Weighing in on AIG

Yesterday the House of Representatives voted to retroactively tax anyone who has received a bonus who is employed by any firm that has received a bailout. The public is outraged at staff members receiving millions in retention bonuses for running AIG into the ground. The bill which is on its way for senate consideration calls for a 90% tax on these bonuses.

So should we tax them like this? Is this the place to vent our economic frustrations? I believe that this is not the right issue to spend this kind of time or energy on. I don’t care how much they got in bonuses, I want those experts who got the retention bonuses along with the Congress, the Obama Administration and the live beyond your means on endless credit American middle class to fix the economy!

Secondly, this is the wrong way to deal with this issue. The bill did not face a single committee meeting, it right to the house floor. Where was the contemplation of what is right or just today; it was no where to be found! Instead we had law makers playing to their bases, maneuvering to get the best jump on fundraising, making sure that they had a sound bit for the upcoming election in 2010. Like I’ve said before, stop playing politics and fix the economy! NOW!!!

Additionally this is what is called a bill of attainder which is a law that targets a specific group for punishment. This kind of a law is barred by the Constitution. I agree California republican, Dan Lundgard that, “if we overturn the constitution to show our outrage no single American is safe because in the future what we will do is say is we have a precedent, that when we have an unpopular group, that when we have group that deserves some punishment we won’t go through the real laws, what we will do is pass a new tax law with confiscatory rates and we will say we have done it for the American people.”

The bottom line is that we need to keep these people who are trained to do economics in their jobs and that providing them what is contractually due them, even if the U.S. Government is an 80% stakeholder, the best way to keep them from jumping ship. The last thing AIG or any of the other bail out firms need right now is to try and hire new staff.

Lastly, shame on the the House of Representatives for wasting the same tax payer dollars on the lights, paper copies of the bill considered, the security staff for the Capitol, etc, so that the could consider saving a few million dollars. The same legislative body has handed out billions!!! Fix the economy already! Stop trying to find someone to blame and punish, the economic problems that face the U.S. and the world are pervasive, complex and systemic in nature. There is no one person to blame. However, what we can do is look in the mirror collectively as a culture that runs on greed and credit take responsibility for our reckless expenditure well beyond our means. I would like to point out that in 2007 the total U.S. GDP was matched by the total amount of debt in America, so if you totaled up all of what we all owe it was the same s as the total U.S. GDP, the only other time this has happened in modern history was in 1929. Think about this. It is our fault as much as the boys at AIG. Let us not pervert justice by forgetting principles our government are founded on in a moment of anger, instead let us call all parties to account, repent of our cultural and personal love of money and move on.

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