers (private and business), and driving business away. 

Revenues are never constant no matter what.  They tend to follow a sine curve, up and down, why is it that State budgets are derived from the peaks of those economic times instead of average or even on the low end?  That would make sense.  Oh wait, forget I brought it up. My bad.  Seriously, that is called fiscal conservatism for those liberals who read my blog.  You might want to call your representatives and let them know you would like them to practice conservatism for a while.




Since: Mar 20, 2008
Posted on: February 2, 2009 5:46 pm
 

Screwed Again

I am 32 Gastropod.  No kids, that I know of (that is funny being a female!) You're right it makes no sense - the tax code.  A flat tax would be just fine with me. You see, I do see it as a part of my civic duty.  Patriotic even (thanks Biden, that is just hilarious).  I just wish it was a little less patriotic.  I gave away 7% of my precious salary because I wanted to - no one makes me.  Why not?  As an imigrant I have prospered in these United States.  I live the American dream everyday.  

I would encourage everyone to donate money to schools if you can afford it.  The best way is to find a community college.  Most (all?) accept scholarship donations to specific people or of a specific need or of a specific major.  A community college here in the Queen City charges $100 a credit hour.  So for $3000 you can send someone to school full time!  They work with you to do what ever you want for as little as you are able to donate.  I have a friend on this board who does the same thing out in Iowa.  It really warms your heart when you can change someone's life.

I donated smaller amounts in the beginning but received one of those big executive bonuses (evil, I know) and setup a foundation just to make the taxes easier (see your accountant to find out why).  I get to select my recipient and even get to meet and speak with them from time to time.  One such student allowed me to mentor him a little bit.  He is currently employeed locally as a mechanical engineer.  His case was special.  He was smart but was just plain poor.  He was proud and would not ask for help for anything. I was able to provide him with tuition, books, and room and board. He worked very hard according to his professors and the local companies who allowed him to co-op. His success is hard earned.  I am so proud of him.  And he now donates to his local community college.  Pay it forward.  I love it.

You know what is sad.  Joe Biden earned $2.5 million last year and gave less to charity than I did. 7% of 2.5M is $175,000 Joe or 58 full scholarships at my local CC.

Signed,

Bleeding Heart CONSERVATIVE Ukrainian Chick!!!




Since: Jun 3, 2008
Posted on: February 2, 2009 3:43 pm
 

Screwed Again

I can overlook someone that errs on their taxes and corrects them.  What I can not overlook is someone that overlooks their taxes in a significant way, and pretends to have caught the error just prior to being nominated for a cabinet position.  Do they believe that we are all stupid?  We know that there was no intention by either to correct the error until the nomination occured and they knew they would be looked at.  Yes they paid back taxes and interest, but if it were you or I we would be in a lot of trouble.  I also am angered that Timothy Geithner could even be confirmed as the Treasury Secretary.  How can someone that had an error that he did even be considered to run the treasury department, the department in charge of taxes.  That would be like putting a drug tsar in charge of the DEA.  I am completly embarrased by our government for confirming him.

On a lighter note, congrats on completing tour taxes and I am very impressed with your donation of a scholorship.  Do you have any control over who gets the use of it?  It is not to often that you get information like this where there are no strings attached, name on a building, a say in the choices made buy the athletic department, etc.  Please continue being the great person you are and give everyone something to strive to be themselves.  Oh, and keep up with the great posts.



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