I’d like to respond to Michael Lauck’s remarks from his opinion article “Taxes, banks and bailouts detrimental to economy” in Friday’s issue. He wrote, “To tax bonuses would be idiotic, unthinkable and downright unconstitutional.” Taxing bonuses is none of these things. In what business does it make sense that you get a bonus for doing a bad job? Working for any other business you would be lucky not to get fired, much less get a bonus.
Further, it would not be unconstitutional. The author mentions “ex post facto law,” but this does not apply. First, this is not a civil or criminal trial. Second, the government is not making bonuses illegal. To his credit the author does mention that the Supreme Court ruled that this law doesn’t apply, but he does mislead the reader into thinking it should. I find it rather humorous that he bemoans the Supreme Court’s decision while still extolling the Founding Fathers and the Constitution, the exact devices that allowed and created the Supreme Court to begin with.
The author then goes on to say that, “…this new tax may be the first step in destroying Britain’s banking sector.” Again, the author doesn’t seem to understand that basic banking has traditionally been separate from the type of prospecting/investing that led to the global economic meltdown. There is a reason the Glass-Stegal act was created to separate these two practices. Banking will not change; this is merely a bluff by powerful investors, and should be seen as such. The type of jobs they perform should be heavily regulated and watched.
Iceland is a prime example of how an economy built on just the financial sector is doomed to failure. If investors want to complain about taxes and move because of them, then let them. Their type of work adds nothing to the economy. At least they will be destroying another country.
To add insult to injury, Lauck proposes that taxing bonuses may even lead to the recession getting worse. The ironic thing is the recession won’t be bad because bankers won’t get their bonuses. It will be bad because no one will have jobs because bankers won’t lend money to small businesses that created them. Yet we’re asked to feel sorry for them because their bonuses could possibly be taxed when they were the people responsible for this mess in the first place?
At least he did get one thing right: The government should not have bailed out any of these businesses. That way none of these bankers would have jobs just like the other 10 percent of the country, and maybe they would actually feel responsible, though I’m betting that would be highly unlikely.
Thomas Guidry is a 2007 graduate in computer information science from Lafayette, La.