If the AIG people are shamed or cajoled into returning the bonuses, that's one thing. But using tax laws to get the money back is unthinkable. Any kind of coercion by the Feds is unacceptable. This is America, dammit, not some banana republic where the tinhorn du jour can run roughshod over whoever he wishes to.
It is scary that so many people from opposite ends of the political spectrum agree on grabbing back the bonuses. The country is going to hell in a rocket ship.
March 18, 2009 politico
House To Vote Tomorrow On Bonus Tax
Democrats will introduce a bill on the House floor tomorrow morning that would apply a 90 percent income tax to bonuses given to employees of companies that have received at least $5 billion in TARP money. This would apply to bonuses paid by AIG, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"We passed a recovery act. We did not pass a license to steal," said Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), one of the architects of the bill. "If you won't give the bonuses back, we will tax them back."
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who sets the House floor agenda, said at an afternoon press conference that the bill would be voted on tomorrow and that he expects it to pass "in an overwhelmingly bipartisan fashion."
Hoyer was particularly "outraged" that AIG employees would accept such large bonuses and that the House would be forced to act, especially on the same day the House passed the GIVE Act. That bill will, among other things, increase the number of AmeriCorps volunteers and promote volunteering through college incentives.
"Give it back," Hoyer said. "Give it back to the company and to the people that kept your company alive after your failure to act responsibly. Act responsibly now."
According to a release handed out at the press conference, the bill will apply only to bonus payments received since the beginning of the year and to individuals whose annual income exceeds $250,000.
"This money doesn't belong to AIG," Israel said. "It belongs to the American taxpayer, and we're going to take it back."