First point. It is not "their" money. The money, whether you like it or not, belongs to the people to whom they were paid. Those bonuses were paid pursuant to a valid contract and are not the rightful and legal property of the payees. Let's us also remember that the amount paid in those bonuses was less than one-tenth of one percent of the bailout money received by AIG. Remember, though ... politicians believe that ever penny you earn actually belongs to the government. In the official language of Washington any money from your paycheck that these political hacks allow you to keep is a "tax expenditure." You earned it ... but if you're allowed to keep it they treat it as a government expenditure. To the Democrat mind, and in the mind of all too many Republicans, all wealth is owned by government. Produced by the people, but owned by government.
Second point. This is absolutely unconstitutional. Con su permisio I'll explain.
So the House succeeded in passing a 90% tax on bonuses given to employees of AIG and any company receiving at least $5 billion in bailout money. But only with those evil rich employees whose family income is above $250,000 a year will have to pay this 90% tax.
You just cannot like what you're seeing here. These politicians are targeting specific individuals out there who have received some money that the politicians, for political purposes, just do not want them to have. So they pass a law allowing the government to seize that money. Can you imagine where this goes from here? How about Ann Coulter? She delights in writing books that just irritate the ever-luvin' puddin' out of Democrats and liberals. Let's say that one of Nancy Pelosi's flying monkeys reports to the Princess that Coulter made $1.5 million from her last book. This money was legally paid to Coulter pursuant to a contract. Sound familiar? But Pelosi feels that Coulter has made this money by promoting divisiveness in the population, so she decides that punishment is in order. She then has her minions pass a bill establishing a 90% tax on the royalties from all books and writings that promote political dissention and defame public servants in the Congress of the United States. Come on now, you tell me the big huge difference between a confiscatory tax on legally earned bonuses and one on legally received book royalties.
This is going nowhere folks. It will never make it through the Senate. If the members of the House had any appreciation at all for the Constitution it wouldn't have gone this far. And why, pray tell, would that be? That would be because of one pesky little clause found in our (once) supreme law of the land.
Article 1, Section 9, Clause 5 - United States Constitution
"No bill of Attainder or ex post facto law shall be passed."
Do you know what that means? The key is the word "attainder." Let's go to Websters: It's a 15th century word meaning "extinction of the civil rights and capacities of a person upon sentence of death or outlawry usually after a conviction of treason." A definition, this one from the Catholic Encyclopedia, describes "bill of attainder" thusly: "A bill of attainder may be defined to be an Act of Parliament for putting a man to death or for otherwise punishing him without trial in the usual form. Thus by a legislative act a man is put in the same position as if he had been convicted after a regular trial."
Well, in this case the Congress isn't trying to put anyone to death ... they're just trying to steal some money. They are trying to deprive some individuals of property that is rightfully and lawfully theirs without accusing them of a crime and without the benefit of any trial ... except, that is, for this trial that has been taking place in the media for the last week. Well, there's that pesky little Constitution again. A man cannot be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process, and in our country due process means a trial before a jury of one's peers. Barney Frank et al are trying to take these people's money through legislative action without a trial. I would truly hope there isn't a federal judge in this country that wouldn't smack this idiocy down at the earliest opportunity.
This isn't about whether or not those people deserved those bonuses. Perhaps they don't. But the bonuses were paid pursuant to a legally enforceable contract. A contract BTW that was seen approved and dated by Tim Gietner and Chris Dodd. So where should the outrage be? Can you rationalize focusing your anger on Ed Liddy. This (Liddy) is a guy in the job for six months who wanted to serve his country and is being paid $1.00 per year to unwind a financial disaster not of his making and must take take grief from the flying monkeys in congress?
The property belongs to the employee. Now we have politicians who are trying to take it away just because they're unhappy and embarrassed because they didn't take care of this little problem before the bailout money was paid.They sat there yessterday and preened and bitched and beat their collective breast while demonstrating their total lack of any understanding of contract law of AIG's business model. They are idiots!
On to the Senate. Let's hope someone over there has read the Constitution.