Let me see if I have this correct:Â The administration knew about the AIG bonuses weeks ago and chose to do nothing about it for fear of legal challenges from AIG.Â Legal challenges.Â From a company that the government owns.
In fact, Tim Geithner was so afraid of lawsuits that he made Senator Chris Dodd (who seemingly forgot this) change the language in the stimulus bill so that is specifically allowed for these types of bonuses.
Then when the public goes nuts — and rightfully so — the administration back tracks, saying they’ll do anything within their power to get the money back.
Which leads us to this insanely stupid idea — which the House passed overwhelmingly yesterday — to levy a 91 percent tax against the bonus recipients.
Do we really want the Federal government targeting private individuals to retroactively punish them for something that they weren’t necessarily responsible for? Yes, they received the bonuses, but it was AIG’s board and management — along with a complicit Tim Geithner — that made this happen.
The Constitution specifically prohibits “Bills of Attainders” — basically laws that are intended to punish private citizens for past wrong doings without a trial.Â The Founders feared that legislature could get around jury trials by simply punishing citizens through retroactive legislation.Â In a sense, that’s what’s happening here.Â And it’s plain stupid.
The time to prevent these bonuses were weeks ago … when Geithner knew about it, and hadn’t handed out the latest round of bailout dough.Â Having Congress punish the recipients retroactively is stupid, dangerous, and a waste of time because it’s unconstitutional.