And to think we were "only" worried about having a known Tax Cheat overseeing everyone's taxes.
With Barney Frank's help, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is trying to expand his power (and by inference that of his Dear Leader boss) well beyond that. The "Pay for Performance Act," which has already gotten out of committee, would give him veto power over salaries at every company into which the government has inserted its intrusive claws.
Besides the utter outrageousness of the news itself, the story leads to the question of how the establishment media will handle it. Whitewash it? Minimize its significance? Ignore it? Given the fact that the news is over a week old, I vote for a continuation of Door Number Three.
This week I took on Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner for capitalizing on the A.I.G. crisis he helped foment by trying to seize even more regulatory authority. Stephen Moore described the plan as handing Geithner "judge, jury and execution" authority.
One Fox News Channel anchor said Vladimir Putin is probably "smiling," at the thought of Geithner's new plan. But since the networks have had Geithner's back for some time they are unlike to challenge him the way one Congressman did this week.
On Monday night, Katie Couric teased the CBS Evening News by trumpeting how “the stock market soars as the Treasury rolls out a new plan to rescue America's banks,” and then leading: “The Treasury put out the details today of a plan to rescue America's banks and Wall Street responded with two thumbs up and a triple-digit rally.” Six weeks ago, however, when the Dow plunged 382 points in reaction to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's vague plan for banks, Couric didn't mention the stock market in her tease as she instead giddily announced:
COURIC: Tonight, attacking the economic crisis from every angle: The Treasury Secretary rolls out a new bailout plan, the Senate passes the stimulus package and the President gets a little help selling it.
MAN AT FT. MYERS EVENT WITH OBAMA: Oh, it's such a blessing to see you Mr. President! Thank you for taking time out of your day!
In setting up the lead story, on the Tuesday, February 10 newscast, Couric did get to Wall Street's negative reaction to Geithner's plan, but she played it as less important than the Obama administration's efforts to fix the economy:
Is President Barack Obama's administration showing hints it is losing confidence in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner? CNBC's Larry Kudlow said the signs are suggesting as much.
The host of "The Kudlow Report" said in an appearance with CNBC On-Air Editor Charlie Gasparino on his March 17 broadcast that a statement put out earlier today by the administration, and placed at the top of the Drudge Report, hinted this was the beginning of the end for Geithner.
"You know, statements out of the blue - statements like this are what I call a real bad leading indicator that Geithner's time, days may be numbered," Kudlow said. "It may not happen in the next week, but it may happen."
The statement was made in relation to the Treasury Department's handling of the brouhaha surrounding the $165 million in bonuses paid out to American International Group (AIG) executives, even though they were recipients of bailout money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
"The orchestrated attack on radio host Rush Limbaugh...has made the White House look like an oafish bunch of drunken frat boys."
So wrote Camille Paglia in another marvelous column published at Salon moments ago.
In her most recent installment, Paglia expressed increasing disappointment with Barack Obama who she believes has been "ill-served by his advisors and staff" that "have all been blindsided and overwhelmed by the crushing demands of the presidency":
Don't expect Bill Clinton's former labor secretary Robert Reich to ever do so, for in an article published at Salon Thursday, the UC-Berkeley professor claimed "every major policy that led to this collapse occurred under George W.'s watch."
Not only that, but the man who recently told Congress that jobs created by the economic stimulus package shouldn't only go to "white male construction workers" also declared, "Angry right-wing populism lurks just below the surface of the terrible American economy, ready to be launched not only at Obama but also at liberals, intellectuals, gays, blacks, Jews, the mainstream media, coastal elites, crypto socialists, and any other potential target of paranoid opportunity."
Readers are warned to proceed with caution before going any further, for Reich was loaded for conservatives and wasn't taking prisoners:
Although an admitted Barack Obama supporter during last year's campaign, CNBC's Jim Cramer has certainly changed his view concerning our 44th president.
