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Taxes Become A Political Weapon

By Greg L | 19 March 2009 | National Politics | 33 Comments

Representatives Wolf and Wittman joined the majority voting in favor of H. R. 1586, the bill to punish executives who work for companies receiving bailout funds for getting bonuses using the tax code, and I’ve gotten a few calls and emails today from conservatives who are mightily not pleased, and doubtless there are more who haven’t contacted me.  Yeah, it was outrageous that companies were using taxpayer funds to pay huge bonuses to executives who ran their companies into the ground.  Yeah, it’s outrageous that a few senior Democrats blocked efforts to prevent the payment of these bonuses in the bills which lavished these thoroughly underserving companies with so much of our wealth.  This use of the tax code, however, adds bad to worse.

The tax code is supposed to fund government operations.  That’s it.  The more government screws with the tax code in order to fulfill secondary and unrelated goals, the more personal liberty is stolen away from us and the more people attempt to evade it.  If the government actually had the legal authority to control what you do with your wealth, they’d pass laws to effect those controls and prosecute you if you failed to comply.  In the absence of that authority, they instead provide deductions, credits, excise levies and other curbs or incentives to influence your behavior to get you to conform to the government’s will without having to cross the line of actually imprisoning you if you ignore it.  It’s a back-end way for government to control you that isn’t authorized under the Constitution.  That’s bad enough.  This gets a whole lot worse.

The stated intent of this legislation is to use the tax code as a means of punishment for those who engage in lawful behavior, but embarrased elected officials.  It might not have been pleasing for these companies to lavish millions of your dollars on the executives of failed enterprises, but it was entirely lawful for them to do it.  That made the elected officials who gave them the money in the first place look like the spendthrift, wasteful and irresponsible idiots they truly are.  They made these elected officials look like fools.  Now they’re going to get even with them, and will use the full and awesome power of government to do it.

Instead of realizing that giving billions of taxpayer dollars away to bankrupt companies was a dumb idea, they start punishing the people they gave the money to.  Incredible.

Wolf and Wittman could have just leaned back in their chairs, told Democrats that they’re responsible for this whole stupid mess, and that it’s about time that the full level of stupidity of this enterprise came back to bite them.  They made this bed, now they can sleep in it.  No, instead of that they buy into this whole outrage thing and instead of rightly laying the blame for this utter mess at the feet of those elected officials who devised this ridiculous garbage, they meekly give the Democrats political cover and vote for a 90% excise tax on bonuses.

Yeah, like it’s really AIG executives who are to blame here.  When you give ten thousand dollars to a four year old and they have a trailer truck full of My Little Ponys delivered to your house, do you bother to try to steal back the tip she gave the driver?

Someday, we ought to elect some Republicans to congress, if there still are such things to be found.  Instead we’ve got state “republican leaders” engaging in a pre-election inter-party battle to see who can hold the most thankless job in the state party (called either “Impact Area Close Observer” or “Chairman”, I don’t quite recall which), and others fixated on how to abandon principle in order to appeal more to whatever narrow electoral segment of the month is seen as.  Then there are those “Republicans” who decided that supporting an omnibus appropriations bill containing nine thousand earmarks was better than letting the government starve for a few days to demonstrate the sheer idiocy involved here.

Darn it, where the hell are the patriots?  If they aren’t found between now and April 19th, the anniversary of when Americans met tyrants at a bridge in Massachusets and sent them packing, perhaps we should figuratively re-enact that example of courage and dedication.  Perhaps it’s time to take out country back from the outrageous idiots who are bent on destroying it and the weak-willed, unprincipled, and supposed “guardians of liberty” who are allowing them to do so with such impunity.  Sure, there are some that understand what’s going on and fighting this.  Not nearly enough, though.

If the tax code has now become a political weapon to weild against the lawful instead of a distasteful but necessary means of funding government operations, I shudder to think what the next step in the dismantling of our Constitution will be.  This has got to be stopped, and soon.

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  1. Brian L. said on 19 Mar 2009 at 9:35 pm:
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    Correct me if I’m wrong, but this really IS, at its core, a “bill of attainder,” is it not? In that it punishes a very specific group of people?

    You see, there’s a little problem with that:

    Constitution, Article I, Section 9:
    No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed.

