House passes 90% tax on AIG bonuses

328-93, which means the GOP split roughly evenly notwithstanding the news that some AIG employees will be returning their bonuses voluntarily. No surprise given the results of yesterday’s Gallup poll. I’ve reached the point the boss and Rick Santelli reached a few days ago and which this trader reached today: Aren’t we, er, missing the big picture?

The Fed yesterday committed to buy $1.5 trillion in assets, and all that we are talking about today is $146 million in bonuses for traders at AIG. I understand the politics and the optics of the situation but this is getting ridiculous. People need to get some perspective.

Initially I thought the tax would be a nifty way out of the bill of attainder problem, but Tom Maguire makes a sterling point about precedents. First they came for the bonuses…

Right now it’s AIG and Fannie Mae; later it will be Merrill and Citibank, and eventually it will be defense contractors, profiteering oil executives, or whomever the Congressional Dems single out as their whipping boy du jour.

And of course, rolling this ex post tax out at the same time the Fed and Treasury are trying to encourage private investors to partner up with the government to get the credit markets moving again is insane. What investor needs the likely aggravation to follow? Who needs to be hauled in front of Barney Frank a year from now in order to be blasted as a profiteer who exploited our national crisis for his own profit, which Barney will then tax back? Who will be daft enough to come out of retirement as Liddy did to endure the abuse Liddy took?

Follow the link and you’ll find that even Rangel’s iffy on the idea. Exit question: How much tighter can those congressional sphincters get? Click the image to watch.