Congress Crossed A Dangerous Line Today,…
I almost couldn’t believe my eyes when I’d read that federal legislators were working on a plan to recover bonus money spent by AIG to fulfill a contract that they had to honor. I was literally shocked out of my body when I’d read that the House had passed the bill and sent it to the Senate. In essence, what the House had done was craft legislation on a super small minority based on a strong hate and sense of decorum that was totally misplaced to tax these people 90% of that bonus in their attempt to recover it, even with the news that some of these people had decided to give the bonuses back.
Obviously, based on a previous post, I don’t really share the outrage everyone else has, even though I think it was over the line, but this was the scariest thing I’ve ever seen our legislators do in my lifetime. In essence, they proved that they could select a minority, no matter what minority it was, and if they had enough votes they could enact punitive legislation against them without thinking about the consequences. They crossed a very dangerous line, one that someone down the line is going to try to do again at some point now that they’ve proven it can be done.
I went to Twitter to share the story and my shock, expecting to have at least one or two people agree with me. Instead, every response I got seemed to feel just fine with it, saying these people deserved what they got. That shocked me even more; could people really be so short sighted that they couldn’t understand the ramifications of what had occurred?
Has everyone forgotten not only distant history, but some history that’s not so far away? Has everyone forgotten that the rise of Hitler came because he was initially elected into power, and as he grabbed more and more “legal” power he was able to become the violent dictator he was, as Chavez continues to do in Venezuela today? At the same time, how many people have forgotten how outraged most of us were when we learned that former President Bush had allowed illegal wiretaps without getting approval from either Congress or the Justice Department because, in his view, he had special “war” powers that allowed him to do it?
As we let this event from today sink in, has it occurred to anyone else except me that if, one day, the House or Senate decided to punish a state by drafting legislation to levy a federal tax on every citizen of that state 50%, and there isn’t a state with enough representatives of any state in either the House or Senate to prevent it, that they could do it and get away with it, if they could get the President to sign it? Or, if they decided that they wanted to bust up a union in any state, including federal employees, by imposing special taxes against those people? What contract could ever be safe, or, for that matter, what person could ever really be safe, against that kind of abrogation of responsibility? You want to learn what true taxation without representation is?
Thankfully for my sanity, this evening I learned that my wife agreed with me. Then, on the Tonight Show, I learned that not only did Jay Leno also agree with me, but President Obama, in his own way, seemed to indicate that he wouldn’t sign the bill, understanding both Jay’s and my points that, though these legislators are expressing their anger, at a certain point someone has to step up and make the appropriate move and response to what happened.
I hate to say this, but Pandora’s Box was opened a small crack today. Small enough so that only one bad thing escaped, probably the one that hadn’t been eating well. We, the people, are in danger, and I fear it’s only time and the “right” president in office at the time who will one day exploit, for whatever purposes, what happened today.
And they wonder why people don’t trust them; please!