This editorial appeared in The Fresno Bee.
President Barack Obama's selection process for his cabinet nominees has been so flawed that a $128,000 tax dodge by one of his picks didn't seem like much of a problem until the public's concern finally reached the Oval Office. Obama, who has been president for only two weeks, admitted Tuesday that he "screwed up" by not understanding that he can't have one standard on paying income taxes for his appointees and another standard for average Americans.
We appreciate the president's candor, but question the judgment of his transition aides, who apparently didn't press nominees enough on whether they paid all of their taxes.
Nothing gets taxpayers riled up more than evidence that connected people get special treatment when paying their income taxes. The president acknowledged that in media interviews Tuesday.
"It's important for this administration to send a message that there aren't two sets of rules – you know, one for prominent people and one for ordinary folks who have to pay their taxes," the Associated Press reported Obama telling a television news crew on Tuesday.
That's the same day that former Sen. Tom Daschle withdrew as health and human services secretary nominee after it was revealed that he had failed to pay taxes on a limousine service provided to him. Daschle eventually paid $128,203 in back taxes and $11,964 in interest.
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