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Turning Swords Into Plowshares

Republicans Vote for Confiscatory Tax, the House passed Charlie Rangel's ridiculous bill, retroactively taxing the AIG bonuses at 90 percent. As the Washington Post reported today:

... 85 fellow Republicans joined 243 Democrats in voting "yes." It was opposed by six Democrats and 87 Republicans.
The good news is that many conservatives opposed this.

While I understand and appreciate the political realities -- and the tremendous populist outrage out there -- the notion that supposed pro-liberty fiscal conservatives such as Eric Cantor and Paul Ryan would vote for something so blatantly unconstitutional is frankly shocking.

As the Club for Growth's Andy Roth blogs,

Somebody should make a photocopy of Article 1, Section 9, Clause 3 of the Constitution and send it to those lawmakers who voted YES. That clause states, "No Bill of Attainder or ex post facto Law shall be passed."

... ALL lawmakers who profess respect for the Constitution should have voted NO on this bill. Especially those in the fiscally conservative Republican Study Committee. They should know better than to pay heed to overemotional populism at the expense of our country's most sacred document.

Of course, the true blame for this should be laid at the feet of those who voted for the bailouts. Without the bailouts, the executive bonuses would not have been possible.

Regardless of how one feels about the AIG fat-cats, we live under the rule of law. If the government cannot honor a contract, we truly have problems, but as it has been said, "the power to tax is the power to destroy".

National Taxpayers Union will score against this bill in its Congressional ratings. Americans for Tax Reform is "strongly opposed" to this tax, and has urged Members of Congress to vote "no" -- but says their "Taxpayer Protection Pledge" does not apply to this vote.

See their statement below the jump ... [# More #]

Americans for Tax Reform remains STRONGLY OPPOSED to H.R. 1596, the Rangel-Pelosi bill to tax AIG bonuses in order to deflect blame from Secretary Geithner's failed mismanagement of Treasury funds.

Secretary Geithner and the White House promised taxpayers that every penny of their latest bailout would be well-spent. AIG has received $170 billion in taxpayer money, and recently announced that it was granting $165 million in bonuses for AIG executives.

It was wrong for President Obama to put as head of the Treasury Department someone who didn't pay all his taxes. It was wrong for Congress to vote to give taxpayer money to bail out failing companies. It was wrong for Chris Dodd to carve out a special deal for his friends and donors at AIG. It was wrong of Geithner to hand out funds without any protection for taxpayers (such as the Geithner AIG bonus scandal).

The Democrats in Congress are now trying to cover up their expensive mistakes, and to protect Obama, Dodd and Geithner (who made these bad decisions).

The Democrat ploy to cover up and detract from the Obama/Geithner/AIG scandal is to pass a bill of attainder, probably unconstitutional, to pretend to recoup perhaps one-tenth of one percent of the $160 billion they have given AIG.

ATR urges Members of Congress who care about taxpayers to vote "no" on this ploy. The Democrat leadership is bringing this cover-up vote under "suspension," which means it requires a two-thirds vote. Unlike most House votes, a pro-taxpayer minority can actually stop this measure.

ATR urges all Members to vote "no," to demand that Geithner resign, and that Congress enact real legislation forbidding future bailouts and specifically banning AIG from receiving further funds.



March 19, 2009

The Taxpayer Protection Pledge does not apply to H.R. 1596

for the following reasons:

? This is an illegal, unconstitutional, and retroactive bill of attainder. The Pledge was never intended to be a victim of a political football conducted outside of our regular and constitutional legislative process. Bills of attainder, besides being unconstitutional and illegal, are so small they cannot be accurately measured against total federal tax revenues in this short a time window. Bills of attainder are also at heart police actions, and usually result not in higher tax revenues, but a legislatively-desired change in behavior

? This legislation is not a tax bill so much as it is a politically-driven police action by the Congress. The Pledge is intended as a serious commitment by serious defenders of taxpayers. This legislation is not what the Pledge ever envisioned

? Because of provisions allowing for AIG executives to pay back the bonuses, or for the Treasury Secretary to recoup the bonus money in alternative, non-taxing ways, it is very likely that this bill will not, in fact, result in any revenue increase in the final analysis. This is bolstered by the fact that the Joint Tax Committee hasn't scored this bill

? This legislation is intended to provide political cover to Secretary Geithner and President Obama. The tax provisions are merely an afterthought to this political bill, and (for reasons stated above) not likely result in any net income tax increase

? For all the reasons stated above, H.R. 1596 is a special case with highly extenuating circumstances. In order to protect the integrity of the Pledge and faithful Pledge-takers, ATR will not allow the Pledge to be controlled by this illegal political cover-up

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