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_of_attainder

    Seems pretty clear to me. Congress is violating the Constitution. Where’s the outrage at *that*?


  2. BattleCat said on 19 Mar 2009 at 10:10 pm:
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    If they can do it AIG, they can do it to YOU. Sleep well!

  3. gET said on 19 Mar 2009 at 10:19 pm:
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    All 11 of the VA delegation voted for this horrible bill. Not horrible because it sticks the AIG people. I could care less about them. Chapter 11 is too good for this poorly run outfit. But this bill was horrible because of the precedent it sets!. When the government doesn’t like the CONTRACTS you FREELY enter, then they can punish you through that TAX CODE AMERICA!

    Wrap your brain around this, America. One day the Demo-wacks wake up and say, “ah ha, let’s make people who own guns PAY A VERY HIGH TAX TO OWN THEM!”

    A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take everything you’ve got.

  4. BattleCat said on 19 Mar 2009 at 10:23 pm:
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    I see no evidence that the Republicans are any closer to being unified around conservative principles, so they’re still lost in the woods. Think they’ll have their act together by 2010?

  5. Tillie said on 19 Mar 2009 at 10:55 pm:
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    For a change, I agree with Greg. This is really bad!

    Everybody knows that those clever people will find a way to go around this stupid rule.

    i.e. Don’t give bonuses - just raise salaries.

    Taxes should NOT be used as punishment; they are for keeping the country running in a safe way; supporting our military; educating our young… I’m sure you can think of many things, but to tax anything at 90% is B A D!!

    It’s a terrible decision!

  6. Jane D'oh said on 20 Mar 2009 at 3:22 am:
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    Wolf and Wittman also voted “Yea” on H.R. 1388 (Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act) which passed and is moving to the Senate.

    As if the government doesn’t have enough hooks in us, they’re exploring additional ways to force us into servitude to the State. For the common good, of course.

    Some choice bits from the bill:

    Title VI - Sec. 1604. Duties.

    (5) The effect on the Nation, on those who serve, and on the families of those who serve, if ALL individuals in the United States were EXPECTED to perform national service or were REQUIRED to perform a certain amount of national service.

    (6) Whether a workable, fair, and reasonable MANDATORY service REQUIREMENT for all able young people could be developed, and how such a REQUIREMENT could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.

  7. Anonymous said on 20 Mar 2009 at 5:02 am:
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    My company gives cost of living raises along with performance based bonuses rather than larger raises. Some how this method makes more sense to them, or is easier on the books. Anyway, does this mean that MY bonus (assuming I’ll get one) will be taxed at 90%, or is it only specific companies that will be taxed at the ridiculous rate?

    Is history about to repeat itself as in the American Revolution? It all started with the issue of taxes did it not?

  8. BothPartiesColludeAgainstUs said on 20 Mar 2009 at 5:32 am:
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    I’m in favor of it, and I think the salaries of those who worked at those companies should be taxed at a high rate also.

    The bailout should not be intended to make the rich richer.

  9. Emma said on 20 Mar 2009 at 5:40 am:
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    Sadly, this is just another example of this petty, childish McCarthy-ite administration going after individual citizens. I’m no fan of Rush Limbaugh, but the fact that Rahm Emanuel colluded with the MSM to put Rush front and center to demonize the Republican Party made me sick. He’s an entertainer who doesn’t support the administration–get over it, Rahm. And it’s funny how they think of $150 million in bonuses as such a huge deal when they are spending trillions of money the country doesn’t even have every week. Any outrage the public feels provides the smokescreen behind which they can keep spending your hard-earned money.

  10. Pat.Herve said on 20 Mar 2009 at 6:38 am:
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    As written, but who knows, the bonus tax is for people earning over 250K a year, given by companies who accepted TARP funds.

    Just another example of how our Congress is broken. They seem to think that they can fix everything with legislation. Where is the grandstanding of letting AIG go into bankruptcy, similiar to the GM Grandstanding?

    Where is the grandstanding of saying - break the executive contracts like there was for break the union contracts. A double standard by the same individuals.

  11. Johnson said on 20 Mar 2009 at 6:41 am:
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    We’ve all lost sight of the fact that tax money is being given to corporations. That is implicitly wrong. Failing businesses should be allowed to fail. Greed has been our mantra and this is the cost of greed.

