Note the term ‘office’ staff: I’m comfortable in assuming that the general White House staff – the cleaners, cooks, gardeners, handymen, and whatnot – are all careful to make sure that their taxes are paid up. If only because the President clearly won’t protect them. Anyway, Andrew Malcolm has the summary: 36 office staff members owe $833,900 in back taxes. Which, by the way, is only moderately more scandalous on a fiscal level than the fact that, in an economy where everybody else is forced to cut back on jobs, the White House staff has increased to be larger than George W Bush’s, in both personnel and budget terms.
It constantly amazes me – honestly, even after four* years of watching this – how incredibly tin-eared the President is when it comes to this sort of thing. Considering what we did to this administration over tax evasion in 2009… there should be a large sign above every entry security checkpoint in the White House (angled so that it can be only seen from the inside) saying PAY YOUR TAXES, YOU FOOLS. And if Barack Obama had the ability to find and keep a competent Chief of Staff, there might have been. Alas, he does not, and so there is not… and fish rot from the head down.
Last thing: yes, as has been already noted, President Obama fulminated quite querulously about the need for people to pay their fair share. Which is what makes this sort of thing rampant hypocrisy, of course. But let us not forget that even if the President hadn’t spent Tuesday night whining about ‘fair share’ during that disaster of a 2012 stump speech it would still be unacceptable for his staff to owe almost a million dollars in back taxes. It was unacceptable back in 2010 (and, note well, it was just as unacceptable when it was happening under the Bush administration); it’s unacceptable now. It’s merely worse because of the hypocrisy: if you want to lecture me on paying my fair share, make sure that you pay yours.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
*Candidate and Senator Obama was not notably better at avoiding inadvertently offending people than President Obama is. It’s just that the media was generally happy not not to report it too loudly when Candidate and Senator Obama did such things.