Should Ten Percent Appear Too Small, Be Thankful I Don't Take It All

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), writes the AP, argues that the bill is "diverting attention from why the administration hadn't done more to block the bonuses before they were paid."  Mike Pence (R-Ind.) calls it a "constitutionally questionable" piece of legislation designed to "divert attention away from the truth that Democrats in Congress and this administration made these bonus payments possible." HR 1586, which passed 328-93 today, will impose a 90 percent tax on bonuses received by those working for companies that received bailout money.

The AP has more:

The House passed a bill on Thursday that would impose punishing taxes on big employee bonuses from firms bailed out by taxpayers.

Democrats pressed for the quick action. 

"The American people demand protection and that's what we're doing today," said Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee...

The bill levies a 90 percent tax on bonuses paid to employees with family incomes above $250,000 at companies that have received at least $5 billion in government bailout money.

"We figured that the local and state governments would take care of the other 10 percent," said Rangel.

Rangel said the bill would apply to mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, among others, while excluding community banks and other smaller companies that have received less bailout money

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  • TofuSushi||

    This new congress has no guts. It should be a 110% tax.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    this is outrageous, capricious grandstanding designed to scapegoat and obfuscate the government's role in all of this.

    we have reached terminal madness in all this. I will not vote for a single incumbent in 2010. I don't care what party they are from.

    Yo, Fuck Charlie Rangel. (with a h/t to X)

  • sfb||

    "We figured that the local and state governments would take care of the other 10 percent," said Rangel.

    This from the nigger with multiple rent-restricted apartments in NY.

  • kinnath||

    which passed 328-93 today

    This means there was ample support from the minority party in Congress.

  • Warty||

    N-word alert!

  • Joel||

    I don't believe it. I never, NEVER thought those people were capable of surprising me with their stupidity and hypocrisy. This is crazy, even for congressvermin.

  • Defeat Globalism||

    Lots of posturing. The bonuses are business as usual and probably should occur.

    Obama is just trying to pacify his horde of irresponsible have-nots and disillusioned underachievers with the thought that he's "doing something," even though at this point the political machine fueled by public opinion gives a president few options.

  • ||

    George Harrison was right, as Michael notes in the title.

    This is morally, ethically, legally, and common sensically wrong. It's also stupid.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    Full vote:

    http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2009/roll143.xml

    Flake, Paul, Pence and Boehner - all "no" votes.

  • sfb||

    N-word alert!

    It fits Chuck.

  • jester||

    The people love histrionics. How else did Springsteen become 'The Boss'?

  • kinnath||

    Fuck, my rep voted for.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "We figured that the local and state governments would take care of the other 10 percent," said Rangel."

    Not necessarily.

    All they have to do is cheat on their taxes - like you Chucky

  • ||

    The people love histrionics. How else did Springsteen become 'The Boss'?

    Does he play the histrionica?

  • jester||

    AIG-The Musical

    critics are raving about this fun-filled indictment of greed in America.

    Now playing on off-off Wall Street.

  • jester||

    Yes, Bruce played a bit part in a Hindi stage play at Histrionica '07.

  • The Angry Optimist (as Mirror ||

    "It's time for Congress to come before the American people and take that deep bow and say, I'm sorry, and then either do one of two things: resign or go commit suicide."

    In all seriousness, I think we have reached an Age, or at least an era, of Unreason. Populism and gut emotional reactions abound and nobody refuses to think anything through in all this.

    Trillions here! Trillions there! Businesses Bad and Government Good!

  • Xeones||

    Yo, fuck Charlie Rangel. (Sorry, AO, yours just didn't feel right.)

    I swear, this bullshit is starting to wear on my inner berserker.

  • Xeones||

    Oh yeah, fuck the rest of Congress too.

  • JP||

    This is morally, ethically, legally, and common sensically wrong. It's also stupid.

    A purely academic inquiry: Is it legally wrong? I'm having trouble coming up with a reason.

  • jester||

    Just talk to your neighbors. You'll realize that you are very alone.

  • Warty||

    Shut the fuck up, Charlie Rangel.

