Thursday, March 19, 2009

The fierce urgency of rounding errors...

Charles Krauthammer is great. He is the columnist that wrote the editorial that made me decide to revision my blog. I wanted to write a blog about Congress's reaction to AIG but couldn't think of a title. I can't write a blog entry until I've come up with a title. It's part of my very linear thinking. It's related to a mild psychological decision I have. I can't remember the name, but it has 'retentive' in it. Fortunately, Krauthammer wrote a column that finally gave me my title.

So that I can make my point without a lot of static, let me set aside a couple of simple arguments...

1. AIG was stupid to pay bonuses, contractual or not, legal or not. Bonuses should be paid for excellent performace. AIG doesn't qualify.
2. The people who received the bonuses should have politely declined them.

Now, to my point...

I think AIG and the bonus receivers should hire lawyers to fight Congress's clever idea to tax the bonuses at a rate of 90%. Now we have gone far past the foolishness of AIG and its executives. We are entering dangerous territory. Here's why it's dangerous.

This tax is punitive. It is designed to punish the recipients. It is dangerously close to a bill of attainder except that Congress is not declaring that the bonus recipients have committed a crime. Surely Congress will get around to it soon. Making a person criminally liable to a law prior to the law's passage is called an ex post facto law. Both of these are forbidden by the Constitution [Article I, section 9, clause 3]. Congress doesn't give a flying crap about the Constitution. I've already proven that.

I want AIG to fight this legislation. I want them to win. I do not want this to become common practice. What if Congress decides they don't like people who don't like politicians and decide to tax the hell out of them? What if Congress decides it doesn't like bloggers? What if Congress decides it doesn't like something you do? Are you ready to be taxed at a 90% rate because you like butterscotch cookies, or walks in the park, or building scale model airplanes, or shopping on QVC, or whatever the hell it is that you're into?

If you're nervous, good. You should be.

If you're not nervous about this, you are an unthinking, somnambulant, danger to democracy. Your good and perfect, can never do any wrong, really loves and cares about us like a caring deity, is sodomizing you. I'm going to keep banging your thick skull against the hardest wall I can find until you figure out that politicians are not working in your best interest. Need I be more clear?

One last thing...Let us not forget that our government is bandying about numbers in the trillions (that's a number followed by 12 zeroes) and they have focused our attention on $165 million. That a 165 followed by 1/2 as many zeroes. If you really think this is the most important thing going on, then the government wins and you've been duped. For many of you, I'm not surprised.

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1 comment:

Liz said...

My sentiments exactly. I pondered the very same things. I am afraid for the same reasons that you stated. That is one way to kept us in submission and suppression.
They can't waterboard us. Therefore, "Get 'em where it hurts the most." The wallet.