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Artificial Outrage

Talk about the law of unintended consequences.

Chuck Schumer, Harry Reid and Barney Frank are outraged over the $165 million in bonuses paid to the executives at AIG.  They and other in Congress are pushing for new legislation that will single-out the AIG execs to get the money back.

According to some, that’s a bad idea:

Not only would Congress be retroactively meddling with contractual agreements, they say, but it would be passing laws that would essentially target a specific group of employees.

Jonathan Turley, George Washington University law professor, said targeting those employees through taxes would invite a valid court challenge.

“It could well trigger years of litigation,” he said. “Just because a company or individual is unpopular does not mean the government can retroactively impose punitive measures against them. … There’s a host of difficult contractual and constitutional and statutory barriers that would have to be overcome by Congress.”

Two of those difficulties, lawyers say, lie in Article I of the U.S. Constitution — a section stating Congress cannot pass any “Bill of Attainder” or “ex post facto” law.

A Bill of Attainder is an act of the legislature that singles out and punishes a group or individual without trial. An ex post facto law retroactively changes the legal consequences of an act.

I’m just as upset as anyone else that taxpayer money is being used to pay these bonuses.  I’m angry that I pay so much in taxes (so much that I have trouble paying off my debts), yet my tax dollars are lining the pockets of executives at a company that should have gone bankrupt.

Unlike others, I direct my anger at those who are responsible: Every member of Congress , who decided to meddle in the free market instead of allowing existing bankruptcy laws to take over.  Bankruptcy law that would have allowed a judge to cancel these bonus contracts, by the way.

If Barney Frankie, Chucky Schumer, Prince Harry and all the rest of them couldn’t forsee this outcome, they have no business being in Washington.  After all, AIG had contractual obligations, in the form of compensation.  If AIG hadn’t paid out these bonuses, the company could have been subject to litigation from the jilted executives.

As Neal Boortz pointed out in his talking points today, since AIG is based in Connecticut, these executives could have sued the company for double their promised compensation, or $330 million instead of just $165 million, plus their legal fees.

So instead of a bankruptcy judge cancelling these compensation plans, $165 million in taxpayer dollars are being pocketed by executives at a failed corporation.

And I think it was planned.

Oh, of course I have no proof, but let’s paint by numbers:

  1. Congress pushes emergency legislation through to “save” a corporate giant that is “too big to fail” by giving it billions of dollars in taxpayeryours and my money.
  2. Said legislation prevents the corporate giant from declaring bankruptcy and voiding its compensation contracts, something of which the people in Congress should be well aware, since many of them have helped craft current bankruptcy regulations.
  3. Americans are outraged when they learn of the “excesses” of the corporate giant, even though this type of behavior is common among most corporations and represents a tiny fraction of the company’s expenditures.
  4. Congress and the new President push through another $30 billion bailout package for said corporate giant.
  5. Now that they have no leverage against the corporation and its executives, Congress and the President are suddenly aware of and “outraged” about the compensation contracts.
  6. Feigning outrage and arguing that it’s the taxpayer’s money, Schumer, Frank, Reid, Obama, et al start pushing for legislation that will return the money to its rightful owners, the taxpayersWashington.
  7. Selling this populist idea to the people and knowing that Republicans will be just as upset about executives at a failed corporation being paid taxpayer money, Congress and the President push through legislation that will tax the bonuses at excessive rates.
  8. Knowing that the legislation will take years to litigate in the Federal Court System and hoping to pack the judiciary with “progressive” judges (who will ignore the rule of law in favor of populist ideals), they expect to set precedents where ex post facto legislation will be accepted in tax law, and excessive taxation aimed at a particular group will not be seen as a bill of attainder.
  9. Congress now gains the right, by extension, to set things like “maximum wages,” “windfall-profits” taxes, and other legislation that harm the free market and ignore property rights in favor socialism.
  10. America starts the steady march into communism and serfdom.

Can you see the future?  I can.  I see an America where we all live by the government’s leave.

No.  Thank.  You.

Actually, I’m probably wrong.  I’m arguing that Chucky Schumer, Barney Frankie, Prince Harry and PrezBO are actually capable of such foresight, collaboration and the ability to conspire.  I’m not convinced they’re even self aware, let alone intelligent.

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