Congressman Larry Kissell takes the ‘right’ stand on bonuses.



Congressman Larry Kissell is a man of ethics and integrity. It is like a breath of fresh air to see him in the US Congress. I personally know Larry and I can assure you that he is a very strongly principaled individual. So, when I heard that he had voted against taxing the AIG bonuses, I wanted to hear his reasoning. Here is what he said, an he is right.

Kissell demands AIG pay back 100 percent of bonuses

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Larry Kissell demanded that American Insurance Group (AIG) pay back to the American taxpayers all of its obscene bonus payments as he voted against a measure that allows the government to enact retroactive taxes of up to 90 percent on businesses and individuals.
“Tax penalties should be used to go after those who violate tax laws,” Kissell said. “AIG and its executives should be severely penalized, but arbitrary and retroactive manipulation of the tax code is not the right way to do it. Rather than be taxed at 90 percent, AIG executives– in America and abroad– should be forced to repay at 100 percent the money they received as part of this bonus package. The American taxpayer is the majority owner of AIG, and we demand a 100 percent refund of these shameful and ridiculous bonuses. That is why I signed on to the bi-partisan Paulsen bill.”
Many of those who received bonuses from AIG work in the company’s London branch, and therefore are not subject to American taxation at any rate at any time. Therefore this legislation will not recoup any of that money, even if the measure stands up to likely legal challenges. The measure’s assertion that government has the right to retroactively tax certain individuals as well as to essentially dissolve legal contracts between employers and employees will no doubt place application of the measure in serious jeopardy. The Bi-Partisan Paulsen Bill, HR 1577, puts a two-week deadline on the U.S. Treasury Department to formulate a plan to recoup 100 percent of the AIG bonuses.
“Passing a 90 percent, retroactive tax sets a dangerous precedent from which no industry, business or person may be safe in the future,” said Kissell, a Democrat who represents North Carolina’s 8th District. “Egregious taxation is not the answer to our nation’s ills, even those as blatant and shameful as the ones committed by AIG. The department of the Treasury has the responsibility to regulate these matters and they should do so. We must not always turn to tax hikes to solve every problem presented to us in Congress. ”
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Here is also an article Howie Klein wrote on Larry’s belief that this is unconstitutional and won’t actually get the money back.

Larry was a Blue America candidate last year (and in 2006). He’s 100% dedicated to the aspirations and well being of working families. So I was shocked today to see he was one of the six Democrats who voted with Boehner and the other corporately owned Republicans against the bill to take back the bonuses. So I asked what’s up. Short version: Larry doesn’t want them to keep the bonuses, of course but, like many progressives, he doesn’t think this bill will actually be enacted. He worries it is unconstitutional and then the folks who did this will get off without penalty– particularly all the non-Americans who were given bonuses (with our tax dollars). Larry:

“Tax penalties should be used to go after those who violate tax laws,” Kissell said. “AIG and its executives should be severely penalized, but arbitrary and retroactive manipulation of the tax code is not the right way to do it. Rather than be taxed at 90 percent, AIG executives– in America and abroad– should be forced to repay at 100 percent the money they received as part of this bonus package. The American taxpayer is the majority owner of AIG, and we demand a 100 percent refund of these shameful and ridiculous bonuses. That is why I signed on to the bi-partisan Paulsen bill… Passing a 90 percent, retroactive tax sets a dangerous precedent from which no industry, business or person may be safe in the future. Egregious taxation is not the answer to our nation’s ills, even those as blatant and shameful as the ones committed by AIG. The department of the Treasury has the responsibility to regulate these matters and they should do so. We must not always turn to tax hikes to solve every problem presented to us in Congress.

Way to go Larry … standing your ground for the American people.

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~ by citizenjournalistreview on March 20, 2009.

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