Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A phrase the White House needs to learn

Bill of Attainder. Evidently, the President is seeking to put special provisions of the tax code to "recoup" TARP (oops, "TRAP") funds from banks who are not doing his will, specifically to make more risky loans (didn't that get us into the trouble we're in today?), pay executives less, and pay back TARP funds more quickly.

Now we'll leave aside for the moment the fact that most banks were forced to take TARP money in the first place, and the very last person you'd want making hiring decisions at the executive level is a guy who can't figure out Schedule SE. Leave aside the fact that a rushed repayment and/or risky loans almost guarantees a deepening financial crisis. The big issue here is that a man who has graduated from law school, passed the bar, and even lectured in constitutional law apparently cannot figure out that when a law singles a group out for penalties, it is expressly banned by the Constitution.

1 comment:

pentamom said...

I think there's a whiff of ex post facto here, too -- imposing obligations on a deal that was made in the past when such obligations did not exist.