Like millions of others I've outlined my New Year's resolutions for 2011. No, it's not a stricter exercise program or weight loss goal (although considering our family's moveable feasts of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, that's probably not a bad idea).
No, for the New Year, I've decided not to file my taxes.
Sure, it probably runs counter to my CPA's advice, but in the long run, what's the worst that can happen? A not-so-friendly friendly reminder from the IRS?
Or I could be elected Mayor of New York like David Dinkins was in 1989 despite his forgetting to file for four years. Since the demands of overseeing the Big Apple ultimately proved to be so far over his head and dubious level of competency, it's understandable that the annual IRS exercise would slip his mind.
Better yet, I could be appointed Secretary of the Treasury like Tim Geithner, who, like Dinkins, had similar problems with taxes while employed with the International Monetary Fund.
Now the Treasury Secretary has, like Neo in the Matrix series, acrobatically dodged volleys of criticism virtually since his appointment went to the confirmation process.
If it wasn't for his non-payment of taxes, it was his cozy relationship with AIG during his tenure as president of the New York Federal Reserve.
Speculation abounded from folks with far brighter minds than myself as to whether he would find himself filing for unemployment.
Sure to add to skeptics' claims of Geithner not having what it takes to be a wartime consigliere to the President is a new report from the Congressional Oversight Panel, which spent a year examining why the Home Affordable Modification Program - the $30 billion foreclosure prevention plan hatched by Geithner's Treasury - made nary a dent in the housing crisis and, in fact, caused more problems.
The COP report highlighted a series of blunders and cover-ups by the Treasury that if not so serious, could have served as a backdrop for a Mack Sennett comedy.
In essence, HAMP was designed to help both homeowners and lenders revise existing mortgages so that the monthly payments would be more affordable and therefore reduce the chances of delinquency.
But just $4 billion of the $30 billion has been spent and just 700,000 homeowners are projected to benefit from the failed two-year-old plan.
The COP said that the Treasury failed to collect or analyze any mortgage data - sort of a strange lack of due diligence for an industry you're hoping to help - and incredibly, allowed mortgage servicing concerns to handle certain steps in the HAMP process. Again sort of a strange strategy since mortgage servicers gain greater fees by moving foreclosures AHEAD instead of stopping them. Nor was there any oversight or repercussions when critical paperwork was lost or lenders refused to modify a loan.
Adding to that, Treasury outsourced the responsibility for oversight to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, each of which have strong relationships with servicers, thereby sidestepping even a hint of independence.
Geithner and the Treasury were given until October 3 to revise the troubled program but failed to do so.
Had any of us performed so poorly at our jobs, we would return from lunch to find a human resources representative dropping off boxes and asking for our security card.
If the President is serious about his chances in 2012, one of the things that would probably help would be to summon Geithner to the Oval Office and politely ask for his security card.
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