On Tuesday's "Today" show, the outspoken "Mad Money" host said: we have "an agenda in this country now that I would regard as being a radical agenda"; Obama's just announced budget "put a level of fear in this country that I have not seen ever in my life," and; "This is the most, greatest wealth destruction I've seen by a president."
He also called Timothy Geithner "an invisible treasury secretary," and expressed hope that the next time he goes to Capitol Hill "he doesn't throw the drowning man the anvil like he did the last time he spoke" (video and transcript below the fold, file photo):
It was news media conventional wisdom during the 2008 presidential campaign: the worse the economy, the better it was for Democrat candidate prospects. But now that they have the legislative and executive branches and the burden of actually governing, that advantage is slowly being chipped away.
CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer, who first starting connecting that perhaps a Democrat-controlled federal government might not be the best thing for the United States earlier this year, gave something of a downbeat rant on Feb. 2 about Obama's handling of the economy so far.
"Until the Obama administration starts listening, until they start paying attention to what you're watching - to the stock market, until they realize that their agenda is destroying the life savings of millions of Americans - then all I can give you is caution," Cramer said on his March 2 broadcast.
Imagine for a moment John McCain was President, and few of the people on the task force he created to repair the crumbling auto industry owned American cars.
Would that be a public relations nightmare?
Well, an article published Monday by the Detroit News revealed that most of Barack Obama's newly announced Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry don't patronize the companies they've been appointed to rescue:
If you needed an alarm to go off signaling President Obama's honeymoon with the press being over, you got it Thursday when former CBS "Evening News" anchor Dan Rather severely chastised the new administration for not doing enough to solve today's economic problems.
Writing for the Daily Beast, the man who once used a forged document in an attempt to bring down former President George W. Bush wondered why more people aren't outraged about how little has been done by Obama and Company to right what he believes is a sinking ship.
Caution -- you're about to enter a no kidding zone:
Imagine for a moment an American newspaper publishing a column with the following opening sentence:
Has Barack Obama’s presidency already failed?
Not in a million years, right?
Well, on Wednesday, one of the most respected international publications, the Financial Times of London, published such an article written by its associate editor and chief economics commentator Martin Wolf.
In it was an astonishingly frank analysis of what the Obama administration has done and not done to solve the current financial crisis (picture courtesy FT):
The Obama-loving media might adore flowery rhetoric with little substance, but stock investors sure don't.
That's what traders and market professionals said was responsible for Tuesday's stock market collapse after Wall Street was tremendously disappointed with the lack of specifics in the highly-anticipated bank rescue plan presented by newly confirmed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
As such, it's going to be fascinating to see how sycophantic press members spin the market's almost 400-point decline.
Will it resemble how Bloomberg reported the event:
Former Sen. Tom Daschle might have been forced to withdraw his name as President Obama's Health and Human Services secretary last week, but his tax problems were far less egregious than Timothy Geithner's, the man just confirmed as the Secretary of the Treasury.
In fact, according to Pulitzer Prize winning Vanity Fair contributing editors James Steele and Donald Barlett, Geithner's offenses were significantly worse because he "not only signed a paper acknowledging he owed taxes, he collected money to pay the taxes and then didn’t."
The pair were interviewed by Democracy Now's Amy Goodman Friday, and told their liberal host things about this matter few in the media would dare as it would be another embarrassment for Obama (video embedded below the fold with rush transcript):
Yesterday was Pity the Poor President Day in Old Media.
Early last night, I noted how the Associated Press's Ben Feller chose to characterize an already-planned visit by Barack and Michelle Obama to a DC elementary school as an "escape" that "surely made him happy for a while."
A few hours ago, NB's Brent Baker reported with amazement the absurd attempts by CBS's Katie Couric and NBC's Brian Williams to portray Obama -- who either allowed poor vetting by his team or was nonchalant about the tax and other irregularities they found -- as somehow being a "culture of Washington" victim. Zheesh.