  12. Waterhead said on 20 Mar 2009 at 7:05 am:
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    I actually learned something about my name from Obama last night. But I’m not “dripping” (MSM translation) or tripping all over the place…

    If Obama thinks he bowls as if he’s in the Special Olympics, then those of us in the Special Olympics must be pretty bad at what we do. I’m glad our president has pointed that out and shown what he really thinks of us.

  13. No1UKnow said on 20 Mar 2009 at 7:30 am:
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    @ Johnson-

    Exactly! What happened to capitalism?

    Oh wait, I forgot: Barack Obama will pay your mortgage! What a joke.

  14. Anonymous said on 20 Mar 2009 at 7:41 am:
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    “Congress is violating the Constitution. Where’s the outrage at *that*?”

    Oh! Oh! I know the answer to this one. It’s in the same place as the outrage over them systematically shredding the Fourth Amendment and the right to habeus corpus. What do I win?

  15. Vigilant1 said on 20 Mar 2009 at 8:09 am:
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    Brian L. said on 19 Mar 2009 at 9:35 pm: Flag comment
    Seems pretty clear to me. Congress is violating the Constitution. Where’s the outrage at *that*?

    Our Congress hasn’t gotten anything right lately. Should this bill be any different? It is just grandstanding by a group of incometents who are trying to show their constituents that “we won’t tolerate ceo’s being paid big bonuses” while our congress spends millions on earmarks. Kind of calling the kettle black wouldn’t you say? It will never stand up to a legal challenge and they know it.

  16. James Young said on 20 Mar 2009 at 8:12 am:
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    I agree with virtually everything you said, Greg, but how can this surprise anyone? It’s even logical: once the Federal government gets in the business of bailing out businesses, why shouldn’t it follow that it tells them how to run their business? Or providing health care, so it tells us how to run our lives with things (like smoking, drinking, cholesterol, red meat, exercise, etc., and everything else except perverse and/or promiscuous sexual practices (those are protected)) that affect our health?

    And Brian, I think you’re right on the constitutional question. Then again, with my recent luck before the Supreme Court (lost 9-0, thinking we would win 6-3), I may be the wrong person to ask. That, and the Court validated a retroactive tax increase imposed by the Great Prevaricator in 1993.

  17. Vigilant1 said on 20 Mar 2009 at 8:14 am:
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    Wolf and Wittman voted for this bill because they know the courts will overturn it. “See, we tried to do something but the courts wouldn’t let us.”
    Smart politics?

  18. BothPartiesColludeAgainstUs said on 20 Mar 2009 at 8:36 am:
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    We’re allready in a “state of transition”, hopefully temporary, away from capitalism which Bush and the rest of our lovely government representatives (who I like to call “our elitist ruling class”) more or less killed on its feet. Given that this is a good decision.

    I’m not delusional enough to blame Obama, or to think that America would be in better shape with Bush or McCain in charge. Or Sarah Palin or Bobby Jindal. Please.

    How would you guys feel about taxing all of the lobbyist contributions from these bailed out firms, that went to the Obamas and McCains of the world, at 110%? I’d be all in favor of that.

  19. Sanford Horn said on 20 Mar 2009 at 9:34 am:
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    Good nail on the head comment by Brian L regarding the Constitutional issue. This does set a dangerous precedent in that when the government wants to exact its revenge, it can and does and will again in the future. Additionally, these pinheads are to blame for this in the first place for (a) not reading for what they voted, and (2) not remembering that we are a nation of laws and they violated the rule of law that they didn’t read in the first place.

    As for where the patriots are, we are too busy trying to fight city hall, as they say, as the conservative underground. If some of us could muster the dollars we could run to put these morons out of work. I have said repeatedly that I would gladly run in my district - VA-8 against the moron of all morons - Jim Moran if there were some buck and volunteers.

    May G-d Bless the Union.

  20. Wolverine said on 20 Mar 2009 at 9:37 am:
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    Perhaps the next ones to have a 90% tax placed on their income ought to be members of the U.S. Congress. After all, are we not talking here about giving taxpayer money to people who have run an organization into the ground? Talk about chicanery. Talk about a balance sheet far in the red. Pelosi or AIG. What’s the difference really?

  21. Anonymous said on 20 Mar 2009 at 10:11 am:
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    Too bad you have no understanding of the Constitution. A bill of attainder is a bill by which the Congress would find an individual guilty of a criminal law or impose a criminal sanction on a person.

