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Dash of Pepper

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Under the radar-the real outrage
By SHEILAH PEPPER
The Gazette Staff
"I'm shocked, SHOCKED to find there is gambling in Casablanca!" - Claude Rains as Capt. Louis Renault in the film ‘Casablanca', 1942.
"We're outraged, OUTRAGED to find that AIG gave bonuses!" - Members of the U.S. Congress, 2009.
While half the population was expressing outrage about the AIG staff bonuses, and the other half was watching American Idol, some critically important events were slipping under the radar.
White House operatives ginned up a good part of this outrage and called out their ACORN operatives to, in effect, stalk AIG executive's homes in the New York suburbs. (By the way, ACORN is government-funded. Think about that for a moment.)
Democrat legislators (and even a few Republicans) fell for the distraction tactics and expressed their outrage at this misuse of public stimulus funds, although the people at AIG are amateurs compared to the massive wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars by this U.S. Congress.
All of this, in the eyes of the White House political operatives, was extremely beneficial to them in two ways.
One - it took the public's mind off the President's massive and scary budget proposals. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office came out with this incredibly harsh statement last week:
"The President's proposal would add $4.0 trillion to the baseline deficits over the period 2010 through 2019."
OMB projects that if those proposals were enacted, the deficit would total $1.8 trillion (13.1 of GDP) in 2009, and $1.4 trillion (9.6 percent of GDP) in 2010. It would decline to about 4 percent of GDP by 2012 and remain between 4 percent and six percent of GDP through 2019.
That's twice the projected deficit as a percent of GDP versus figures outlined in Obama's budget. In other words, the deficit will be $1.6 trillion greater over the next 10 years than the President's budget plan forecasts.
Moreover, the specious programs and enlarged entitlements in the budget take us down the road to old-style socialism. That has failed miserably wherever it has been tried through history. Governments don't PRODUCE wealth, they can only spend it. The problem with socialism is eventually, the money runs out.
Secondly, the AIG distraction machine allowed the House to pass a horrible, precedent-setting piece of legislation that RETROACTIVELY taxes the AIG bonuses, if the recipient makes $250,000 or more.
This won't just apply to AIG. Any firm receiving stimulus money from Washington is liable, and last weekend, there was a report the White House is considering measures to set ALL executive compensation. Hopefully, this report will have proven unfounded by the time you read this.
But take the case of Well Fargo. They didn't want the stimulus money but were forced to take $5 billion, so Wells Fargo employees who receive bonuses would be subject to Pelosi's proposed tax.
Here's a scenario to what could happen to them, as presented recently by attorney John Hinderaker, one of the people who runs the web site Powerline:
"If you work at Wells Fargo and get a $10,000 bonus for good work in 2008 and your husband makes $250,000 or more this year, the government steals it all.
It will be taxed at 90 percent federal tax plus 8.5 percent state tax and Medicare.
If Pelosi's bill is enacted into law and upheld by the courts, there would be NO LIMIT to the arbitrary power of Congress. If that happens, we have no property rights and there is no Constitution - no equal protection clause, no due process clause, no impairments of contracts clause, no bill of attainder/ex post facto law clause. Instead, we will be living in a majoritarian tyranny."
Another scary footnote: Last week, the government quietly printed one trillion in cash and gave it to itself. I'm not an economist, but those I have read or listened to say this is completely uncharted territory.
Moral of the story: Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom. Pray it is not too late.
Copyright©2009SheilahPepper
Last Updated on Friday, 12 June 2009 14:05  

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