Former South Dakota Senator Tom Daschle (picture at right is part of a Getty Images pic at a related New York Times story) has just upped the ante in Washington's tax-avoiding/evading game of "Can you top this?"
Whereas recently confirmed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner "only" $40,000 in back taxes and interest, principally relating to unpaid Social Security and Medicare taxes (with a dash of retirement-plan penalty and illegally deducted overnight summer camp expenses included in the mix), the man who Rush Limbaugh used to call "Puff" Daschle during his Senate days has upped to ante to six figures.
Update/Closing thoughts (14:34): Hearst columnist Helen Thomas continues to make a cartoon of herself in her using her perch to parrot ultra-left-wing talking points. Her question today was on why President Obama wants to send troops into Afghanistan to "kill more people."Without doubt it was the loopiest left-wing question posed today. Oddly enough, given her history of bias, one of the best queries today came from April Ryan of American Urban Radio Networks, who questioned the wisdom of pegging hopes of economic recovery on so-called "green jobs."
About to live-blog the White House daily press briefing. I'm focusing chiefly on the questions from the journalists. I'm watching via Fox News.
13:42: Gibbs: our e-mail system isn't working so well, apologizes for that to press corps.
Questions from reporters follow:
13:44, female reporter: Can you describe a little more fully about Amb. Rice's comments on mid-east diplomacy
13:45, female reporter: So you can't say when the diplomacy [with Iran] will begin or how?
13:46, Chuck Todd, NBC News: When are you guys going to announce a housing plan? Where is the money? Is it part of TARP?
13:47,Todd's followup: Does that mean it will not be part of the $350 billion?
13:48, Todd: Going to encourage banks to lend more?
CNBC rabble-rouser and "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer questioned the merits of Timothy Geithner, President Barack Obama's Treasury Secretary-designate, and told viewers on CNBC's Jan. 22 "Street Signs" that, had he been in Geithner's shoes, he'd face criminal prosecution.
"I happen to have a meeting with my lawyers just to discuss this - with my battalion of lawyers, the $2,000-a-hour gang - and you know, they would say if it was Cramer, I would be prosecuted, maybe criminally prosecuted," Cramer said. "And my lawyers were somewhat shocked that on Chris Matthews I said it was OK, given the fact they said Geithner better get himself the best lawyer in town."
I was going through the comments tonight at my Pajamas Media column about the Geithner nomination that went up earlier today, and came across this at Comment 39 from "Mike M":
The deduction he took for the summer camp as a day care expense is EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED IN THE IRS CODE! That’s out and out tax fraud. Even Leona Helmsly (sic) is jealous in her grave ....
It turns out that there is a lot more to the Geithner story. It has been sitting right there in details that were made public last week, but were mostly ignored by the Washington press. While the amounts involved aren't anywhere near as large as those relating to Geithner's self-employment taxes from 2001 through 2004 on his earnings at the International Monetary Fund -- taxes he didn't pay until audited by the IRS (2003 and 2004) or until just before his nomination was announced (2001 and 2002) -- they are nonetheless revealing, infuriating, and disturbing. They make the claims of "honest mistakes" that his defenders up to and including Barack Obama continue to employ look much, much weaker (paragraph image is from Pages 3 and 4 of the relevant report stored here as a PDF; a larger JPEG image is here):
The Associated Press's 1:12 p.m. coverage (saved here, as the dynamic link changed during the drafting of this post) of the Senate Finance Committee's hearing on Barack Obama's nomination of Timothy Giethner as Treasury Secretary has plenty of discussion of Geithner's tax "mistakes" (the picture, but not its heading, is from a November 21 New York Times article).
But as has been the case with every AP report I've seen, there is no mention of the fact that the International Monetary Fund, Geithner's 2001-2004 employer, partially reimbursed him for his Social Security and Medicare "self-employment tax" liabilities.
Here are the first eight paragraphs of AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger's report:
People don't even worship God like they worship Barack Obama.
