What do you call it when someone makes a career out of lambasting others for not paying "their fair share," then turns around and refuses to pay his own taxes when he becomes wealthy?
The word "hypocrite" comes to mind, but somehow it seems too weak to describe the sort of malevolence we're talking about here. No, I think this level of cognitive dissonance rises to the level of sociopathy, mixed with a morsel of mental retardation -- we are talking about Ron Dullums after all.
So it goes in Oakland, where we have been treated this week to the delicious irony of a "leader" who demonstrates that fiscal incompetence is both a personal as well as a professional trait.
Yes, Dullums and his wife apparently owe $239k in back taxes, and they have refused to pay for so long that the IRS has placed liens against their property.
While there have been a few muted calls for Dullums to resign, I've been surprised by the lack of vigor in the condemnation of this state of affairs. I expect such things from the likes of J Douglas Allen-Taylor -- who at this moment is probably working on an opinion piece for the Daily Planet explaining how Dullums is actually a hero for purposefully not paying his taxes to teach us a lesson about the risks of disobeying the government.
But I was surprised to see the following gem in a column by Chip Johnson, with whom I often agree: "Anyone can make a mistake, and if that's all this is, then no harm, no foul."
Underpaying by $239k a mistake? Sure, I could imagine such a thing for the likes of Bill Gates. But Dullums is not Bill Gates, a fact which is amply demonstrated by his inability to pay the money once the IRS notified him that he owed it.
Judging from Dullums' nouveau-riche demeanor, I'd guess he's spent every penny he's made for some time -- a trait he shares, not surprisingly, with the city he "runs."
Still, such a high tax bill indicates that Dullums earned more than a million dollars during some recent span of his "career." The notion that someone earning so much lacked the common sense or common decency to either buy a copy of TurboTax or hire a competent accountant is just embarrassing. What a pathetic, selfish little fool we have for a mayor.
That's not even mentioning other items from Johnson's piece which, though probably common knowledge, were news to me.
Apparently Dullums received a $60k salary boost from that of our previous mayor. For what? If you ask me, Dullums should return 100% of his salary and beat himself about the face every night for a week on Channel 10 as penance for his treatment of Oakland. Certainly the notion that we pay Dullums more than we paid Jerry Brown is an obvious farce.
Dullums required a driver as well? This one makes more sense, I guess, for a man who obviously would have difficulty reading traffic signs.
Some have suggested that Dullums resign, but such a move would be a mistake. I don't know who would fill his slot, but I have a bad feeling it would be Jane Brunner, which wouldn't be any better. Certainly, a Dullums resignation might provide someone equally bad with the advantage of incumbency.
So I say just let the man finish his term and fade away. Soon enough the 2010 campaign will begin in earnest, and Dullums will no longer be relevant.
I'd like to hear the Leftist defense of the repeated cases of liberal tax dodging that have been in the press in the past year. The most reasonable argument would probably be to say that everyone does it.
In my experience, this seems to be the case. I've found that a person's propensity to avoid taxes has little to do with his location on the political spectrum.
It's not surprising to me that all people would have an equal desire to safeguard their assets against the government. But from the perspective of a liberal, this position is more difficult to defend. Time and again liberals have told me that they support increased taxation because one group or another "needs" the "resources" that they can obtain no other way.
If that is the case, then how can a liberal square tax avoidance with his political beliefs?
In my opinion, the answer is simply that, like most people, liberals place a higher importance on their own well-being than that of society at large. In other words, they are just as "selfish" as the conservatives they assail.
The difference is that liberals take the intellectually dishonest position that they want "everyone else" to pay for the programs that they support. In contrast, conservatives admit to their own selfishness but then strive to treat everyone equally by reducing the burden on all.
And so it is that when you read about Dullums refusing to pay his taxes, what really should come to mind is the old liberal maxim: "When it comes to money, do as I say and not as I do."
Or the old Dullums maxim: "If you're going to use the public resources, you need the public benefit."
Yes you do, Ron. Yes you do. Driver and all.