Making it up as we go along

The shell game continues.  While our president continues on the campaign trail last night on Jay Leno (someone should really tell him that he won.  Or is he starting already for the 2012 election?), the house got themselves busy enacting the highest tax rate on the smallest group of people known to man.  The story goes that the bonus tax bill was the only justifiable response to the outrage the American people expressed at the bonuses given to AIG executives after the company has received so much bailout money.  There are a few things I don’t understand about that story.
First, there was equal (if not greater) outrage when the various pork and debt laden spending bills were up for a vote.  Where were the sympathetic ears then?  Where was the mandate to not put our grandchildren in debt up to their eyeballs?
Second, we didn’t really bail out AIG.  We bought them.  We own 80% of the stock and when you buy stock and take an ownership position you get all of the good along with the bad.  You get obligations that you might not want to pay, but they’re still obligations.  You also get the upside – one day if AIG is able to make a go of it then we can sell that stock and get our money back.  Maybe even with a nice little return.  It may help to have the people around that were on retention to make that go of it and turn that profit.  That’s called capitalism.  But we don’t like to talk about that anymore.  We like handouts, rules and ‘fair play’.
So if the popular story isn’t the real story, what is?  The house reps saying that they are listening to the people is just the same old political game.  They listen when it suits them and ‘do what they have to do’ (i.e. don’t listen) when it doesn’t.  The recasting the buyout as a bailout is something much more insidious.  A buyout comes with responsibility and ownership.  A bailout is ‘free’ money with the strings of undeclared expectations.  And the passing of the bonus tax plan is the worst of all.  It screams ‘we don’t know what we’re doing…we can’ be expected to think of everything!’.  And it sets a dangerous precedent.  What if the next ‘special tax’ gets passed for people who are employed by foregin employers rather than American companies (the keep it at home act of 2009)?  or income earned from non-green industries (the keepin’ it clean act of 2010)?  What’s more, what if they decided to apply the tax retroactively to the year 2000?  That would be one sure way to fill in the social security hole!  While some may raise their glasses in a toast to the fact that ‘we got them AIG guys’, this is one that will come back to bite us, that is if the Supreme Court has also lost its mind and allows it to stand.






2 responses to “Making it up as we go along”

  1. Hilby Avatar

    I agree. A couple more observations. First, I saw some talking head on a Sunday show. (I wish I were paying more attention) actually advise that AIG should just call everyone in and tell them to give back their bonus or they are fired. What’s the word for that? oh yeah…Wrongful Termination. Only someone who has never held a job in the private sector could think that would work.
    2nd, the WSJ reported that with Medicare, FICA, State and Local taxes, the rate on those bonuses is about 102%
    Clowns. Our government is run by clowns.

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