So said comedian Jackie Mason in his most-recent video blog just posted at YouTube.
But that's not all. According to Mason, "Mao Tse Tung wasn't so venerated and people weren't so fearful of disagreeing with him as the Congress of the United States including the Republicans who are afraid to disagree with anything he says or does because they'll be called a racist."
Mason also deliciously went after "a yenta like Hillary Clinton" for being completely unqualified to be Secretary of State, and Timothy Geithner, "a thief that never paid his income taxes [who's] now going to be in charge to make sure you pay your income tax."
Strap your seatbelts tightly, folks, for the video embedded below the fold addresses inconvenient truths Obama-loving media dare not:
The Associated Press's record of running interference for Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner continues mostly unabated.
My chronicle of AP's largely weak coverage, most of which has been previously detailed at NewsBusters (here, here, and here), is at the end of this post.
No AP report I have seen has noted that Geithner applied for and merely pocketed partial "reimbursements" from the International Monetary Fund for payroll/"self-employment" taxes. He signed IMF forms saying that he had paid or would pay those taxes. He didn't pay up for 2003 and 2004 until his returns were audited. He more than likely never would have paid up for 2001 and 2002 if he had not been nominated, even though a strong case could be made that he engaged in tax evasion.
These aspects of Geithner's tax situation, if widely known, would, I believe, cause the average taxpayer to object strongly to the very idea of his nomination. AP's alleged journalists appear to believe that this cannot be allowed to happen.
AP Personal Finance writer Dave Carpenter, in a mostly Q&A piece with a really weak title ("Meltdown 101: US tax laws can even foil the pros"), continued the silence on pocketed reimbursements yesterday afternoon (stored here for future reference). He also seems to have found every excuse for Geither except "the dog ate my W-2":
Yesterday, details discovered about Treasury Secretary nominee Timothy Geithner's tax situation moved it to well past the level of an "honest mistake."
You wouldn't know it from the Associated Press's Julie Hirschfeld Davis, who, as I noted yesterday (at NewsBusters; at BizzyBlog), continues to run interference for him. A story from Thursday afternoon that has since been dynamically updated had a final paragraph alluding to the fact that Geithner had signed annual statements acknowleding his obligation to pay his own payroll taxes (Update: That Thursday afternoon story is still at Breitbart). That paragraph is not present in the story as updated at 3:13 a.m. this morning (saved here for future reference). Even that paragraph, when it was present, didn't note that Geithner had applied for and received reimbursement for payroll taxes he didn't pay.
First, here are key paragraphs from Davis's cheerleading roundup, including disconcerting statements of support for Geithner from many who should know better:
Jan. 14 Update: "AP's Early-AM Revision Flushes Many Details, Calls His Tax Problems 'Goofs'"
Timothy Geithner, pictured at right in an AP photo, is Barack Obama's nominee for Treasury Secretary.
Mr. Geithner will, among many other duties, oversee the Internal Revenue Service.
How odd, to say the least, that Mr. Geithner has had persistent tax filing and payment problems going back over 15 years involving self-employment taxes for both himself and his paid help, as well as with the employment of someone who for a time did not have proper legal status to remain in the country.
You would think that such things might place a cabinet nominee, especially to head Treasury, in jeopardy, and to cause the president who nominated him to have second thoughts. After all, in 2001, Linda Chavez's nomination as Labor Secretary went down in flames over matters relating to an illegal immigrant whom Chavez had sheltered in her home a decade earlier. Also, in 1993, Zoe Baird withdrew as Bill Clinton's nominee for Attorney General over the employment of illegal-immigrant domestic help and her failure to pay the related employment taxes on a timely basis.
But Geithner's nomination is apparently getting the all clear, with pliant Republicans giving the okey-dokey, and press outlets like the Associated Press giving his problems the relatively no-big-deal treatment.
