Republicans In Disarray
They had no idea what to do. Vote yes and turn away from antitax ideology and upset almighty Limbaugh. Vote no, and wind up on the wrong side of the public, whose anger is palpable.
The answer? They split almost exactly down the middle on taxing bonuses for executives who received TARP money. The vote was 328-93, with 85 Republicans for it, and 87 Republicans against it.
Beautiful. Who knew this could be a wedge issue? I knew that Republicans had a long record of opposing executive pay caps, but turning on a dime never bothered them before. Meanwhile, even the efforts to blame the Obama Administration for the bonuses are becoming complicated:
Bloomberg News reports that Neil Barofsky, inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), told the House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee today that the Bush administration “specifically contemplated” paying bonuses to AIG employees in its November agreement to provide federal bailout funds to the failing insurance giant:
The TARP contract between AIG and Treasury “specifically contemplated the payment of bonuses and retention payments to AIG employees, including AIG’s senior partners,” Barofsky said.
I'm somewhat agnostic on this legislation - hopefully it begins the process of dealing with compensation rather than ends it - but Republicans have no idea how to deal with this.