2009.02.02: February 2, 2009: Headlines: Obama: COS - Togo: Writing - Togo: Politics: Journalism: New Yorker: George Packer writes: Obama Canít Afford Hypocrisy

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Library: Peace Corps: President Obama: 2009.02.02: February 2, 2009: Headlines: Obama: COS - Togo: Writing - Togo: Politics: Journalism: New Yorker: George Packer writes: Obama Canít Afford Hypocrisy

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George Packer writes: Obama Canít Afford Hypocrisy

George Packer writes: Obama Canít Afford Hypocrisy

"The fact that two men with much combined experience in the public sector didnít pay what they owed the government suggests that, at their lofty income level, cheating is almost universal. And for the rich to get away with underpaying taxes is every bit as much a part of the culture of selfishness and irresponsibility that Barack Obama pledged to end as bankers paying themselves big bonuses while enjoying even bigger public subsidies. You canít credibly denounce the latter one day and find wiggle room for the former the next. You canít usher in a shining period of good government by fudging your principles when it mattersówith those closest to you. If a Republican President were to do the same thing, Democrats would be crying hypocrisy. They shouldnít keep quiet when the hypocrisy is on their side." Journalist George Packer served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Togo.

George Packer writes: Obama Canít Afford Hypocrisy

Obama Canít Afford Hypocrisy

from Interesting Times

Itís more than a little disappointing that, just two weeks into President Obamaís ďnew era of responsibility,Ē a second major cabinet appointee turns out to have underpaid his taxes by tens of thousands of dollars. Maybe a better word for it is ďcheated.Ē The same excuses that were made for Timothy Geithneróit was a mistake, he paid or intends to pay it, he apologizedónow have to be trotted out again for Tom Daschle. Of the two, Geithner owed less but should have paid a higher political price, since he was appointed to run the I.R.S., among other things, and since his ďmistakeĒ was, for at least two years of delinquency, almost certainly knowing. But itís too lateóhe was confirmed as Treasury Secretary. So, in order to prove that his words mean something more than fine sentiments, Obama should insist that the decent and high-minded Daschle withdraw from consideration as Health and Human Services Secretary.

The fact that two men with much combined experience in the public sector didnít pay what they owed the government suggests that, at their lofty income level, cheating is almost universal. And for the rich to get away with underpaying taxes is every bit as much a part of the culture of selfishness and irresponsibility that Barack Obama pledged to end as bankers paying themselves big bonuses while enjoying even bigger public subsidies. You canít credibly denounce the latter one day and find wiggle room for the former the next. You canít usher in a shining period of good government by fudging your principles when it mattersówith those closest to you. If a Republican President were to do the same thing, Democrats would be crying hypocrisy. They shouldnít keep quiet when the hypocrisy is on their side.

For Obama, itís especially important not to have a double standard. A lot of his influence in cleaning up the corruptions of the private sector will be rhetorical. To do what needs to be done with Wall Street, heíll need all the moral authority he can muster. If he allows two tax cheats into his cabinet, heís going to lose a portion of it before his Presidency is one month old.




Daschle Falls on His Sword

from Interesting Times

Timothy Geithner should have been the one to goóif he doesnít have to be above suspicion on paying taxes, who does?óbut by today Obama had to find a way reclaim the mantle of moral authority. Good for Tom Daschle, whose career in public life has been as exemplary as his post-Senate foray into highly paid influence-peddling has been tawdry.

Compare his swift departure to the resistance on the part of every senior Bush Administration figure amid continuous failure and malfeasance. (Would Alberto Gonzalez have resigned if the Republicans had still controlled the Senate? The question answers itself.) Whenever this kind of mini-scandal erupts, there are several ways for a President to react. Clinton showed that he was ready to cut anyone loose who caused him political trouble, and this opportunism weakened him more than the troubled appointee could have. Bush responded with stubborn loyalty, which became the same thing as indifference to competence and integrity, poisoning his Presidency. Thereís a third way, projecting true strength, and thatís to live up to your principles, which is what Obama just did.







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Headlines: February, 2009; RPCV George Packer (Togo); Presidents - Obama; Peace Corps Togo; Directory of Togo RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Togo RPCVs; Writing - Togo; Politics; Journalism





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Story Source: New Yorker

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Obama; COS - Togo; Writing - Togo; Politics; Journalism

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