  • ||

    I welcome the excessive taxation. Maybe the rich people that finance most of the campaigns will decide to stop. Maybe they will decide to just all stop paying their lions share of the taxes. This is all happening so fast from bailout to stimulus to excessive taxation it won't be long before everything breaks down. Maybe that Russian economist who said we'd have a class civil war by 2010 was right.

  • ||

    Wow, can the Republic survive four years of this kind of comedy?

    To review: Dodd and Obama get large campaign contributions from AIG. Dodd inserts clause into stimulus bill allowing previously-agreed bonuses in bailed-out companies. Stimulus bill is passed in a rush with nobody reading it, because it's such an emergency. Obama then goes on three-day vacation before signing it. Various administration discover the bonuses on dates now unclear. Bonus news hits the media fan. Dodd denies putting the clause in, then admits it and blames pressure from the administration. Administration officials give conflicting stories about when they learned about it. And now this. Ha!

  • Mandingo||

    "Wow, can the Republic survive four years of this kind of comedy?"

    No.

  • Kolohe||

    full text of the bill here

    I'm far from a fan from this strategy but I have come to think that it's probably legal. There are precendents that cover the bill of attainder and ex post facto aspects.

    I had thought there was a equal protection problem, because I could think of no exception of ordinary income being taxed at a different marginal rate that depended on the source rather than the level, but then I remember the military combat zone exception (which is the reverse of this case; ordinary income being taxed at the marginal rate of zero if obtained under specific circumstances)

    So again, horrible precedent, bad policy, but likely just barely constitutional.

  • ||

    I'm almost happy for them to keep up this nonsense. Sooner or later, at least half of voters are going to see that the emperors are wearing clothes, but they've got big floppy shoes.

    Um, and tentacles.

  • The Angry Optimist ||

    I highly encourage anyone this policy covers to liquidate what you own and move to the Cayman Islands. It's obvious that this country is hellbent on scapegoating you for our Government's insanity, and for that, I apologize and encourage you to flee the jurisdiction.

  • jester||

    "at least half of voters"

    I am not holding my breath.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    "Just talk to your neighbors. You'll realize that you are very alone."

    Indeed. Or even family and some friends. At least in my case.

    I never thought the Government could be THIS stupid. Shit, anything's possible nowadays. I guess I'm not going to ease up on ammo purchases. Once the country turns to the wasteland, it'll be needed.

    Fuck! I used to completely joke about that but now, it almost seems as though there's a small chance of it getting that bad.

  • Jerry||

    Wow, can the Republic survive four years of this kind of comedy?


    IT's a tribute to George Carlin, right?

  • Johnny Nowhere||

    I for one welcome our new idiot overlords

    sorry: I realized I'm years late with that.

  • ||

    Boehner's still missing the point, or participating in the diversion. The bonuses are about one percent of the money given to AIG. This is trivia. The real issue is how to get back ALL of the money and just let AIG go to chapter seven liquidation like it should have months ago.

    -jcr

  • ||

    No, it's probably legal the way things have been going in the courts vis-à-vis taxes. Hell if I can understand how this isn't a Constitutional violation, myself. Guess I can only see four fingers.

  • ||

    Somehow I doubt there's a clawback clause to get the tens of millions stolen by Gorelick and Emanuel and a few other clinton cronies when they sat at Freddie and Fannie board tables.

  • ||

    A purely academic inquiry: Is it legally wrong?

    Probably not.

    The bonuses are about one percent of the money given to AIG.

    Check your decimal, Mr. Randolph. They are one tenth of one percent.

  • Brian||

    How the fuck am I supposed to teach my son to be a responsible human being with these assholes running around pulling retarded shit like this?

    I apologize for the harsh language, but the fact that my country has now basically ceased to have a legitimate functioning government has me just a little frustrated. I feel like a zookeeper that has just learned that the monkeys have escaped and are marauding through the zoo mugging the visitors and taunting the other animals.

    It won't be long before historians look back on the American Revolution as a big fucking waste of time. At least if we still had a king, there wouldn't be the illusion of liberty.

