Feature

Confirming Timothy Geithner

Why tax troubles probably won't derail Barack Obama's Treasury secretary

“Under normal circumstances, a tax cheat would not be named to head the department that oversees the Internal Revenue Service,” said The Philadelphia Inquirer in an editorial. “But these are extraordinary times.” So despite Timothy Geithner’s failure to pay tens of thousands of dollars in taxes he owed over several years, the Senate will probably confirm him as Treasury secretary.

That explains all the “showbiz” at his confirmation hearings, said Dana Milbank in The Washington Post. “Senators plan to confirm him, but they don't want to encourage tax cheats. The solution: 3 1/2 hours of ritual flagellation.”

Fine, said The Wall Street Journal in an editorial. Geithner’s income-tax-return error “isn't a disqualifying offense,” and President Obama should get his counsel if he wants it. “We can only hope that the new Treasury secretary has learned a lesson in accountability, and that he has a new appreciation for the complications of our insane tax code.”

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