Thursday, February 04, 2010


This $100 million AIG bonus story is truly outrageous. Here’s a company that remains TARPed and bailed-out to the staggering tune of $124 billion, courtesy of the taxpayers. AIG already has received $230 million in prior bonuses from the taxpayers. Let me state unequivocally: This is not free-market capitalism.

I’m making this case against AIG bonuses as a market-based conservative, not as a left-wing populist. As I have argued before regarding commercial-bank bonuses, TARPed firms on the taxpayer dole should forego bonus payments.

You know, if AIG had been put into bankruptcy, as they should have been, all these bonus contracts would have been nullified, as would shareholders, creditors, and all the rest. I don’t understand why we’re sitting by and allowing these bonus payments to be made.

That said, once banks get off of TARP, and once they have paid back taxpayers in full, I say let free-market capitalism roll. But not when you’re on the taxpayer dole.

Backroom deals like this are sparking a political revolution across the country. I can’t wait to hear what Senator-elect Brown says about all this when he is formally sworn in later today.

Another outrage is this $2 trillion tax hike in the Obama budget. This thing is a job destroyer. Let me narrow it down: Why in the world would we raise corporate and capital-gains taxes on the very people who are most likely to invest in the new businesses, or new ventures, that create new jobs?

Instead of raising the capital-gains tax rate to 20 percent, we should be cutting it to 10 percent. We should be slashing business tax rates for large and small corporations, not increasing them. Supply-side incentives have worked before, and they will work again.

This should be a major rallying cry for the new Scott Brown Republicans and the sensible Democrats who are willing to follow John F. Kennedy’s lead that lower tax rates ultimately produce more economic growth, higher revenues, and smaller budget deficits.

We get a jobs report tomorrow. It doesn’t seem likely that the 10 percent unemployment rate will fall. This economy needs more torque, not drag. It needs incentives, not obstacles to risk and reward and expansion.

Everybody ought to quit the class-warfare tax-hike message for the “rich” and instead refocus on a tax-cutting spending-limitation message that will grow our economy and create jobs through free-market private enterprise.