"Bills of attainder, ex post facto laws, and laws impairing the obligations of contracts, are contrary to the first principles of the social compact, and to every principle of sound legislation.
"The sober people of America are weary of the fluctuating policy which has directed the public councils. They have seen with regret and indignation that sudden changes and legislative interferences, in cases affecting personal rights, become jobs in the hands of enterprising and influential speculators, and snares to the more-industrious and less-informed part of the community."
James Madison, Federalist Paper Number 44, 1788.
How angry are you over the AIG bonus hullabaloo?
At whom are you upset?
If you answered, "very" and "AIG executives", why? Is it because you've heard pretty much every media outlet and every politician railing on the subject for a week?
Why are you so angry? Is it because people are getting paid bonuses after taking taxpayer-funded bailouts?
How much do you actually know of the details?
Did you know that the bonuses are contractually obligated, and protected under Sections 9 and 10 of Article I of the Constitution? Did you know that Congress knew of these bonuses, in fact specifically carved out an exception allowing them, in the last couple of bailout bills? Did you know that the government has given AIG in particular so much money because they're basically using them as a giant money laundering scheme? That, through this scheme, they've managed to send over $68 billion of bailout money overseas? And that, conversely, a mere $44 billion has stayed in the USA?
Why haven't you heard about this anywhere? Why is it that you listen when Congress tells you to ignore the $8 billion, or approximately 2%, of the congressional budget designated for earmarks? Why do you also listen when they tell you to get outraged over $165 million, or 0.097% of the bailout money AIG has received, going to contractually-obligated bonuses for people who actually made the company money?
Do you not see the hypocrisy in this thinking?
Do you understand why the right to contract is so incredibly important in our society? Why it is mentioned so many times in the Federalist Papers, or outlined so firmly in the Constitution? Is it more important to you than holding on to your completely un-Christian vindictiveness? Why or why not?
Did you hear that both the people receiving their bonuses and their families have received numerous violent death threats, including threats to decapitate them one at a time with piano wire? Did you see Congress respond to this news with a collective "meh", then say they were going to try to release the names of these people to the public anyway? Does this not worry you? Isn't the role of the government to protect its people from the initiation of physical harm?
Do you trust your news source?
Just why do you think everyone in government (on both sides of the aisle) are talking about this so much, anyway? Are they trying to distract us? Is this their version of bread and circuses? If so, then from what are they trying to draw our attention? Is it the aforementioned money laundering scheme? Is it their total disregard for the Constitutionally-granted right to contract, protection from ex post facto law, and protection from bills of attainder that they're currently exercising? Does it feel like an under-the-table power grab to anyone else?
Does this not anger you?
At whom should you really be upset?