Saturday, July 18, 2009

Hank Paulson's Congressional Show Trial

I happened to see several minutes of Hank Paulson's Congressional show trial of last week. Specifically, I heard a Representative, from which party I honestly don't know, lambaste Paulson for having enjoyed a statutorily provided tax deferment on profits earned from premature sale of assets upon being confirmed Treasury Secretary.

Sounding like a mad dog with no common sense whatsoever, this thin, older-looking male Representative repetitively demanded to know how much in taxes Paulson had avoided paying due this provision.

This particular line of 'questioning' was quite far afield from the stated reason Paulson was appearing before the Committee, i.e., to determine whether he and/or Ben Bernanke used undue coercion on BofA CEO Ken Lewis to force him to complete the Merrill Lynch acquisition.

If we are to attract candidates of merit and suitable qualifications and accomplishments to cabinet-level offices, we can't have Congressional members behaving like Grand Inquisitors. Specifically, twisting legitimate actions of government servants to appear as something else- in this case, tax evasion by the rich.

We're all going to be much poorer, economically and otherwise, if our Congress continues to attempt to criminalize every aspect of any administration's behavior with which it disagrees.

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