AIG and the Rule of the Mob

Remember those scenes from Frankenstein when the mobs come out with their burning torches and pitchforks to chase the “monster’?   Or if you prefer the near identical scene in any of the movies about the French Revolution and the age of Robespierre.  It sure seems to me that we are watching the same thing unfold now with regard to the bonuses paid out to some AIG executives.  

I didn’t want to write about this topic again at all.  I had planned a entry regarding the purpose of Lee’s invasion of Pa. in 1863 and its broader implications and lessons for today.  But then I get home and the news is filled with politicians ranting and fuming about these bonuses and threatening our fellow citizens with draconian measures to right what they perceive to be a wrong.  For those of you new here, I would point out again that I have had my dealings with AIG  in the courtroom in the last few years and I do not like them at all.  I found them loathsome in their business morality.  But they followed the law.  They tried to manipulate it but hell, that is what lawyers are paid to do.  Anyway, I have no personal sympathy with any of the people getting those bonuses but I do have a very high regard for our rights under the Constitution and for the equity from my government.  I don’t like anyone that tries to be a bully.  Our government is acting like the classic bully.  That sleazebag Schumer said it plain as day that the government would take back the money by taxing it 100%!

These people had contracts that were signed over a year ago from all reports and that makes sense.   The government didn’t have to bailout AIG and take on these contracts in the first place.  Did you ask the government to bail them out?  I damn sure didn’t and was opposed to it from the first.  I think those investors who made the wrong call should have lost their money just as you and I have lost our  money in the market over the last few months.  You think we could convince the politicians that collective we are “too big to fail” and our losses would cause “systemic risk” to the market?  The rights under contracts are property and the government is not allowed under the Constitution to take property without just compensation under the 5th amendment.  Of course those bullies and thugs in Congress say they aren’t “taking” anything but merely adjusting the tax code.   This is a classic example of why we need the tax code dramatically revamped.  It is used for so many purposes other than the collection of taxes for legitimate government aims.  It is being used to punish behavoir.  In this case behavoir that is perfectly legal I might add.  The right to contract is protected by our Constitution and is recognized by it and all the States are required to honor the legitimacy of contracts in other States. 

We don’t do, or at least we are not supposed to do, ex post facto laws or bills of attainder under Article One of the Constitution.  Since the “crime” committed is not treason or other high crime, some might argue that doesn’t apply but I would wager the US Supreme Court might differ.  After all  they have made up out of whole cloth “rights” that aren’t even mentioned in the Constitution and here they would only be asked to interpret a specific prohibition.  The attainder was used to take the assets or property from those convicted for crimes.  But the “conviction” didn’t mean necessarily in a regular court of law.   It could be a “kangaroo” court if you will.  Here these thieves in Congress are proposing taking property and contract rights from people as an attainder pure and simple and it certainly is ex post facto.  They are changing the rules of the game after it has been played to change the score to their liking.  That is a most unfair concept to the average American. 

If the issue is did we get our money’s worth for the bonuses then I have another question or two. Clearly the allegation is that we have not.  But, first, who knows yet if we have or not?  Secondly, if that is the new standard for enforcing contracts then we should demand that all 535 members of Congress be required to forfeit their salaries and all benefits including pensions because we damn sure aren’t getting our money’s worth from them.  I am ready to go to trial on that and prepared to call my first witness.

Mostly what concerns me is the mob mentality and hypocrisy of these politicians and the obvious abuse of power.  I urge you to forget whether these people at AIG “deserved” the money; they had a contractual right to the money.  They are being punished because it is politically expedient.  If this abuse and bullying can happen  to them then what makes you think you, your union, your church, your industry might not be next in their sights?  If the butcher in your neighborhood is making $100,000.00 a year  and the price of beef soars because of the drought and the fact that the government has mandated that the feed stocks (corn) has to be used for ethanol in cars rather than as a cattle feed and soon he is making $120,000.00 a year; I ask should he now be punished too?  Is that also an outrage? 

Have we reached the point that the mob will rule?  Are we now going to have 51% dominance where when that magic is reached and they (whoever makes up that 51%) can decide to punish and confiscate the property of everyone they don’t like?  Whether Democrat or Republican if you have that number then you can grab anything you want from those you don’t like for whatever the reason and under the announced thinking now without any protection at all under the Constitution.  They merely use the tax code to impoverish you and leave penniless.  You best think about that long and hard before you support this thief by Congress of that bonus money.

I don’t like it that those characters at AIG got this money but I hate even more the proposals floating about  to simply seize their assets for doing legitimate work and asking that their contracts be honored as written.  Those executives are NOT the issue, the issue is our rights as citizens.  The unworthy must be protected to protect us all.   If they are taxed on all those bonuses then a very dark cloud has descended over our nation. 

Generally speaking, women are generally speaking.  Dr. Durrett

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Filed under Culture, government, law

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