On Bonuses and Wasteful Spending

The big news over the last week has been the huge bonuses paid to AIG executives, to the tune of $165 million total, with the bailout money that was given to them. Now House Democrats have passed a bill to tax those bonuses at 90 percent.

Am I bothered by the huge amounts of money being given to top executives that apparently failed to do their job well over the past few years? Slightly. But there are other things here that are tremendously more troublesome.

First, when nearly every single Democrat votes for a $800,000,000,000 “stimulus” bill [and nearly every Republican against it], I find it silly that they are now complaining about $165 million. The money that went to bonuses is about .2 percent of the stimulus package, or in other words, $500 million less than that which will be spent by the government on coupons for people to switch from analog to digital television. Talk about wasteful spending of the American taxpayer’s money.

Secondly, language was included in the bill to allow contractually obligated bonuses to be issued with the money. Why didn’t anyone know that? Because no one had time to read it! It was said to have been the largest bill in our nation’s history – yet it took only a few weeks to write, a few days to debate, and the vote was called – no, insisted upon by Democrat leaders – less than 24 hours after the final version hit the desks of our representatives. But it was an emergency! Then why did Obama let it sit in his office over the weekend and wait to sign it until the following Tuesday? Couldn’t we have had a few days to look it over as he promised he would do on every piece of legislation during his campaign? So much for transparency.

Thirdly, there is a specific mention against bills of attainder or ex post facto in the constitution. This means that congress cannot constitutionally pass a law that is either 1) accusatory and punitive of one particular group without a fair trial, or that is 2) retroactive, such as giving money with no strings attached, then passing a law to take that money back at a later date. We’re talking individuals here. The money that was handed out was given to AIG – the company – and specific individuals are having their incomes taxed at 90 percent because congress does not feel they deserve it. Hey congress… since when do you get to determine how much money people should earn? Oh, right… you already do that through your class-warfare progressive tax crap. Even if it were taxed at the going rate for “wealthy people” – 35 percent… no wait, that was the old number… Obama is hiking up to 39 percent. Yes, this economic philosophy makes plenty of sense – destroy the resources and incentives of the most productive citizens. A 90 percent tax is just unbelievable, and it concerns me that congress can use and abuse such power.

Fourthly, I’d like to know what the industry standards are for bonuses. While million dollar bonuses sound quite extreme, there are plenty of hollywood stars and atheletes who make much more and we don’t hear many complaints. And as far as I understand, bonuses are used as incentives for good talent and hard work, and it’s something that pretty much every company does. The people running these companies are high-demand folks who can walk out the door if their contracts are not honored or if someone else is offering a better deal. If your company is going through tough times the last thing you want to do is short-change the people at the top. I don’t believe in rewarding bad behaviour, and I think people who made bad decisions in the first place ought to be removed and replaced [perhaps something that bankruptcy would’ve offered], but whomever steps in to fix the job deserves some incentive. And I think that when it comes to rewarding irresponsible behaviour with big handouts, the Democrats should be the last to talk.

I see Obama’s popularity waning. Rasmussen reports that as of March 20 his approval index rating has dropped from +28 to +4. Conservatives have been hitting the Republican part hard since the election and a lot of restructuring is going on. I see hope that the massive tax & spend liberal policies will come to a halt in November of 2010.

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I didn’t support Ron Paul for president, but I’m always interested in what he has to say. Here is a great clip of Dr. Paul from a recent debate in the House:

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UPDATE: 

As the nation screams for the heads of CEO’s and other high-profile businessmen I bring to your attention the incomes of the more favorable rich people who give us warm feelings and make us happy inside:

 Miley Cyrus: $18.2 million
 Dr. Phil McGraw: $90 million
 Steven Spielberg: $110 million
 Ryan Seacrest: $12 million
 Trouble (Leona Helmsley’s dog): $12 million
 Tiger Woods: $115 million
 Jeff Foxworthy: $10 million
 Oprah Winfrey: $260 million
 Mary-Kate Olsen: $17 million
 Gisele Bundchen: $33 million
 Eli Manning: $11.5 million
 50 Cent: $33 million
 A-Rod: $28 million

1 Comment

  1. If a bonus is automatically given, then what is the icnvntiee to perform?It has become too easy for corporations to raise extra cash when they come up short. The freeflow of money has to stop somewhere. I believe the corporate directors should exercise oversite over their management and at the same time be in tune with the desires of the shareholders. After all, wasn’t that the purpose of selling shares of a company to the public?Two names come to mind:Bob Nardelliand John ThainSo much money could have been put to better use.Eastman Kodak is another prime example of excessive bonus money that could have been used to save jobs.Well its a little too late to do the right thing now.:)

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