Thursday, February 5, 2009

Tax problems for Hilda Solis

Another Obama nominee has tax problems. Hilda Solis' husband has a body shop that apparently had some old liens against it. This could be a problem, but it sounds manageable. This is, hopefully, qualitatively different from Daschle's problem of being driven around in a limo and forgetting to pay taxes for it. A body shop in LA is not exactly an elitist accoutrement. You don't get much more blue collar than a body shop in LA. It's also a trivial amount of money, $6,400. It also sounds like it was an honest mistake on his part. Some of these liens date back to the early '90's. It sounds like something that could happen to a business in the normal course of things. It doesn't sound like a deliberate effort to evade taxes. Also, it's her husband's business, not hers.

Trapper John at Daily Kos thinks this is no big deal, and Republican efforts to make it so "ought to be mocked." I wouldn't go that far. I think this should be taken seriously. If Obama decides that she should stay, and I think he should, he should also explain exactly why, and what is different about her case, as opposed to Daschle's. We can't expect every public servant to have a perfectly unblemished record. There has to be room for forgiveness. I think some is in order here. Tim Geithner and Tom Daschle were members of the elite who made egregiously stupid errors that they really should not have made, and from which they clearly benefited financially (at least until they got caught). Their mistakes gave the impression that the elites were being treated differently.

Solis' husband's problems are more of the down-to-earth, could-happen-to-anybody variety. The total value of his business is apparently between $50,000 and $100,000. That's a small business. This sounds like a paperwork snafu, rather than elitists gaming the system. Solis should be confirmed as Secretary of Labor.

No comments: