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