NO ... I'm not saying that the AIG employees who got these bonuses necessarily earned them. I'm still waiting to meet the man who actually earned every dollar and benefit he has received from his employer. We call him Sully. The Financial Services Division of AIG is a basket case. The fact is, though, AIG had a contractual obligation to pay those bonuses, and failure to do so would have been actionable. A good trial attorney would manage to get double the amount due plus fees. All of the wealth envy and moaning about the evil, disgusting, putrid, worthless rich won't make those contracts void. The decision to pay those bonuses pursuant to the legally enforceable contracts was the right one.
More disgusting than the bonuses, however, is the political reaction to them. If ever there was a time for pitchforks and torches -- this should have been it. Not because of the AIG bonuses ... but because of what transpired in the Congress last week. For the first time that I can remember the Imperial Congress of the United States has passed a law establishing a confiscatory tax to be levied on certain individuals -- not for the purpose of raising revenue -- but strictly for the purpose of punishment. The political class has determined, without the benefit of due process or a trial, that the actions of the AIG employees in accepting these bonuses was a crime, and that crime shall be punished by seizure of the money. Legislation to single out and punish someone without due process is constitutionally forbidden. But who cares? What does the Constitution mean any more anyway?