- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The indignation on the part of some members of Congress over the bonuses for American International Group Inc. employees has been significant. As pointed out in a previous editorial (“How to get back the AIG bonuses,” Opinion, March 18) many of the loudest complainers have received a great deal from those same AIG employees. Their complaints obviously do not ring true.

Additionally, many of these senators and representatives seem to think they can simply legislate confiscation of the bonuses. Even the president seems to think he or Congress can stop the payment of the bonuses or recoup the money. For supposedly intelligent people, these politicians don’t seem to know much about the U.S. Constitution. President Obama likes to say that he taught constitutional law for 10 years. If he did, he should remember Article 1, Section 8, which says, in part, that “all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.” The operative word is uniform. Simply put, Congress cannot establish a special tax that targets a small group. The taxes must be uniform.

While I share the concern of my fellow citizens about rewarding AIG employees who contributed to the company’s meltdown, I think those employees have valid contracts that must be met. And the federal government has no right to single those people out for reprisal. If it can single out those individuals, it can single out others - e.g., you and me.

CARL R. JESSOP

New Palestine, Ind.



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