  • Mike Laursen||

    I'm almost happy for them to keep up this nonsense.

    And maybe companies will start saying no to bailout loot.

  • sfb||

    I feel like a zookeeper that has just learned that the monkeys have escaped and are marauding through the zoo mugging the visitors and taunting the other animals.

    Gorillas. Gorillas in the mist . . . .

  • ||

    IS IT LEGAL?

    Here is where the argument will take place.

    The Constitution of the United States, Article I, Section 9, paragraph 3 provides that: "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law will be passed."

    "The Bill of Attainder Clause was intended not as a narrow, technical (and therefore soon to be outmoded) prohibition, but rather as an implementation of the separation of powers, a general safeguard against legislative exercise of the judicial function or more simply - trial by legislature." U.S. v. Brown, 381 U.S. 437, 440 (1965).

    "These clauses of the Constitution are not of the broad, general nature of the Due Process Clause, but refer to rather precise legal terms which had a meaning under English law at the time the Constitution was adopted. A bill of attainder was a legislative act that singled out one or more persons and imposed punishment on them, without benefit of trial. Such actions were regarded as odious by the framers of the Constitution because it was the traditional role of a court, judging an individual case, to impose punishment." William H. Rehnquist, The Supreme Court, page 166.

    "Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligations of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation. ... The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils. They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less-informed part of the community." James Madison, Federalist Number 44, 1788.

  • shecky||

    How the fuck am I supposed to teach my son to be a responsible human being with these assholes running around pulling retarded shit like this?

    Teach you son to not take moral cues from the politicians. Duh.

    Won't somebody think of the children?

  • Buckwheat||

    Teach you son to not take moral cues from the politicians.

    And teach him some English while you at it.

  • ||

    If the government takes 90% of that money back, aren't they going to have to figure out some new way to give it away to the right people this time? The right people, like me.

  • ||

    You know, the intent of Congress is clear here--to punish a specific set of people retroactively, in opposition to the bill under which the bonuses were paid. I think all the "we're going to get you" talk may put this back into unconstitutional territory after all. Which, of course, was what this sort of government action was intended to be.

  • GlueGun||

    " I think all the "we're going to get you" talk may put this back into unconstitutional territory after all. Which, of course, was what this sort of government action was intended to be."

    If I was one of the AIG bonus recepients, I'd fight this targeted thieving all the way to the Supreme Court.

  • JB||

    So when is Congress going to return 100% of their salaries?

    Rangel turn in your money you fucking crook.

  • HammeredHead||

    What wisdom. Government buys 80% of AIG for 160 billion. The new owner proceeds to chase off all employees, including the guy working for free. AIG ceases to exist.

    This outcome could have been accomplished for free.

  • JB||

    GlueGun and others,

    Via Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ex_post_facto_law#United_States

    "In the 1994 opinion United States v. Carlton, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that retroactive tax laws did not violate the constitutional prohibition on ex post facto legislation."

    9-0 decision.

    Outrageous, but typical. You don't own your land, your body, or your money; you are merely renting them from the government.

  • Geotpf||

    PapayaSF | March 19, 2009, 4:02pm | #

    To review: Dodd and Obama get large campaign contributions from AIG.


    False. AIG gave Dodd and Obama exactly zero dollars. It is illegal for a corporation to give money to a candidate for Federal office.

  • Darth Pelosi||

    "I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it any further."

  • Paul||

    "constitutionally questionable"



    The constitution doesn't apply to the states. Or something.

  • ||

    Absurd... Does anyone know what Article and section of the constitution prohibits this? I heard Article 1 Section 9 Cluase 3, but after reading it, that doesn't seem right...

  • Paul||

    "I am altering the deal. Pray I do not alter it any further."

    Boo and ya, darth pelosi.

    I was sitting in my no-so-easy chair last night, thinking about this AIG deal, and it struck me that the Federal Government was the Empire, AIG was Landau Calrissian, and Luke and co. were the taxpayers.

    AIG: This deal is getting worse all the time.

