Thursday, October 8, 2009

Score one for the NY Times

A useful adage to keep up employee moral is, "catch 'em doing something good." Gail Collins writes in the New York Times today that Charlie Rangel should step down as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee because he has problems paying his taxes. She states:
Whenever a powerful committee chairman has so many problems that you need a timeline to keep all the allegations straight, he is a liability. When those problems revolve around things like failure to pay taxes, it is not a good plan to have him be in charge of tax policy.

Despite my great stake in keeping Rangel in his current post of power, I’m not prepared to argue that you can have a chairman of the tax-writing committee who failed to declare $75,000 in rental income on a Caribbean villa on his tax returns. Or one who seems to think you can turn yourself into a resident of two different cities if it gets you cheaper housing — and that the House only requires its members to list their financial assets beginning with the letters F through M.

But this is a test of whether the Democrats will follow through when it’s really, really hard.

There are tons of people in Congress who have huge egos and an impatience with the minor irritations of life. If the Democrats made Rangel step down, it would be a reminder that holding public office means you have to be more conservative about drawing the line between proper and improper behavior than your humblest constituent.
Kudos, Ms. Collins.


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