Our economy is falling apart, but rather than take positive action to try and solve the problems that we've basically caused for ourselves, we Americans are demanding that our lawmakers shake their fists and seek retribution. So that's what they've done!
The House has voted overwhelmingly to impose a 90 percent tax on 165 million dollars in bonuses that were received by executives at AIG. Never mind the fact that these bonuses were legally negotiated and agreed upon MONTHS before AIG tanked. Never mind that Congress cleared the way for the bonuses to be handed out before word leaked that they had been given. Never mind the fact that no one in either the Bush or Obama Administrations or in Congress tried to negotiate away these bonuses when they were negotiating with AIG. And never mind the fact that there is a good chance this new law, if it passes, won't hold up in a court of law. Congress is out to get its pound of flesh, and by God, it's going to get it!
Do I condone the fact that these executives are getting their bonuses after basically failing at their jobs? No, of course not! But it's far more important that our lawmakers respect the law of the contract in this country than it is to fall prey to what is essentially an angry mob! All that's missing here are the torches and the rope!
These obnoxious blowhards on Capitol Hill are ranting and raving because they are hearing from constituents who want a piece of flesh - they are reacting out of fear and anger. They are giving voters what they want to hear... and they are trying to give their constituents a small measure of "justice". But this is not justice. It's a power trip.
Congressman Barney Frank is demanding that AIG name names. He wants these executives apraded out in the public square - no doubt so they can be figuratively tarred and feathered. Did anyone see the tar and feather scene in "John Adams"? That's what Congressman Frank is demanding be done here.
Contrary to what cliches you may hear, contracts in America are NOT, in fact, made to be broken. If Congress can do this to the "bad guys", then they can do it to you. What if you have a contract that Congress decides is not in the best interests of America. Will they come after you next?
There are good contracts out there and bad contracts out there. But there hasn't been a contract written yet that hasn't been signed by two parties agreeing on something.
We're talking about far more than 165 million dollars. We're talking about working to fix an economic crisis that's several zeroes larger than that, instead of wasting time getting angry just to make each other feel better.
And more importantly - we're talking about having our lawmakers following well-reasoned and thoughtfully-crafted laws instead of changing it up as they go along on a whim of anger to appease voters.
This time, it's AIG. Who's to say the next time it won't be YOU?