Thursday, February 05, 2009

I Repeat: Time to Go, Mr. Geithner

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner stood alongside President Obama in a White House press briefing yesterday. Obama talked about bank compensation limits and Geithner spoke about the need for trust, confidence, and faith in our leaders to get the job done. Only a day earlier, Pres. Obama said there should be no double standard when it comes to paying taxes.

However, Mr. Geithner is guilty of a double standard. He dodged his taxes. We know that. The only reason he eventually paid his taxes is because he was nominated to the Treasury. He has never gotten honest about his tax dodge. He never answered the key question of whether he would have paid his back-taxes had he not been nominated to the Treasury. And the result is that Mr. Geithner has lost the trust and confidence of the American people.

Americans do not want tax cheats and tax dodgers in critical leadership positions. Tom Daschle tendered his resignation to become HHS secretary over this same issue. So did another high-profile nominee — Nancy Killefer — in the budget office. Mr. Daschle himself said that he doesn’t have the trust or confidence of the people to lead the nation on healthcare reform.

This is not personal. Geithner has good qualifications. But he is wrong on this key issue. I think most Americans know that. Mr. Geithner should give some serious thought to this.

I continue to beat this drum. I continue to believe that Timothy Geithner should resign as an act of conscience, confidence, and good faith. He has forfeited the trust invested in him. He cannot lead us through financial reform.