Here are some excerpts from tonight's AP story by Brett J. Blackledge (stored here for future reference when there are subsequent updates; 5 AM Update: The link did indeed change; an alternate link that seems to match what AP had up at its own site at the time of this post appearance is here):
If you had any questions about how differently the economy will be covered with Barack Obama in the White House they were answered by George Stephanopoulos on Sunday when he credited the president-elect with causing the recent stock market rally as well as better than expected sales the day after Thanksgiving.
I kid you not.
During the panel discussion of the most recent installment of "This Week," Stephanopoulos said (video available here, relevant section at 11:05):
Joe Conason's column should be as chilling to conservatives as it is meant to be comforting to liberals. His message: don't be distracted by the centrist-seeming appointments Pres.-elect Obama has made to his economic team. He remains as committed as ever to his radical agenda.
Conason's commentary appears this morning at Rasmussen Reports. Key lines [emphasis added]:
[W]hen liberals point to Summers and other members of the Obama team, crying betrayal, they misunderstand the strategy behind those appointments. The most important thing to remember about the president-elect as he prepares to govern is that he takes the long view -- and that he knows how to make a reasonable case for radical change. He has not taken one step back from the commitments he articulated during his campaign.
ABC correspondent Claire Shipman lauded President-Elect Barack Obama’s Treasury Secretary-Designate Tim Geithner on Tuesday’s Good Morning America: “It might not be immediately obvious, but insiders say the President-Elect and his pick for the top economic spot could have been separated at birth.” She later quoted The Economist’s line about the future top bureaucrat, that both Obama and Geithner “have a hipster, wonky cool about them,” and that both “like to relax by shooting hoops.” Shipman even played up the “hipster” label by stating how “[t]he new Treasury Secretary is also known to surf and skateboard.”
Shipman began her report by describing what Obama admired about Geithner, along with a personal anecdote about the federal bureaucrat: “Well, his smarts and his style -- that's what aides say appeal to Barack Obama, and here’s another clue about his character -- he’s an avid amateur photographer, and friends say that very much explains the way he likes to work. He likes to watch, observe, and then act.” She then gave her “separated at birth” line.
Later, the ABC correspondent played three clips of a close friend of Geithner, Professor Justin Rudelson of Dartmouth, who unsurprisingly spoke well of the Treasury Secretary-designate. Then, as Shipman gave some details about how Geithner “married his college sweetheart” and how “his father was his best man,” sweet piano music played in the background, as you might expect in a gushy biography.
Are the good folks at the New York Times breaking ranks and actually criticizing a decision by president-elect Barack Obama?
Such seemed to be the case Tuesday when the Gray Lady published, on the front page of the business section no less, an article highly critical of proposed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
Entitled "Where Was Geithner in Turmoil?", Andrew Ross Sorkin's piece actually pointed fingers at Obama's choice to head the Treasury department for his potential involvement in the nation's current financial crisis (emphasis added throughout):
On the Saturday Early Show on CBS, President-elect Barack Obama’s Cabinet picks were presented positively as correspondent Kimberly Dozier referred to a "superstar Cabinet," and its members as "bold" and "inspired," while co-anchor Erica Hill called the Cabinet "star-studded." The terminology was similar to that employed by NBC's Andrea Mitchell on the previous night's Nightly News, as she referred to Obama's "all-star Cabinet."
During the 8:00 a.m. hour of the Saturday Early Show, as she filed a story regarding Obama’s choices of Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State and Timothy Geithner, also from the Clinton administration, for Treasury Secretary, Dozier introduced her report: "Well, Obama’s Cabinet picks are coming one by one, and they’re calling it, in some cases, a ‘superstar Cabinet.’" After informing viewers that Obama may ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on, Dozier repeated the "superstar" label as she passed on praise from former Reagan Chief of Staff Ken Duberstein. Dozier: "Ronald Reagan’s former chief of staff says Obama’s taking a page from his boss’s book, choosing a superstar team for their skills, not their political persuasion."