Oops–didn’t mean that to happen with the bailout money. Oh well, no problem…we’re the government and can just tax it back, said the House today:
With a bipartisan vote, the House today passed a bill that would impose a 90 percent income tax on $165 million in bonuses distributed to employees of the troubled insurance giant American International Group, the first of multiple steps that lawmakers are expected to take to quell public furor over AIG and other financial sector recipients of federal bailout aid.
The bill was approved 328 to 93. Supporting the measure were 243 Democrats plus 85 Republicans, while six Democrats and 87 Republicans voted no.
Democratic leaders had placed the measure on a fast-track calendar that required it to receive a two-thirds majority for passage, requiring two dozen or more Republicans to support for the bonus-tax legislation for it to be approved. The vote reflected a difficult choice for Republican Party members: supporting tax increases — an idea they otherwise view as anathema — or subjecting the GOP to criticism for not supporting efforts to rescind the politically toxic bonuses. The split in the ranks ran up through the leadership, with House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) opposed the bill but Minority Whip Eric Cantor (Va.) voting in favor…
The chief author of the House proposal to tax bailout payments is Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.). Rangel had been a critic of the tax approach, suggesting earlier this week that the legal system was the preferred route for recouping the AIG money. But he reversed course as the idea gained broad support among an outraged citizenry and on Capitol Hill.
“We had very few weapons and the only ones that we had that made sense . . . was the [tax] code,” Rangel told reporters last night. The House bill would tax 90 percent of bonus income for individuals with a household income of at least $250,000.