Former libertarian party presidential nominee Bob Barr says that there’s an easy solution to this mess about the AIG bonuses–tax the lawmakers who voted for the amendment that permitted the bonuses to be paid.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
The Congress should simply assess those senators and representatives who voted for the legislation a pro rata share of the $165 million in questionable bonuses. This actually would cause little hurt to many of those members of Congress who voted in favour of AIG, since they rank among the richest members. For example, by Sen. John Kerry’s own estimates, his net worth is around $231 million (Forbes magazine puts his wealth a bit higher — at $1 billion). He is considered the wealthiest member of the Congress and is a champion of “fairness,” so paying perhaps an even larger share of the bonuses than whatever his pro rata share would be ($165 million divided by 306, which is the total number of representatives and senators voting for the measure) should sit well with him. And even though Sen. Dodd is not among the wealthiest of the senators, his recent financial disclosure forms include a large number of assets he values in excess of $100,000, and several worth as much as $250,000 each.
Such a self-effacing move by the Congress might spur former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson — whose net worth was estimated at $700 million when he became the top dog at the Treasury in 2006 — to kick in a fair share. Even his successor, the hapless Geithner, whose net worth pales in comparison (topping out at just $1.7 million), might thus be shamed into contributing his fair share. Perhaps President Barack Obama who, like Sen. Dodd, was “shocked and amazed” when the AIG bonuses came to light, and who has reaped millions from the sales of his books, would feel moved to pay his fair share.
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