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Big money: AIG bonuses, NYS pensions

   The lead editorial in today's Buffalo News -- "Letting rage set policy" -- begins:

   Rash and ill-considered grabs at big bundles of cash, taken with no thought for the long-term Aigprotest consequences, ought to be the kind of thing that Congress and President Obama are acting to put an end to. Not copy.

   It's about AIG and the plan that passed the House, though may be stalled in the Senate, to slap a 90 percent tax on the larger bonuses received by executives of the justly despised AIG. Those guys don't deserve much in the way of rewards. But after-the-fact taxation, so clearly designed to be a punishment for things the government should have stopped before, is bad policy and probably unconstitutional.
   Update: NY AG Andrew Cuomo says at least 15 of the big-bonus babies at AIG have returned their bonuses.

   Other thoughts from: The ChiTrib's Steve Chapman [Congress ... is now shocked to find AIG doing what it was allowed to do]; The Appleton, Wis., Post-Crescent [Justice is served with tax on AIG bonuses]; The Santa Rose, Calif., Press-Democrat [Noted Rep. John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader: “This bill is nothing more than an attempt for everybody to cover their butt up here on Capitol Hill.”] and The Boston Globe [Cool it on the bonus blowback].

   The second editorial -- "Change pension calculations" -- argues that the practice of allowing New York public employees, particularly police officers and firefighters, to rack up large amounts of overtime in the Firefighter later years of their career, wildly inflating the pension payments they will receive for the rest of their lives, must be halted.

   The question is whether the governor and state legislative leaders have the backbone to change the system in ways sure to draw the wrath of unions—however much it would benefit taxpayers, their children and their grandchildren.

   The editorial draws on information presented in The Buffalo News here, there and over yonder.

   None of these articles, I think you will be pleased to find, contains any untoward amount of rage.

-- George Pyle/Editorial Writer 


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