The AIG Punitive Tax is revolting

I’m floored that so many Republicans in the house voted for a 90% tax on bonuses paid out by companies who took bailouts.  Where are our principles?  We know the other side has no principles but why do we join them in such a low place?

Look, a 90% tax is a 90% tax.  We don’t know the terms and conditions of the bonuses.  We don’t know the purpose of the contracts, or what AIG receives in return for such largess.  Frankly, we shouldn’t be concerning ourselves with what a private firm and its employees consent to, no more than we interfere with what consenting adults do.  Populism and petty outrage are no excuses to throw principles out of the boat, especially when the anger is largely directed at the wrong things and the wrong people.

This situation has been clearly created by the government, not private institutions.  The government chose to tinker with the free market in the form of easy money for sub-prime borrowers, which added the gasoline to the fire.  Government chose to not let these idiot firms fail.  And now government leaders gets riled up over the consequences their actions generated because they chose – say it with me – to ABANDON THEIR PRINCIPLES IN THE FIRST PLACE!  Government should have no role in bailing out firms that fail or in driving social goals through financial games.

And the other aspect that simply a$$es me up is the sense that somehow a bailout dollar flows from the government into the cost center that funds the outrage <i>du jour.</i>  This is simply getting ridiculous.  These costs existed before the outlay of cash.  Why aren’t we outraged at the outlay of cash for government spending?  We KNOW those dollars come from us, whereas the AIG dollars consist of their operating cash, the money they raise from capital markets, assets, and lots of other things.  Frankly, AIG could sell a unit or some assets and say THOSE dollars went to bonuses.  However, Nancy Pelosi STILL have Air Force jets, 100% taxpayer funded (and probably more expensive than the private equivalent), standing by awaiting her beck and call to fly her to whatever planet she came from.

But the conversation itself is ridiculous.

The Republican Party is abandoning its principles.  Worse yet, I don’t think elected Republicans on the whole even KNOW what their principles are!  I really don’t!  I think they <i>think</i> they know their principles, but I suspect most of them are on Ronald Reagan autopilot.  Instead of asking “What Would Reagan Do” they should be asking “What is the Right Thing to Do?”

A little less outrage, and a little more thought, please.