Witch Hunts As Diversionary Tactics

Question: Who passed the bailout legislation?

Answer: Congress.

Question: Who specifically exempted the bonuses paid to AIG employees and allowed them to be paid?

Answer: Congress.

Question: Who signed that bill into law?

Answer: Barack Obama.

Question: So who is to blame for all this?

Answer, (according to Congress): Private individuals with signed contracts completely legal under the law passed by Congress and signed by Barack Obama.

Spurred on by a tidal wave of public anger over bonuses paid to executives of the foundering American International Group, the House voted 328 to 93 on Thursday to get back most of the money by levying a 90 percent tax on it.

The measure easily surpassed a procedural hurdle requiring a two-thirds majority vote, thanks to considerable Republican support. The Senate will consider a roughly similar measure, perhaps next week. If something is approved in that chamber the House and Senate versions would have to be reconciled, so prospects for final passage of a bill are unclear.

But there was no doubt after the House vote that the lawmakers were keenly aware of their constituents’ anger, which was focused on A.I.G., although the House measure would apply to executives of any company getting more than $5 billion in federal bailout money.

 Understand what is going on here. Congress is busily deflecting blame for a situation they created. I hate the AIG bonuses, but I am not in favor of Congress deflecting blame from themselves by enacting confiscatory taxes on people. If they get away with this, who will be next? Who will be punished next by Congress for something Congress did?

 You may be mad as hell about AIG but think this through carefully. Do you really want the heads of the traders at AIG on a plate, or do you want the people who caused this train wreck held accountable?

I vote for the latter. Congress. Obama. They did this, not the people who collected contractually-bound money.

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3 Responses to Witch Hunts As Diversionary Tactics

  1. I’m just wondering how this ex post facto law taxing the h*ll out of the AIG bonuses can be Constitutional.

    Don’t misunderstand me, I think the bonuses are disgusting, but, a contract is a contract is the law.

  2. Gaius says:

    Yeah, I think this might not pass constitutional muster on several points. But Congress is scrambling to point the finger at anyone but those who are actually responsible. Obama is, too. (see newest post).

    I was disgusted by the payouts to Wall Street types long before this crisis hit. But they signed contracts whether I liked them or not. I see what the pols are doing here – and that bothers me a lot more than the bonus payouts.

  3. feeblemind says:

    I fear for us all if the 90% tax weapon becomes a precedent. Why not tax coal fired utilities at 90%? Or registered Republicans? Or Big Tobacco? Or CEOs? There is no end to the damage that can be done.

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