Of course we all know by now that Senator John Kerry (D. Ma.) moored his new gabillion dollar yacht (built in New Zealand) in Rhode Island so that he wouldn’t have to pay sales and use taxes of over $500,000 to the state of Massachusetts. But, here is what you may not remember.
While running for president in 2004, Kerry frequently used the term “Benedict Arnold’’ to describe CEOs who move their companies’ operations out of the country to avoid paying US taxes…[And] as a senator, Kerry has admirably attacked those who seek out tax havens. In 2007 and 2008, he introduced legislation aimed at American defense contractors and hedge fund managers operating overseas to avoid the US tax code.
After doing the tea berry shuffle for a few days, Senator Kerry finally told us that this was all a giant “misunderstanding”, and, he always intended to pay the taxes to Massachusetts. And, by now, after all of the public scrutiny, he has told us he has paid those taxes.
Two things strike me about this. Over the past 18 months we have learned that several prominent politicians (See: Timothy Geithner, Charlie Rangel, and Tom Daschle, among others) seem to have difficulty actually paying their taxes, while, at the same time, demanding that the rest of us “step up to the plate and pay our fair share”.
And, second, those same folks seem to think that they don’t have to pay taxes unless, or until, they are caught.