    I came to this conclusion because like Lando, these companies make a deal with the Feds to, you know keep them off their back. What they get is the Feds all over their back because the Empire... I mean The Feds can alter the deals anytime they want and do.

  • The Angry Optimist ||

    Geotpf - according to this:

    http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/toprecips.php?id=D000000123

    you're wrong. Am I confused with what you're saying?

  • Paul||

    PapayaSF | March 19, 2009, 4:02pm | #

    To review: Dodd and Obama get large campaign contributions from AIG.

    False. AIG gave Dodd and Obama exactly zero dollars. It is illegal for a corporation to give money to a candidate for Federal office.


    Partially true (or half false). AIG Executives (AKA Agents of AIG) donated heavily to Dodd and Obama.

    Yeah, yeah, I know... what influence could that possibly buy? Oh right, it's Obama-- influence peddling is what the other guys do.

  • Paul||

    And another thing Geotpf, where is it illegal for a corporation to donate to a Federal Candidate?

    http://www.opensecrets.org/pacs/pacgot.php?cycle=2008&cmte=C00394031

  • ||

    Ten percent isn't what they're keeping, because employees still have to pay their half of FICA (7.65%), which is nondeductible. They are in effect keeping 2.35% of their bonus, assuming the 90% income tax replaces their regular income tax bracket.

  • ||

    It's just the constitution kids. The previous administration helped us to understand that we have to disregard that silly document in times of danger from the axis of evil. Indignation is another good emotion to play upon when controlling the masses. You whip the folks into a righteous indignation over the the axis of greed and then you can pretty much do what you want.

  • Brandon||

    Remember the roll call the next time some Republican invokes Ronald Reagan and tells you the party merely "lost it's way" and believes in limited government and liberty again.

    85 Republicans for, 87 against. It passed under suspension of the rules; the Democrats needed Republican votes to get to 2/3.

  • Kolohe||

    because employees still have to pay their half of FICA (7.65%), which is nondeductible

    I don't think many bonuses are subject to FICA. (military ones aren't)

    FICA (SS for sure I forget if medicare does) also caps below the rate where the 90% tax bracket takes hold. (legislation is written so that you pay the marginal tax rate only if you kept the bonus *and* earned over 250K.)

  • Craig||

    Yikes.... when a supposed conservative stalwart like Mike Pence calls blatantly unconstitutional legislation "constitutionally questionable", what hope do we have?

  • Craig||

    In the 1994 opinion United States v. Carlton, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that retroactive tax laws did not violate the constitutional prohibition on ex post facto legislation.

    Or to rephrase,

    ...the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that retroactive tax laws did not violate the constitutional prohibition on retroactive laws of any kind.

  • ||

    Sorry for not reading every comment, I can guess that there are many here with me, but I say this legislation is bullshit.

    Can I say bullshit here? I just did, twice, but I have not read the terms of service either.

    I just finished a discussion on this topic with a good friend. He calls himself a Conservative, but sometimes calls himself a Fascist and since his college professor with some sort of high degree said Fascists are the opposite of Socialists (wtf?) he believes that too.

    I was ready to drive a 3.5" spike heel through his head when he was cheering this theft on! It did not matter how many times I told him the bonuses that began the discussion were not for performance, but for RETENTION, he would keep going back to performance. The amount of money these people made was an issue for him too.

    My position is these people abided by their contracts and should get their money. I also believe that the government should not have bailed out AIG either, but they did and now they are doing a stupid show to act like they "care".

    How on earth can anybody think it is okay for the government to take away someone's paycheck just because the government gave almost-no-strings money to their employer?

    AND I AM THE SELF PROFESED LIBERAL! Well, socially anyway and sort of fiscally too.

    If anybody said the same thing I did then my apologies for being redundant.

  • Ruby||

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "Absurd... Does anyone know what Article and section of the constitution prohibits this? I heard Article 1 Section 9 Cluase 3, but after reading it, that doesn't seem right..."

    That isn't the right question.

    The right question is what Article of the Constitution delegates any power to the federal government to do it.

