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To the editor:
Let's get something established here before we go on hollering about executive pay and monstrous bonuses shall we.
One of the biggest 'industries' in the United States that supplies immense power to the U.S. economy not only within our own borders but across the entire planet is our financial system.
This is an economic engine of almost unimaginable size and power yet is in its own way as finally balanced as a first rate Swiss watch.
Everyday we have to listen to people who moan about the loss of jobs to foreign workers due to lower wages, etc., etc., etc.
The vast majority of these lost jobs are in what economist's refer to as sunset industries. That is, industries that are no longer forward moving future oriented with high growth potential. In other words they are industries that are headed the way of the buggy whip.
What Congress is proposing, while not only illegal but also delusional, is to begin the murder of one of the most powerful economic engines with an international scope that we have remaining. Without the taxes paid every year by Wall Street alone the state of New York is effectively bankrupt. Thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of jobs across America are at risk as major competitors to Wall Streets muscle in places like Tokyo, London, Hong Kong, and elsewhere will have an enormous advantage over their U.S. counterparts and with the ever increasing spread of technology the money doesn't care where it transfers to or through. It will go where the best people are.
As to the legality of Congress writing into law a clause that limits the pay and bonuses of those who have already accepted government infusions of capital under a prior set of rules I would expect that eventually the Supreme Court (if it goes that far) would rule it unconstitutional and illegal under the "ex Post facto" prohibitions of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
The government is expressly prohibited from passing ANY law that is applied to an act that transpired BEFORE the passage of that law or regulation. Simple example would be them changing the national speed limit to 55 mph. and then trying to ticket everyone who drove faster then that in the weeks before the law was passed.
I understand that there are many Americans out there who, in their anger, couldn't care less about the rights of some over-paid executives but they should.
Once you accept such legislation as being just fine by you the door opens for further attempts to retroactively write laws that will eventually effect even those people directly.
In their haste to do something, anything, so as to be seen as leading, our government is going off in scatter shot directions without a clue as to the long term effects of what they are doing. By the time those effects are known it will be too late to close the barn door.
Keynesian economics of the type practiced by FDR did NOT end the Depression despite what has become almost holy writ to the liberal/socialist wing of the Democratic Party over the last 70+ years. It did, however, open the door to the acceptability (by both parties) of the concept of deficit spending by the government as a way in which to engineer any number of real or imagined social, political, and economic problems.
It has led us to this point in our history where it is acceptable to EVERYONE at EVERY level to spend more then we have for whatever reason we can think of. In fact we have begun to think in terms of not only spending more then we have right now but more then we will EVER HAVE in our lifetimes.
I've seen suggestions for 60, 80 and more years for home mortgages. In other words indebtedness that passes to your children. That's exactly what the various enacted and proposed deficit spending measures presently before us will accomplish for our children. It will leave them and probably their children as well to pay for this generation’s inability to live within its means for the past 50-60 years. That's a sorry epitaph for our generational marker...." Here Lies The Generation That Bankrupted The Future"