Tuesday, March 24, 2009

AIG Fascism

There’s been a lot of careless talk, on both sides of the political aisle, warning that the other political party will transform the United States into a totalitarian state. Most of such talk can be safely ignored; nothing Bush did could have turned America into Mussolini’s Italy, and Barack Obama’s economic policies, while excessively overreaching and aggressive, aren’t out of the Lenin playbook.

Congress’ decision to tax the now infamous AIG bonuses at (or near) 100% is not totalitarianism—it is an understandable, if wholly irrational, response to something that seems (but isn’t) unjust, and something that provides ample ammunition for populists. But it is a fascistic thing to do, and is worrying.

It takes more than one isolated incident to provide proof, or even evidence, that the nation is on its way to fascism. But then, it is equally true that in any totalitarian government, there is one act that is the first step along the road to tyranny.

Congress’ response to the bailouts is undeniably unjust, and hypocritical, and wrong. Levying a tax only on those who received bonus money from AIG is probably an example of an ex post facto law, and represents of the actions of a government who is willing to forcibly take any money it feels is undeserved.

Even if we assume that those AIG employees shouldn’t have received those bonuses, Congress’ actions are no more justified, given that AIG was authorized to hand out those bonuses in the stimulus bill. It is one thing to pass an ex post facto law, but to pass an ex post facto law that reverses a law that you yourself made only a few weeks earlier is the height of chutzpah.

Congress is trying to do what is right here, but they are going about it in very much the wrong way. The end doesn’t justify the means, and creating an unjust law in order to right a perceived wrong is unacceptable. That sort of thing doesn’t belong in a democracy—it works better in totalitarianism.

Congress’ actions here are high-handed, and unjust. Do they mean that the nation is headed for totalitarianism? No. Just like one swallow does not make a spring, one unjust action is not ample evidence for accusations of fascism. But even if Congress’ proposal here isn’t a sign of impending fascism, it’s still worrying.

First, because it sets a dangerous pattern. No one in our government wants to set up a authoritarian regime now. But if some one ever does want to, it’s laws like this one that provide such people with a precedent, and which undercuts justice and the rule of law. Bad laws have consequences.

Second, the popularity of this proposed law (and really, any amount of popularity is too much in this case) says something about our nation. If this law is really unjust, what does it say about our country that nearly everyone is willing to accept it at the very least, and that many people actively support it? When totalitarianism comes, it is seldom the result of a one man power grab. It usually comes because the population prefers security over freedom.

Will that happen here? Eventually, maybe, but probably not now. (And it is possible that it will all be a moot point—most of the AIG employees involved have bowed under the pressure and returned their bonuses, which would make any law unnecessary) But as Jefferson said, “the price of liberty is eternal vigilance.” Anyone, left or right, who loves liberty should oppose this punitive, ex post facto law. It is wrong and dangerous.


At March 24, 2009 at 9:01 AM , Blogger Name: Soapboxgod said...

"Congress is trying to do what is right here..."

I don't believe they are. I believe they know full well what they and the president are doing. They are deflecting attention from the real issue.

Framing the issue such that bonuses were paid after having recieved taxpayer dollars is not the primary issue.

Had AIG used the money for any other such operating costs, the money still would have been spent.

And that is the primary issue. Yet, too many people seem all to willing to forgive that aspect of it and instead play right into the political class' slated goal of stoking the flames of class envy.

At March 25, 2009 at 7:56 PM , Blogger Beth said...

There is a lot of bad precedences being set by this Congress and this administration.

At November 5, 2014 at 5:34 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

louis vuitton outlet, coach purses, prada outlet, tiffany and co jewelry, nike shoes, red bottom shoes, longchamp handbags, oakley sunglasses, longchamp outlet, christian louboutin outlet, oakley vault, kate spade handbags, louis vuitton handbags, true religion outlet, louis vuitton outlet online, coach outlet, ray ban outlet, nike air max, burberry outlet online, polo ralph lauren outlet, kate spade outlet online, polo ralph lauren, coach outlet store online, nike air max, tiffany jewelry, cheap oakley sunglasses, coach outlet, true religion, christian louboutin, longchamp outlet online, burberry outlet online, michael kors outlet online, michael kors outlet store, michael kors outlet online, tory burch outlet, michael kors outlet, chanel handbags, gucci handbags, michael kors outlet online, nike free, louis vuitton outlet, michael kors outlet online, ray ban sunglasses, christian louboutin shoes, louis vuitton, jordan shoes, prada handbags

At November 5, 2014 at 5:41 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

nike blazer pas cher, lacoste pas cher, timberland, north face, air max, guess pas cher, nike free, air jordan, sac louis vuitton, air max pas cher, hollister, michael kors canada, lululemon, barbour, abercrombie and fitch, burberry pas cher, hermes pas cher, vans pas cher, north face pas cher, nike air max, sac vanessa bruno, chaussure louboutin, mulberry, nike roshe run, ralph lauren pas cher, louis vuitton, louis vuitton pas cher, sac michael kors, converse pas cher, nike free pas cher, oakley pas cher, ralph lauren, longchamp, new balance pas cher, hollister, nike roshe, louis vuitton uk, tn pas cher, scarpe hogan, true religion jeans, nike air force, longchamp pas cher, michael kors uk, ray ban pas cher, ray ban uk, true religion outlet, nike air max

At November 5, 2014 at 5:44 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

marc jacobs outlet, beats headphones, canada goose, rolex watches, abercrombie and fitch, celine handbags, new balance outlet, instyler ionic styler, ugg boots, reebok shoes, roshe run, uggs on sale, ghd, north face jackets, nike huarache, valentino shoes, vans outlet, ugg outlet, p90x workout, ugg soldes, mont blanc pens, chi flat iron, canada goose outlet, lululemon outlet, ferragamo shoes, longchamp, nfl jerseys, asics shoes, mac cosmetics, bottega veneta, north face outlet, herve leger, birkin bag, wedding dresses, insanity workout, soccer shoes, soccer jerseys, giuseppe zanotti, nike trainers, canada goose outlet, babyliss pro, canada goose outlet, hollister, jimmy choo shoes, uggs outlet, ugg, mcm handbags

At November 5, 2014 at 5:47 PM , Blogger oakleyses said...

moncler, moncler outlet, hollister, juicy couture outlet, ralph lauren, moncler, louis vuitton canada, montre femme, moncler, canada goose pas cher, pandora uk, parajumpers outlet, thomas sabo uk, iphone 6 case, ray ban, lancel, oakley, swarovski jewelry, supra shoes, moncler, louboutin, uggs canada, coach outlet, swarovski uk, wedding dress, ugg, canada goose, baseball bats, canada goose, timberland shoes, replica watches, pandora jewelry, gucci, moncler, converse shoes, air max, karen millen, hollister clothing, juicy couture outlet, pandora charms, hollister canada, vans, converse, links of london uk, nike air max, moncler, toms outlet, canada goose uk


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home