It is all over the headlines about various Democrats in Congress strutting about threatening to take back the AIG Bonus money through passing special taxes. I guess it is no surprise that the media is not raising any red flags on this issue. I have a few points I want to raise here about why this action frightens me.
First and foremost is the fact that I do not even think this is legal. I know the Democrats are really not that into the whole Constitution thing unless it is convenient. In case any do want to give the Constitution a glance they should look under Article 1, Section 9, Clause 3 where it is stated “No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed.” Now I never took Latin in school, but I thought “ex post facto” basically means “after the fact.” These bonuses are from contracts for last year, and were paid out last week. Passing a bill this week or later would seem to me to be “after the fact.” Aren’t our elected officials supposed to uphold the Constitution, not break it when it makes a nice sound bite?
Another issue is having Congress propose a law against such a narrow group purely because they are mad at them. Doesn’t that seem like an abuse of power? Sure the bonuses make lots of us mad. We hate to see people rewarded when it looks like they did the wrong thing. Once Congress starts passing laws to so narrowly punish people that they are mad at, where will it stop? We know the Democrats hate conservative talk radio. Forget the Fairness Doctrine, why not pass a tax or other bill to specifically punish nationally syndicated conservative talk radio hosts? Since we are also punishing things that already happened, why take this another step? Senator Schumer, remember that guy who beat you up in grade school? I think we need a “Kicked Schumer’s Butt Personal Income Tax Penalty Bill of 2009.” I feel pretty confident that this kind of abuse of power is what the Founder would have called “Tyranny.”
Last time I checked, one of the driving issues behind the American Revolution was taxation. How do we think our Founders would feel about a 90% to 100% income tax being imposed on people for any reason? I am guess they would not be big fans. Nobody receives representation worth that much in taxes. If Congress is allowed to pass such a bill this time, where will they start looking next?
These are just a few issues that have entered my mind since hearing about this new proposed legislation. I am more than a little concerned that people are not raising concerns of whether this move by the Senate is legal, or moral. People are just hopping onto the mob mentality of punishing the AIG employees. Congress needs to be careful in fueling a mob mentality. Such a torches and pitchforks mentality could turn against them next. Of course, this may be a moot point. Treasury Secretary Geihtner is proposing to deduct the amount from the latest $30 billion that is going to be paid out. If he does that, Congress may back off on their little tax. For the curiousthe amount of the bunuses is 0.55% of this latest cash infusion. I don’t think my calculator will carry the decimal far enough for how much it is in terms of the whole bail out! Why not stop the posturing, and just make sure things like this are not done with future money. Or here is a radical thought, realize these bailouts are a bad idea and stop them totally.