Today was a day of extreme bad behavior by our Congressional leaders, at least in the view of this humble citizen. As the New York Times reports:
Despite questions about the legality of the retroactive 90 percent levy, Democrats and some Republicans said the tax on bonuses for traders, executives and bankers earning more than $250,000 was the quickest way to show angry Americans that Congress intended to recoup the extra dollars. Even backers of the measure noted it was an extraordinary step.
In their anger to punish AIG, the House action, if echoed by the Senate and passed into law by our President, would affect hundreds of thousands of Americans across the country in an extraordinarily negative manner. As the article continues to explain:
According to a tally by The New York Times of bailout recipients, employees at 11 institutions — including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase — would face restrictions immediately.
current version of the Senate bill would apply to an even wider array
of companies. It would tax bonuses at companies that received as little
as $100 million in federal bailout assistance, though at a lower rate. "
Worse still, is that in it's quest for vindictive revenge, Congress could utterly undermine the very rescue effort of the national economy it's committed trillions of taxpayer dollars to already:
Yet another awful reality that's emerging about all this is that ours leaders, including the President, may not have all the facts in their quest for retribution.
As the Washington Post points out in an article that's a must-read, the real culprits of the AIG mess are long gone. The people that are being nationally targeted and torn apart, not to mention physically threatened in some cases, are the folks that our government asked to stay on to undo the mess for the ultimate benefit of the tax-payer.
We all need to take a deep breath on this AIG and "Bonusgate" issue. In our anger and need to lash out at somebody, we may be giving our leaders and the media the opportunity to take us to places that we may very well regret going to in the very near future.