The EU

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

AIG Bonus Tax Vote

I admit to be all over the place on the bonuses to AIG Executives.  The company is costing us taxpayers Hundreds of Billions of dollars.  On the other hand, CEO for $1 pa Edward Liddy tells us that they have recovered a Trillion dollars of the bad assets.
... thus far, the company's financial derivatives had been reduced from $2.7 trillion to $1.6 trillion.
I do recognize, however, the outrage on the part of the American People.  I feel some of it mayself, as does my wife.  I also recognize that when there is outrage there needs to be leadership.

The US House of Representatives have passed a bill to take back the bonuses in the form of a tax. It is titled "To impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain TARP recipients."  There is a lot not to like about this bill. There is a need for lots of leadership.  I don't feel that leadership knowing that Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, is in charge.  The Gentleman from NY has his own tax problems.  And, having Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank demanding that CEO Liddy "name names" doesn't make me feel good either.

Here RTO Trainer, at Protein Wisdom Pub, makes a couple of points. (Hat Tip to Instapundit.)  I am not a lawyer, but expect that if this is in left field some lawyer will send me an EMail or Comment. But, for the time being, this give me pause.  Note the reference to Pastor Martin Niemöller's poem in the blog post title.
"They Came for the AIG Bonuses, but I was not an AIG Employee…"

Forget for a moment that the legislation to tax back the bonuses from AIG is a Bill of Attainder.

Forget that Bills of Attainder are prohibited by the Constitution.  That part is of course easy to forget ... Congress gave up on it long ago.

Forget that its also unconstitutional as an illegal taking and a violation of due process.  But there I go harping on that irrelevant old document again.

If this passes, its death knell.  If Congress suddenly discovers that it can take away money that they decide that someone doesn’t deserve, if we let them get away with that, there’ll be no stopping them.

All that will be necessary is to gin up the necessary “outrage” that someone got more than they should have.

Even if you agree that the AIG folks don’t deserve the money, this is not the way to handle it.
Here is the link to who voted for and who voted against HR 1586. Amongst those voting no were Franks--of Arizona.  Sadly, our own Representative, Niki Tsongas voted in favor.

I hope the US Senate, and our two Senators in particular, vote this bill down and send the problem back to the Lower House for them to try another tact.

Regards  --  Cliff

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