Jonathan Alter, Newsweek's intellectual diva-in-waiting and professional Obama-gusher, last night described Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner as the only person in Washington who fully understands TARP, the bank bailout bill. The good news is that TARP is apparently less complex than the tax code, which Mr. Geithner has admitted to misunderstanding. The bad news is that Mr. Geithner suffers from a sufficiently limited mental capacity as to be unteachable:
- He seemingly forgot to pay personal payroll taxes due for four years, 2001-2004; until
- When reminded by IRS auditors, he paid 2003 and 2004, but forgot to pay the earlier years; until
- After his nomination by President-elect Obama as Secretary with responsibility for the IRS, he paid the taxes due in the earlier years; even though
- His employer had each year reimbursed him for the taxes that he hadn't paid; even though
- He certified each year in writing that he had in fact paid the taxes. Four times.
Let's see. A tax code written and then ignored for decades by Charles Rangel and then enforced, at least as it applies to others, by Tim Geithner. Wow, how fortunate we are!
In their spare time, Rangel and Geithner will be working with Barney Frank and Chris Dodd to spend as quickly as possible more than a trillion borrowed dollars in order to bail out, partially acquire and too likely control corporate levers in the most complex financial system in the world.
No wonder the American dollar has tanked and gold is golden.