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Thoughts Online Magazine
Collected Articles on Culture & Politics
19th-Mar-2009 10:54 pm
"Do what I meant for you to do, or I will punish you. I don't have to spell things out, you're just supposed to know what I want. If you make me angry, I'll get you."

It's not a quote. It's just a loose paraphrase of the governing philosophy of the current administration and Congress. They don't like the retention bonuses paid to employees who are being heavily recruited by other firms, so they're going to tax them away. They will then be surprised when the people leave AIG and go to work elsewhere: and I'm sure they will then have a special tax on "unpatriotic employers" and "predatory firms". Brilliant management style, isn't it? The assumption that employees should be serfs, that all contracts are voidable at the whim of Congress, that tax is designed to punish. Illuminating.

And in this context, let me ask a question: do you believe that anyone will start businesses once they see that a political whim can destroy them, with or without fault? I have already talked to people who are trimming their sails, adjusting their salaries and hours to work within the new punitive tax guidelines. Some are in conversations with securities firms in London. I await the legal response to that: possibly something involving forbidding citizens to take too many assets, and getting specific new tax treaties in place to require the UK to enforce US tax law, or cooperate with IRS requests. Not that, in light of their brilliant diplomacy with the UK so far, they'd be likely to be met with cooperation. That was not George Bush's doing, I'd remind you: US prestige under Bush was such that countries opposing him usually elected parties that agreed with him more closely (viz Canada, Germany, France, among others). I do not expect such a thing at the moment.
20th-Mar-2009 08:11 am (UTC)
You forget that this bill is unconstitutional on several grounds. I don't think it will be long before someone goes to the Supreme Court to see whether contracts are still sacred, and ad personam legislation still unacceptable, in the United States. I can tell you that no European parliament would ever have proposed such a nakedly ad personam piece of legislation, and that if anyone had been mad enough to, the first court it met would have struck it down. Crikey, aren't there ANY lawyers in the Democratic Party? I had heard otherwise...
20th-Mar-2009 11:14 pm (UTC)
So far, the obedient chorus thinks the legislation will work. My comment stands. I'd add this, but the subjects are different.

Edited at 2009-03-21 03:41 pm (UTC)
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