Stop. Freakin stop for a second, seriously.
Because it's easy to cross the line into dousche-baggery here.
The US Tax code is a crime against the Constitution, IMO (okay, hyperbole, I grant you). It's way too complex and complicated. Because of that, reasonable people ought to allow for reasonable errors. Those errors ought to be proportionate to the scale of complexity one has to deal with in his or her tax filings; so for example, if you're self-employed and also employed by a firm, you're in a world of complexity. You probably make a lot of money, and the mistakes you make are going to be in figures that exceed the median US salary. The question is: are the mistakes you made reasonably attributable to our eff'd up tax code?
In Daschle and Geithner's case, I say "no". It has the appearance of impropriety, and these dousches should have the self-respect to withdraw their names. If they don't, Obama should recuse them or clearly explain why he has not (i.e. explain the appearance of impropriety).
In Kileffer's case:
S]he began to fail to pay unemployment compensation tax for a household employee. And she failed to make the required quarterly payments for a year and half, whereupon a lien for $946.69 was placed on her home. That sum included $298 in unpaid taxes, $48.69 in interest and $600 in penalties. The lien was filed March 7, 2005, but Killefer didn't get the lien extinguished for almost five months, not until July 29.
Um, we're going to go flame-war on $298 in unpaid taxes? No, please, NO! That's douschey.
Another, albeit less vociferous point is the Gotcha issue, which initially elicited my intolerant first post-back to Theo, and which I find objectionable in Yarmony's latest. Consider this from a reader comment at The Atlantic:
Someone should make the point that the theory on which Daschle did not pay taxes on an extraordinary non-salary benefit provided by his employer (car and driver) is exactly the theory on which Palin did not pay taxes on an extraordinary benefit (free air travel for her children, and 60 dollar per day per diem payments for use of her own house).
Palin never paid back taxes but simply produced a squirrelly letter from her lawyers saying that someone could believe in good faith that taxes were not owed on the travel or per diems she received, so her failure to report those items as income was excusable.
Now, I recall defending Palin on these tax issues. So I'm consistent.
All I ask is that others attempt to be consistent. So where exactly is the cutoff point at which you see "appearance of impropriety" and where is the point where you're just amusing us buzzards with unserious blathering. And if you're just being an effing cynic, what's the point (yes, I get guilty of cynicism on occasion).