And the Sun Will Set in the WestAnd the Sun Will Set in the West | The Washington Independent
About as shocking as last night’s sunset, Senate leaders yesterday balked at the idea of taxing bonuses for the Wall Street firms largely responsible for wrecking the global economy. The fear, voiced also by Treasury officials, seems to be that limiting executive pay for executives of the bailed out banks would lead to a mass exodus of the only folks who can prevent the firms from collapsing further. There are also concerns that the executive pay limits would discourage many banks from participating in the bailout at all, potentially undermining the program.
The result: the Senate has delayed consideration of a proposal to apply a 70 percent tax on bonuses distributed this year by the largest bailout recipients — an effort to calm the public outcry that followed last week’s disclosure that AIG had paid out $165 million in bonuses to the same executives who drowned the insurance giant in bad investments. Last week, the House passed a similar bill to tax those bonuses at 90 percent. The Senate, which still has to pass a contentious budget bill before leaving for Easter recess, likely won’t return to the bonus bill for another month.
The Washington Post explains the delay like this:
As the scope of the bills sank in over the weekend, industry leaders warned that some firms might reject government funding in an effort to free themselves from federally imposed compensation restraints, potentially jeopardizing economic recovery plans.
The only surprise here is the extent to which the people of the United States — even the roughly 50 percent who don’t have any direct stake in Wall Street whatsoever — have been hijacked by a relative few Wall Street employees who, despite years of irresponsible investment, don’t want to sacrifice a lavish lifestyle.
A doctor, of course, would be hit with malpractice suits; a lawyer would be disbarred. But the titans of Wall Street will keep their bonuses or tank the economy further.
God bless our meritocracy.
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