One is an incident, two is suspicious, and three is a pattern. We have Tim Geithner, Nancy Killefer, and now Tom Daschle. There really does seem to be a problem with high-placed Democrats and their taxes. But if three is a pattern, what is four? The fourth is of course almost-Senator Al Franken. Remember him?
Well he has his own history of contempt for the laws and tax regulations which trip up the little people. He failed to carry workers’ compensation for his corporation as required by law and had to fork over $25,000 in penalties when New York state caught up with him. Then there was more than $4700 in California taxes. Then there were the other tax deficiences– $70,000 in seventeen states. That’s an impressive run. And if the courts award him the seat, he may fit in rather nicely in the pantheon of Democratic tax scofflaws.
In a Democratic Senate caucus which expresses “shock” when Daschle is forced to back out, Franken is sure to fit right in, if Minnesota voters have in fact elected him, however narrowly. If indeed Franken winds up in the Senate then the rest of the country will have to live with the result: a foul-mouthed comedian with as much reverence for the tax code as, say Daschle. And which committees should he be assigned to? Tax doesn’t seem appropriate. Labor wouldn’t look so good. Judiciary? He does have experience with the legal system after all.
And when the Demcrats, with or without Franken, get around to looking at the Bush tax cuts they might want to refrain from trotting out the usual populist nonsense and repeating Joe Biden’s admonition that paying taxes is patriotic. Senator Franken (if that is where we are heading) and Treasury Secretary Geithner might feel a bit uncomfortable.