    As has been amply litigated in civil forfeiture and “drug Tax Stamp” cases, civil financial penalties and tax laws, however punitive, are NOT criminal law sanctions and ergo, neither the 8th Amendment nor the attainder clause apply.

    The ex post facto clause relates to making something illegal retroactively. Ergo, it too has no applicability here.

  22. Karla H said on 20 Mar 2009 at 3:56 pm:
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    From another thread, and by me…

    “Don’t get me wrong. I am completely against these AIG maggots getting bonuses from a company that was pulled out of the fire by the taxpayers. But you will note that the government just instituted a 100% tax on these bonuses. Soon they will implement a 100% tax on all YOUR income too! They claim that “laws are difficult to change”. BS! They make up whatever they want, whenever they want! Gentlemen, secure your wallets!”

  23. Karla H said on 20 Mar 2009 at 3:58 pm:
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    We are just digging ourselves deeper… you reward losers and guess what… you get more losers.

  24. Pat.Herve said on 20 Mar 2009 at 4:12 pm:
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    the bonuses were addressed and approved back in November.


  25. Anonymous said on 20 Mar 2009 at 6:26 pm:
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    Correct me if I am wrong, but the entire delegation voted Yes, only 93 voted no. The GOP seemed split on this vote.

  26. Ron said on 20 Mar 2009 at 6:29 pm:
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    Larry Kudlow has some interesting perspective as well:


    Anon 10:11 AM: As I understand it your interpretation of “Bill of Attainder” is incomplete. It can refer to groups as well as individuals, and I am not so sure that it only refers to individuals. There was some legal discussion of this I just saw (and I can’t put my finger on it right now). Maybe some of the other legal minds here (and I am not a lawyer) want to comment on this as well.

    In any case, with the lynch mob that the Obamabots want to set off, aren’t you all glad we have the Second Amendment?

  27. Anonymous said on 21 Mar 2009 at 10:41 am:
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    Implement one facet of Sharia Law on a “one time” basis, and stone the entire congress to almost death. Maybe they would then get the message that they are the problem. Blame Bush and Hussein all you want, but congress has the power of the purse and they can direct traffic. “Retainer” bonuses are a means of keeping key people in place until the restructuring is complete. Without that sort of incentive, they would all leave and let the corporation in a worse bind to comply with the bailout. Congress created the problem and now are attempting to change the focus to the bonuses vice the money laundrying AIG is doing at the behest of the Federal Reserve, Treasury, and themselves.
    The so-called republicans are the worst of the batch because they are going along with the charade in lieu of raising hell. Term limits is one Constitutional Amendment we should all be pushing for congress. These jackasses never go home when they get retire or get booted out. They hang around Washington and lobby their cabal in Congress and that law should be extended and stirctly enforced.

  28. BattleCat said on 21 Mar 2009 at 2:30 pm:
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    There’s a new item on the menu at Fenway Park this summer…the Barney Frank. If you don’t like it, you can stick it up your ass.

  29. Anonymous said on 21 Mar 2009 at 10:31 pm:
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    There are NOW (4) lobbyists for EACH MEMBER OF CONGRESS. Do the Math. UNBELIEVABLE BUT TRUE!

  30. BothPartiesColludeAgainstYou said on 23 Mar 2009 at 9:37 am:
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    Luckily, many of you are Christians, and therefore don’t need to worry about money issues.

    Matthew Chapter 6, verses 19-34 :

    19″Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
    22″The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light. 23But if your eyes are bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

    24″No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

    25″Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life[b]?
    28″And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

  31. DPortM said on 25 Mar 2009 at 4:59 am:
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    You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy
    out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another
    person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to
    anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody
    else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to
    work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the
    other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody
    else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about
    the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.

    ~~~~~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931

  32. freedom said on 26 Mar 2009 at 6:53 am:
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    So simple, DPortM….yet so few understand it.

  33. freedom said on 26 Mar 2009 at 7:08 am:
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    Thank you for your wisdom, “Both Parties…” but, do you really think that if we all just sit down and wait for God to feed, clothe and shelter us that everything will in fact be peachy-keen? I think not. God is a worker and doesn’t rely upon others to take care of Him.

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