Your Money and Attention to Detail
How does it feel to know more about our tax laws than the Secretary of the Treasury – you know, the guy who is in charge of the Internal Revenue Service?
It does not give me a good feeling at all, but not for the reasons that you might think.
Let’s assume that these appointees are not tax cheats and that, according to their defenders, are persons of the “highest integrity.” I’m still not satisfied.
Think smaller scale for a moment. If your banker did not know how to calculate interest on your savings, or how to timely process your deposits and checks – how long would that person be your banker?
If your accountant could not prepare an accurate balance sheet, cash flow statement, or tax return, would you hire that accountant again? I don’t think so.
These are basic money skills – appropriate to the position – that must be consistently understood and applied.
Is it too much to expect the same attention to detail on a much larger scale, as in the financial operations of our federal government?
Geithner – now in charge of the entire Department of the Treasury? Daschle – named to be in charge of an enormous HHS budget?
Keep in mind that the lack of attention to detail by these folks was with their own money. You would think that they would be highly motivated to focus on their own money circumstances. So what can we expect when they should be thinking of our money?
Think about job postings you have seen. Almost without exception, the person doing the hiring demands “attention to detail” as an applicant characteristic. We should expect no less from those in government who are managing our money. It should not matter that they are politicians or that they are appointed by politicians.
My advice to Obama and his hiring team is to put “attention to detail” high up on his list of job requirements. If they don’t have it, move on.
Maybe that nerdy accountant from the movie “Dave” is available.
Photo credit: David Duncan