That’s certainly one way of describing it, I suppose. Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano denounces the hastily crafted bill that would impose punishing taxes on large executive bonuses for companies that have accepted taxpayer bailout funds.
Napolitano is right of course — as satisfying as this expedient solution to the problem may be, it’s completely unconstitutional. I facetiously suggested it the other day, not of course thinking that such a vindictive measure would actually be put into force — it’s is a very dangerous precedent.
The New Yorker has a somewhat different take on the matter that’s probably more in tune with popular sentiment these days:
….when it comes to the A.I.G. bonuses, the costs of clawing them back are trivial at best, while the public satisfaction at seeing what feels like justice being served will be great. Getting all worked up about this money may not, strictly speaking, be rational, but I think that paradoxically, if some of this money is clawed back, it’ll increase the chances that we’ll be able to keep dealing with the ongoing crisis in a rational way in the future.
That viewpoint doesn’t however consider the constitutionality of the “altruistic punishment” being exacted in the name of the public towards AIG executives. Neither it seems did the Congress.
Update: By the way, AIG has complied with Cuomo’s subpoena.
Update2: This seems rather appropriate here…