Commentary Magazine


Why Can’t They Pay Their Taxes On Time?

What is it with these people?

Only seven months after critical news stories about unpaid taxes on a private airplane, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill was late paying property taxes on her Washington, D.C., condominium. Records show that the Missouri Democrat missed the fall 2011 deadline by about three weeks. McCaskill paid $197 in penalties and interest on top of the $1,514 in taxes owed for half the year. McCaskill also was about a month late paying her spring 2010 property tax bill on the condo.

McCaskill’s Chinatown condo was purchased in 2007 for $700,000. It’s unclear how much her private plane is worth, but the taxes she failed to pay on it amounted to $300,000. So, it’s worth more than $300,000. Per liberal logic just the house and the plane are enough to springboard her into the 1 percent of Americans who are bleeding this country dry by stubbornly insisting on having wealth (though in fairness she’s been in the public sector for all but three years since around age 30, so she didn’t earn her wealth exclusively as some vampire capitalist businesswoman or whatever).

The combination of late taxes on high wealth would matter a lot less if McCaskill’s party wasn’t currently trying to win an election by demagoguing high earners and those who “don’t pay their fair share.” Or if there weren’t some significant questions being raised locally about how a company she lists as worth $1,001 owns a private plane.

The White House has been inexcusably unserious about fiscal sustainability precisely to shield vulnerable Red State Democrats like McCaskill from having to take tough votes. McCaskill’s seeming inability to pay her taxes has threatened her popularity anyway. And so — yet again — a cynical politically-motivated White House gambit doesn’t even have the political payoff it was supposed to.