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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 23, 2009 / 27 Adar 5769

Congress, overtax thyself

By Debra J. Saunders

Debra J. Saunders
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | There is no group more dangerous than one with some power, no scruples and leaders who think that they are really smart and that everyone else is really, really stupid. That description sadly fits not only the Wall Street swells whose credit default swaps toppled U.S. financial markets but also Congress.


Like you, I am outraged at the $165 million paid out in AIG bonuses. I'm furious at the very notion of a bailed-out-by-taxpayers corporation meting out bonuses to anyone "regardless of performance," according to The New York Times' DealBook. Most galling of all, recipients include geniuses from the department that tanked AIG with bad paper.


But as Americans keep discovering, bad can get worse. Witness the House bill that passed Thursday by a 328-93 vote to levy a 90 percent tax on bonuses for executives at corporations that got more than $5 billion in bailout bucks. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proclaimed: "With this resolution, I think that we are making two important statements. One is that the administration should continue in its efforts to recoup, recover the money and prevent these bonuses from going forward. And the other is that we want our money back and we want our money back now for the taxpayers."


Two statements? What about: By about a 328-93 ratio, House members would vote to throw their mothers out of the lifeboat to save themselves.


Here's the short version of why that House vote is probably unconstitutional. As Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., noted before his "nay" vote: "There is something called a bill of attainder. You can't punish a group because you don't like them. You can't have them treated more onerously than somebody else without a trial."


Now for the question as to whether there is any honor left in Washington. President Barack Obama and Congress had the opportunity to pass a measure before the AIG bonuses were paid to limit bonuses paid by corporations that have received federal bailout funds. Yet Congress failed to do so.


Au contraire , the Obama stimulus package included a measure to protect "any bonus payment required to be paid pursuant to a written employment contract executed on or before February 11, 2009."


Sen. Christopher Dodd — the largest recipient of AIG executives' political contributions in the U.S. Senate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics — told CNN Tuesday that he had no idea who inserted that language into the Obama stimulus bill. Then Wednesday, Dodd was forced to admit he himself had submitted that language — at the request of the Obama Treasury Department.


In California this week, President Obama told a town hall meeting: "I know Washington's all in a tizzy, and everybody's pointing fingers at each other and saying it's their fault, the Democrats' fault, the Republicans' fault. Listen, I'll take responsibility; I'm the president."


After the House passed the tax-the-bonuses bill, Obama announced, "Now this legislation moves to the Senate, and I look forward to receiving a final product that will serve as a strong signal to the executives who run these firms that such compensation will not be tolerated."


It would be a sorry example of taking responsibility for Obama to sign a measure that goes back on not only his own stimulus package but also the very language that his people asked Dodd to insert. I feel as if I'm watching a movie in which a hired thug kills someone and then another hired thug kills the first thug and then another thug kills the second thug.


In less than two months in office, Obama has shown that in a town full of snakes, he's the fastest runner. Who on Wall Street will trust him now?


On Monday, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, suggested AIG executives take old-fashioned responsibility and show remorse for their failures — and "resign or go commit suicide," a statement that Grassley later half-rescinded Washington-style.


Actually, AIG Chief Executive Officer Edward Liddy was working on just that. As he told a House Financial Services subcommittee Wednesday, some bonus recipients volunteered to return 100 percent of their bonuses, and he was asking those who make more than $100,000 a year to return half.


If Liddy can step up to the plate, why not Congress and Obama? If Washington truly believes that entities that screw up should not be subsidized by taxpayers and if Obama truly believes in taking responsibility, then Congress should pass and the president should sign a bill to levy a 90 percent tax on the pay and benefits of Congress and the president. Or they could match AIG and go halves.


Or do members want to argue that more than financial institutions, their precious hides are what is too big to fail?

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© 2009, Creators Syndicate

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