Friday, March 20, 2009
The Bonus Brouhaha
Okay. So, if you've been paying attention, you are aware that AIG needed yet another infusion of cash at taxpayer expense. You are no doubt also aware that it recently came to light that a bunch of AIG execs were in for some huge bonuses.

Now the public and lawmakers are all up in arms about the waste of taxpayer money.



Folks, your outrage is too little, too late.

You should have been outraged with the bailouts themselves. Or the spending bill that is masquerading as "stimulus." Or the fact that Obama's big savings plan was making wounded vets pay for their own recovery.

Bitching and Moaning at this late data about contractually mandated bonuses is like calling the fire department after the house has burned down. If you wanted to stop the bonuses, we should have let the firm fail. Or, stopped with just one or two handouts. Or, put requirements on that cash.

But passing this bill in the house which taxes those bonuses 90% is just wrong, flat wrong, in a multitude of ways.

For one thing, a 90% tax is overwhelmingly burdensome and un-American. For another, this bill is an ex post facto bill. This means that the law is coming after the arrangement. Simply put, this is Congress making something you did yesterday illegal and going after you for it. It wasn't illegal when you did it, but it is now. Anybody else see a problem with this?

I mean, besides the fact that Congress is explicitly prohibited from doing just this by The Constitution? Anybody else concerned that the bill is also pretty damn close to the definition of Bill of Attainder, another Constitutional no-no for targeting a single group too specifically?

Look, a 90% tax is wrong. Ex post facto laws are wrong. Bills of Attainder are wrong.

Perhaps next time, we actually read the bill before we pass it? Perhaps next time we don't rush through a 1,100 page "emergency" bill that nobody has read and then go on a four-day weekend.

The Democrats are responsible for this collosal failure. They hadta hadta hadta do something. As though doing something, anything now was to be preferred over doing the right thing later after due deliberation.

But no, good God no! Let's beat our heads against the wall. If we work up a sweat doing it, maybe the rubes will believe we're doing the right thing.

Look, I don't know everything. At least I can admit it. Those esteemed leaders in the Whitehouse, The House, and The Senate need to learn something that I learned a long time ago:

If someone asks you a question or asks you to do something and you don't have the answer or don't know how to accomplish the task, it is better to admit that you don't have an immediate solution/answer, but assure them that you are going to spend the time to get the right solution. Because rushing in with an anwer/solution that hasn't been fully considered or researched ends up making you look incompetent, and rightly so.

If you are in with your doctor, showing him a bump on your arm, which of the following would you prefer:

a. He quickly announces you have Anthrax and runs from the room screaming


b. says he isn't sure but that he'd like to run a few tests since he's never seen this before

More importantly, which is the more professional response that is likely to have a calming effect on the patient? Which approach is likely to gain you credibility?

Why are the Democrats in Congress (and some of the Republicans) and our esteemed Teleprompter-in-Chief taking approach A?

Are they really this stupid?

Oh dear. Asked and answered.
posted by Phoenix | 10:04 AM


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