Taxes. It is one of the most obvious responsibilities of life. Since my first job, I knew this to be true. National lawmakers especially should realize this. There is a standard of ethics that we should hold our legislators to. That without a doubt is understood. With so many lives, futures and agendas within their hands, there is an incredible requirement of stature, accountability wise.
Aside from this high level, there is an obvious belief that lawmakers are human enough to know certain responsibilities. Topping the list is paying taxes. Especially when, say, you are the chairman of the committee that creates the laws involving taxes.
The chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, which is just such a committee, “failed” to file taxes.
And his punishment? He takes leave.
Senator Charlie Rangel allegedly did not pay taxes for his use of rent-controlled apartments in Harlem for political purposes. No full retribution has occurred other than a supposedly forced “leave of absence.”
Don’t get me wrong; Rangel’s replacement, Representative Pete Stark, is really no better. How anti-American can you be when you state a sitting President is sending soldiers to Iraq, “to get their heads blown off for the president’s amusement” or calling a fellow legislator a “fruitcake”?
Considering the current economic forecast, we desperately need someone respectful at the helm of this committee. However, I have to say, looking through this party, such a person is very hard to find. It is alarming to hear horrid comments come out of a party that pledges bipartisanship, especially recently, showing how they hold their own party in such low regard.
Returning to Rangel, I believe the Democrats should ask their Senatorial Leader to resign. How responsible can he be when he forgets one of the greatest responsibilities of an American, let alone a legislator.
A leave of absence shows the weakness as well as the lack of respect that this party has within itself. It will be interesting to see, in 2010, if voters care about how this “Majority” has a minority of respect for the nation.