I'm a Pundit Too

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Endless Cycle Of Political Corruption

When President Barack Obama tapped Timothy Geithner to be the Treasury Secretary, it appeared that on paper it was a fine pick. Geithner was president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank and was the director of Policy Development and Review Department at the International Monetary Fund. The problems arose when it became public knowledge that he failed to pay taxes for the 2 years he worked at the International Monetary Fund. He owed roughly $35,000 of unpaid self-employment taxes. Many of the senators conducting the confirmation hearings claimed that it was an honest and innocent mistake. Geithner also revealed that he had employed a nanny that did not possess the proper work authorization papers. That was, of course, just another honest mistake. My problem with Geithner’s honest mistake is that although he “officially” knew in 2006 that he had failed to pay his taxes, it took until just after President Obama asked him to be Treasury Secretary for him to actually pay his back taxes.

Geithner is not the only well connected political figure that is able to bend the rule of law to suit his own wishes. Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon was recently indicted on 12 counts, included in the indictment were charges of theft, perjury, and fraud. She is accused of spending gift cards that were meant for needy families in Baltimore, and accepting thousands of dollars of gifts from developers. This is not the first time that Dixon has been the subject of a corruption scandal, but as with most politically powerful people, she has always been able to worm her way out of trouble. If past history is any indicator, Dixon will not lose support of the voting public and she will more than likely never see the inside of a jail cell.

Geithner and Dixon are but just 2 examples of politically powerful people that play by a different set of rules than the rest of us “common folk”. If you or I had failed to pay taxes for 2 years the IRS would have constantly hounded us until we were forced to pay the penalties and back taxes. It would not have been looked upon as an honest and innocent mistake. If anyone else but an elected official had used gift cards that were destined for the poor and needy, they would have been ostracized publicly and quickly thrown into jail. Why does someone who has fraudulently stolen billions of dollars in a Ponzi scheme, allowed to stay in his million-dollar home under house arrest? It is all in whom you know politically. When a politician is revealed to be corrupt, the voting public thinks nothing of it. In their minds it is just another politician being a politician, as long as they continue to send more money home to my district. It has gotten so bad in Washington that most political scandals are met with a circling of the wagons around all members of the political elite regardless of political party. My prediction is that Geithner will sail through the confirmation process and Dixon’s political career will be enhanced by this latest scandal. The cycle of corruption will continue until the public decides that they have had enough and actually holds the politicians accountable for their actions regardless of the political leanings.

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