The House actually did something. Reuters reports,
Responding to public and political outrage to the bonuses after the insurer received a government bailout up to $180 billion, lawmakers voted 328-93 for a bill to impose a 90 percent tax on bonuses for executives whose incomes exceed $250,000.
The tax would apply to executives of any company that received at least $5 billion in government bailout money.
From the Associated Press:
In all, 243 Democrats and 85 Republicans voted “yes” on the bill. It was opposed by six Democrats and 87 Republicans. . . . although a number of Republicans cast “no” votes against the measure at first, there was a heavy GOP migration to the “yes” side in the closing moments.
The six Dems who voted “no” were Bean, Kissell, McMahon, Minnick, Mitchell and Snyder. If any of those congress critters are your’n, tell ’em what you think.
As I keyboard, the 85 Republicans who voted “yes” are drafting a letter of apology to Rush Limbaugh.
At the Washington Post, Brady Dennis writes about the bonus babies of AIG, huddling in their office building feeling misunderstood.
The handful of souls who championed the firm’s now-infamous credit-default swaps are, by nearly every account, long since departed. Those left behind to clean up the mess, the majority of whom never lost a dime for AIG, now feel they have been sold out by their Congress and their president.
“They’ve chosen to throw us under the bus,” said a Financial Products executive, one of several who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals. “They have vilified us.”
They say what is missing from this week’s hysteria is perspective. The very handsome retention payments they received over the past week were set in motion early last year when the firm’s former president, Joe Cassano, was on his way out the door. Financial Products was already running into trouble on its risky credit bets, and the year ahead looked grim. People were weighing offers from other firms, and AIG executives feared that too many departures could lead to disaster.
I remember reading that Marie Antoinette had a new dress made to wear at her beheading. That may not be true, but for some reason it pops into my mind.
Listen, guys, “disaster” has already arrived. The ship has struck the iceberg. Just because the water hasn’t reached the upper decks yet doesn’t mean life can go on as usual. It’s time to put down the brandy and cigars and work with the rest of us to keep the boat afloat, or else we’re all going to end up in the water grabbing for ice floes. Is that clear?