Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Instant Gratification

Recently I wrote an article in which I suggested that, if we had any idea as to where we'd be and what we'd be doing in the future, it would inform the choices and decisions we make today. I don't know about you, but sadly, as a pastor I've had the unfortunate 'task' of having to look back at decisions I made that I wish I could take back. Sometimes I listen to old sermons and cringe at what I said and wonder how it must have sounded to those hearing it at the time. I'm convinced that the more in the public eye you are, the more you must carefully guard what you say and what you do, because your words and your life are quotable.

Enter embattled Governor Bill Richardson, Nancy Killefer, Tom Daschle and Timothy Geithner. Richardson was tabbed as Obama's initial selection for commerce secretary, but withdrew his nomination amid a grand jury investigation into a state contract awarded to his political donors. The other three were all 'investigated' for tax evasion. Killefer, an executive with the consulting firm of McKinsey & Co., was nominated to fill the new White House post of Chief Performance Officer, which ironically, would have entailed working to increase efficiencies and eliminate waste in govt. Tom Daschle was Obama's pick for Secretary for Health and Human Services. Sadly, it was ascertained that Geithner, Killefer, and Daschle did evade paying taxes, Daschle to the tune of $128,203.00. (Daschle later paid the back taxes plus $11,964.00 in interest). What? If that isn't sheer greed, I don't know what is. Evidently it only occurred to him to do the right thing and pay his taxes only when he realized it would jeopardize his political future and the publics trust in him! And Killefer? For a paltry $964.69, being taxes for a household employee, she lost the chance to serve in a role that would have made her one of the most powerful people in the Obama White House.

Fortunately for Geithner, despite personal tax lapses that turned more than a third of the Senate against him, he was sworn in as Treasury Secretary in January. So we now have as our Treasury Secretary a man who has a questionable ethic where finances are concerned. The sad and bitter truth is, we all tend to have 'skeletons' in our closets, which may well come back to haunt us when we least expect it. All too often, the gratification of the moment supercedes the fear of potential repercautions, and we gratuitously bask in the apparent pleasure of the moment, until we become the next days headline story. If you don't believe me, ask... I've said my piece!