In light of the fact Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner neglected to pay $34,000 of his taxes—yet is about to handle $800 billion or so of ours—we asked you to come up with an excuse that would make him sound not only trustworthy, but noble. Thus many of you suggested: “I was saving my taxes for the stimulus package.” “I was testing the system for loopholes.” “I wanted to show Americans I understand, first hand, how needlessly complex the system is.” “My accountant, Tom Daschle, said I didn’t have to pay.” “Arthur Anderson did my taxes.” “I asked Bernie Madoff to mail them in.” And, of course, “What can I say? Those were the years I was using Turbo Tax.”
I took the liberty of issuing an ‘economic self-stimulus.’ The money that I kept increased the amount I was able to invest, which increased my income, thereby increasing the amount of taxes that I paid in subsequent years. In the long run, the government came out ahead. You’re welcome.
Ricky Cobban, Carpinteria, Ca
I am a conscientious objector and withheld what I calculated to be my share of the bill for Sarah Palin’s wardrobe.
Dave Schaal, Omaha
I needed extra money to practice signing my name on.
Bill Muse, Seattle
I was saving it till the government really, really needed it.
John Ott, Manhattan Beach, CA
I read on Wikipedia something about how the income tax is not legally binding because of the way the 16th amendment was ratified.
Gerard Barry, San Jose, CA
It was part of the interview process. The President needed to be certain I understood how a bailout worked.
Craig Graham, Pasadena
Blagojevich said if I paid him the $34,000 he could get me the Treasury Secretary gig and then I could just let myself off the hook.
Emily Evans, Highland Village, TX
Submissions for “What Next?” are judged by Lenore Skenazy, who also created the contest. She is a syndicated columnist, humorist, contest creator and founder of Free Range Kids. She has created humor contests for Advertising Age and The New York Daily News, and has written for a wide range of publications and been a commentator on CNBC, the Food Network and NPR. She co-authored the book, The Dysfunctional Family Christmas Songbook and the upcoming humor/quiz book, “Who’s the Blonde That Married What’s-Her-Name? The Ultimate Tip-of-the-Tongue Test of All The Things You Know You Know…But Can’t Remember Right Now” (Penguin). Her parenting book, “Free Range Kids: Giving Our Children the Freedom We Had Without Going Nuts With Worry,” is due out in April from Wiley.
You can contact her at Lskenazy@yahoo.com