Bank lobbyists launch lame defense of taxpayer funded bonuses


Bank lobbyists have a job I would not want. Their clients need them to fight a tide of populist revulsion against the use of taxpayer money to pay out billions in bonuses to bankers who pushed the global financial system into bankruptcy. More specifically, those bank lobbyists are buttonholing Senators, trying to convince them to vote against a House bill that passed by a vote of 328 to 93 that would tax bonuses paid to bailout recipients at 90%. These lobbyists are making arguments that lack substance.

First, they suggest that restricting bonuses will put the companies at a competitive disadvantage. That argument is content-free because the bonus tax would apply to 500 firms that have received $200 billion from the government. This means that all those financial institutions will face the same bonus restrictions and thus on the same playing field. Moreover, these so-called talented individuals the lobbyists are seeking to reward with bonuses are the very same ones who made the money-losing deals in the first place. I am not sure how much more of that kind of "talent" we can afford.