Like other moralistic Americans, I experienced a certain self-righteous tremor when I heard President Obama denounce those avaricious Wall Street scoundrels who raked in the bonuses as our 401ks tanked (still tanking ... will continue to tank).But I admit to sharing the puzzlement of Peter Canallos in today's Boston Globe when he writes:
Last Thursday brought a bracing reminder of what a breath of fresh air Barack Obama can be. After news reports tallied up $18.4 billion in bonuses paid out to American financial executives last year - one in which Wall Street dragged down the rest of the economic world with its shocking failures - the president didn't mince words."That is the height of irresponsibility. It is shameful," he said. "And part of what we're going to need is for folks on Wall Street who are asking for help to show some restraint, show some discipline, and show some responsibility."But the following day, when news reports came out that Obama's health and human services secretary-designate, Tom Daschle, had initially failed to pay about $140,000 in taxes, mostly on a car and driver provided by a private equity firm, there was no scolding from the commander in chief.
And, mirabile dictu, I even find myself in agreement with the editorial in today's New York Times apropos the Daschle debacle:
Unfortunately, new facts have come to light involving his failure to pay substantial taxes that were owed and his sizable income from health-related companies while he worked in the private sector that call into question his suitability for the job. We believe that Mr. Daschle ought to step aside and let the president choose a less-blemished successor.

Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is a longtime Commonweal contributor.

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