Saturday, October 4, 2008

Bailout Retribution

Well, the bailout legislation passed-----all pimped out with pork too.

And maybe we had to pass it. It's like we were hostages being driven at breakneck speeds in a getaway car; if we grabbed the kidnapper's gun and shot him, weren't we also likely to be killed in the crash?

But let's not despair. There may be a redress. It's true that there is no clawback provision that will strip the unsavoury bankers of their unseemly incomes from the last several years, but what about changing estate taxes?

Americans typically are not in favor of these, but that is because they are mistakenly under the impression that these taxes will affect them. Now seems like a great time to push for taxing estates of over, say, $50 million or so at severely high rates. People (judging from those debate dials) are in the mood to punish greed and excess. Clearly the issues of trusts and other estate planning dodges will need to be addressed too.

Frankly, I've always been in favor of high estate taxes for the super wealthy. Spreading the wealth around is a great way to increase our overall sense of economic well-being; after all, what is the marginal utility of that billionth dollar?


djinn said...

What about that old-fashioned remedy so popular amongst the law-and-order set, JAIL?

djinn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kerfuffler said...

Well, sure, for the cases where there was actual fraud, except that it's so hard to prove every case in a court of law. Remember how much justice we saw after Enron? Imagine the speed of our legal system trying every investment banker for every transaction. (It's faster to simply wait for them to die!) And the cost of all that litigation!!!

We need to revise estate taxes, and this mess just might help to energize people. Besides, many financiers (like Paulson who made hundreds of millions) took advantage while not necessarily doing anything illegal.

djinn said...

Ah, yes; when you get to make the laws, how astonishing when your behavior turns out to be perfectly within bounds....

Anonymous said...

Finger Pointing? Blame? Punishment?
Yes, it's valuable.
It's how children learn to avoid danger, behave in society, and grow into mature, useful adults.
These greedy bastards who were in charge and instrumental in the economic Armageddon should have been punished as children, then maybe we wouldn't be in such dire straights.
So it's up to us, the "village", to raise these children.
Why can I not find anywhere on the web, people who will stand up and actively go after the culprits of the collapse? Urge the Govt, sue them, hell, grab torches and pitchforks and run them out of town.
Who is with me?!

And yes, I am well aware that we the people, are responsible. Well, some of us.
It couldn't have happened with out thousands of people taking sub prime loans and buying houses they couldn't afford. But losing their homes is a well earned punishment.

And the shady loan officers and real estate agents that took advantage of these people? I'd like to say they get what's coming to them, but you are right. They should be punished as well.

But in the mean time, I want the big guys. Those walking away with millions, while my parents, hard working, retired teachers who will spend their twilight years worrying and (were it not for my devotion as a son) suffering. Estate taxes for 50 million is a great start, but I want a deterrent, I want a modicum of satisfaction, and most of all, I want justice!

djinn said...

I, sadly, agree. I think that the best that can be done at this point for the immense past sins of the giants of finance is Estate taxes with teeth.