Denouncing a “squandering of the people’s money,” lawmakers voted decisively Thursday to impose a 90 percent tax on millions of dollars in employee bonuses paid by troubled insurance giant AIG and other bailed-out companies.
In some cases the bonuses might be taxed 100 percent leaving the recipients with nothing.
The House vote was 328-93. Similar legislation has been introduced in the Senate and President Barack Obama quickly signaled general support for the concept.
“I look forward to receiving a final product that will serve as a strong signal to the executives who run these firms that such compensation will not be tolerated,” the president said in a statement.
“We want our money back now for the taxpayers,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “It isn’t that complicated.”
Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat, chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, said he expected local and state governments to take the remaining 10 percent of the bonuses, nullifying the pay-outs.
The bonuses are outrageous but it was President Obama who signed the economic stimulus bill that allowed them – whether he knew or understood they were in the bill. And, it was Timothy Geithner’s Treasury Department that asked Senator Chris Dodd to insert a provision in last monthâ€™s $787 billion economic- stimulus legislation that had the effect of authorizing American International Group Inc.â€™s bonuses.
But, the Kabuki Theater comes from Flap’s own Congressman, Elton Gallegly and the fact this TAX AS A WEAPON legislation is a BILL of ATTAINDER which is prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.
From Congressman Gallegly’s Press Release:
â€œAs a person with a lifetime record of opposing tax increases, today I voted for a bill to tax bonuses awarded to executives who received federal bailout money. It was the least the House could do to reclaim hard-earned taxpayer money from Wall Street firms who insult American taxpayers by rewarding those responsible for our economic crisis.
â€œItâ€™s not the bill I would have preferred. I wanted to vote for the Republican alternative that would have recouped 100 percent of the bonuses. It would have done so by denying future federal funds to any company who did not recoup bonuses paid out under previous bailouts. It also would have required Treasury Department approval before companies could give future bonuses. I believe the bill would have been more effective and would have passed constitutional muster.
â€œUnfortunately, my Democratic colleaguesâ€”who stripped language banning bonuses from the stimulus bill and therefore allowed these paymentsâ€”did not give members an opportunity to vote on the better bill.
â€œRight now, this was the only bill available to prevent AIG and other companies who receive bailout money to know of my outrage at giving outlandish bonuses to executives who failed the American people. These companies must get the message that the American people will no longer tolerate this behavior. Therefore, I voted for this bill.
â€œI look forward to working with my Democratic colleagues to pass meaningful legislation that will fix this loophole.â€
The AIG bonus bill is a JOKE. The Democrats are blaming Bush and everyone knows the REAL culprits are Timothy Geithner, Chris Dodd and Barack Obama.
The Democrats are running for cover and Flap’s Representative should have voted NO today and for any additional federal government bailouts PERIOD.
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