20 March 2009

AIG and other madness

First let me say, I am enjoying my fill of all day basketball. This is my favorite time of year. I just wish some of the underdogs would have pulled off the upsets, that's always the best part of the tourney (looks like I wrote this too soon! Thanks to Cleveland State and Siena!). If you are looking for some good ball on Monday, be sure to check out Davidson vs. St. Mary's. Two of the nation's best point guards (Steph Curry and Patty Mills).

On to more "important" issues.

AIG and it's corporate overlords have soaked the American taxpayer for vast amounts of money. Then we find out that they are giving/have given millions of dollars in bonuses to the same dumbasses that had got them into the position in the first place, including several that had left the company. I want that job please...oh wait, any one that makes under $250,000 a year couldn't possibly do that job. So obviously, they have to pay them an assload of money to keep them around.

In response, the peasants have been threatening pitchfork complete protests, there are tours of AIG executives homes, and the House has passed a bill that would tax the bonus amounts of companies receiving bailout funds at 90% on amounts higher than $25,000. Now, I'm all for punishing these guys, in fact I feel like the general tax rates on people making a lot of money should be higher than they are (with no loopholes). However, I question the Constitutionality of this bill. In some respects, I wonder if House members realized that this wouldn't pass Constitutional muster, but got the benefit of a feel good vote to show their constituents. Bills of attainder are prohibited under our Constitution and I really don't know how this wouldn't fall into that category. Frog-march these guys out, hold a trial and take their money, I'm okay with that, but the idea of writing a tax law with the specific purpose of taking money from a specific group scares me, no matter how much they deserve it. Obviously, the best answer would have been to write it into the contracts that I'm assuming they had to sign in order to take the money, but of course that wasn't done. Seems like maybe we need to get some contract lawyers in Congress and in the Treasury. I am happy that this Wall St. debacle has caused some talk about the out of control nature of CEO compensation and the unbelievable discrepancy between CEO pay and average worker pay. These are very important issues. When you have companies that will give CEOs and other executive-types bonuses but are laying off workers...that is a severe problem and should be addressed.

Gordon Gecko was wrong, Greed is not good.

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