Cabinet Crisis


Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer will not be joining Obama’s bipartisan cabinet crew due to their failure to comply with American tax code. Is the American tax code too complex that not even two successful and presumably intelligent politicians can figure out on what items they need to pay taxes?

Daschle is a former US senator and Killefer is an MIT graduate, they seem pretty capable to me. Or maybe it is too easy to cheat on them, it surely took the IRS a long enough time to catch these high profile figures. In Daschle’s case, it is difficult to believe his initial response of naivety to the tax dilemma. His combined failure to pay taxes on a car service, income on consulting work, in addition to an overstatement of tax breaks from charitable contributions trap him in a run of peculiar “oversights."

But maybe the tax code really is too difficult to follow, especially for citizens with above average expenditures. Nancy Killefer failed to pay unemployment taxes on domestic help in 2005, which added up to about $1000. For a top-level executive like Killefer, it is hard to believe that she would risk the future of her career to intentionally evade one thousand dollars in taxes.

A simplification of the US tax code could make life easier on both sides. Politicians will be able to properly account for all aspects of their extravagant lifestyles, and the IRS will have an easier time tracking them down when they do decide to cheat Uncle Sam. It’s a Win Win!