    The purpose of the Constitution is to define the limits of federal government power.

    Accordingly it does not have authority to do anything that the Constitition does not forbid it to do, it is only allowed to do things that the Constitution says it can do.

  • \"Markets Are Magical!\"||

    LMAO! This is like reading outtakes from the Ron Paul Newsletters.

    Settle down you big bunch of drama queens.

    Of course, it's time to for Libertarians to flee the country after Obama is elected, but throughout what was likely the worst Presidency in U.S. history, you guys seemed so calm--almost arrogant.

    It's nice to see the true colors finally being revealed. As I expected, Libertarians don't have any resolve. They can't organize well, and they want their blankie when the shit hits the fan. I would say that the movement is dead, but it was never really alive. It's always been akin to a book club.

    Here's some advice: Smoke some pot, chill out, and get on with your life. You've lost the culture war.

  • MJ||

    "Boehner's still missing the point, or participating in the diversion. The bonuses are about one percent of the money given to AIG. This is trivia."

    Yes, the Congress and Administation are loudly choking on a gnat after swallowing a herd of elephants whole. AIG was not on the brink of failure because of bonuses. This whole bonus issue, along with the auto execs private jet brouhaha is a waste of time, effort and oxygen. AIG was not on the brink of failure because of bonuses, and nothing will be gained by abusing the tax code to take them away.

    Everyday lately, I find some new affirmation of why Ipopulism is the basest of political mottivations.

  • ||

    I don't think many bonuses are subject to FICA.

    Military bonuses are special. Bonuses for regular people are ordinary wages, which are subject to the Medicare portion of FICA with no cap. It's 2.9%, not the 7.65% full FICA hit I mentioned above. It still sucks.

  • \"Markets are Magical\"||

    I am Tony's sock puppet. I enjoy trolling and shoving large objects where the sun don't shine.

  • ||

    Socialitarianism!

  • ||

    A purely academic inquiry: Is it legally wrong? I'm having trouble coming up with a reason.

    A little thing called equal protection under the law.

  • ||

    Still looking at AIG and how deep they have been with government and Democrats in particular this is sort of like watching my worse enemy beat the crap out of my 2nd worse enemy.

  • ||

    "Markets Are Magical!"

    joe? izzat you? I miss you, homie.

  • ||

    Sleeping on this did not make it any better.

    I hope the Senate kills it. President Special Olympics sure won't.

  • Suki||

    Does not feel better after a shower either.

  • ||

    Does not feel better after a shower either.

    Talking about it with people who've been through the same thing should help.

  • scineram||

    "That isn't the right question.

    The right question is what Article of the Constitution delegates any power to the federal government to do it.

    The purpose of the Constitution is to define the limits of federal government power.

    Accordingly it does not have authority to do anything that the Constitition does not forbid it to do, it is only allowed to do things that the Constitution says it can do."

    And the Constitution authorizes taxation.

  • TofuSushi||

    scineram,

    Yes! And 100% is too small. Get all of the money back from these crooks and give it to people who really need it.

    Art-P.O.G.,

    Looks like she has a whole thread full of your type to talk to.

  • ||

    Get all of the money back from these crooks

    You realize, TofuSushi, that the "crooks" at AIG that traded in derivatives and otherwise cratered the company are all long gone, and that the people still working there to unwind those deals are a completely different group?

    That what is being advocated here is punishing the people that the government wants and needs to keep AIG from setting off a seriatim collapse of the banking system?

    After the hypocritical, self-serving abuse heaped on them, I can't imagine why any of these people are still working there. I certainly wouldn't be.

  • ||

    Ron Paul said it best - this is illegal and a distraction. Congress including then Sen. Obama passed the banker bailout and transferred power to the Tres. Sec. to not only disburse all funds but to let the Tres. Sec. keep the amounts and recipients secret. The bail out also stated that the Tres. Sec's actions would not be subject to any review. Obama and Congress are controlled by intl. bankers who are openly planning a global government. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAaQNACwaLw

  • medic||

    Who's next...?

  • shivam||

    i want hindi play (commedy)

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