90% Tax on bonus: Are we being fair?

AIG bonuses has been the top issue in the news for more than a week now. Almost everyone including media, politicians, public are emotionally charged up. There is so much bad blood and negativity out there. Is all this hype & knee jerk reactions justified? I don't think so. We all seem to be carried away by this hype created/fueled by media & politicians and are failing to look at this in a bipartisan and level headed manner.

I agree that careless decisions by some of the senior banking executives led us to this current situation. In reality most of these execs who were responsible for this crisis have already left or have been forced to leave the financial institutions. They have made their money and have got away scot-free. The folks that are remaining are the folks that were working in profitable units of the banks(not involved with crisis), or those that have been hired/charged with fixing this crisis and getting things back in control, or relatively junior folks that merely followed orders. These are the folks that are working hard today to keep the system running, These are the folks that are trying their best to help us recover from this crisis. Is it fair on our part to penalize them?

One of the things that is happening today is generalization, rather than picking out and punishing the folks that caused this crisis, we seem to be indicting the complete banking community and focusing our ire & hatred on them. The politicians that are pushing for the 90% tax on bonuses today are the same folks that legalized & encouraged complex risky instruments like CDS etc in the name of liberalization. Don't they have an equal or higher responsibility for this bubble? Implementing the 90% taxation of bonuses for all bankers is a gross violation of individual rights(failing to pay for the work done/wrongly appropriating the money) and discrimination of banking community. This is no different than racial or ethnic discrimination, in this case discrimination is based on industry. This is also gross misuse of powers by the politicians. I can understand this happening in a Tanzania or North Korea but not in the US. The majority of folks impacted by this law are innocents. I'm surprised that there isn't any level headed person in our political system, that can rise above these silly politics and come up with a bi-partisan, honest and just solution.

Lastly, we seem to be looking at just one side of the coin. Here's a letter by an AIG executive to the CEO highlighting other side of the coin. I hope some of the media personalities and politicians that are fueling this hatred get to read this and realize their mistake.

Pls let me know your thoughts on this issue.

Photo Credits: fintag, hanneorla


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