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String'Em Up!

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The Times editorial boardAnd by "'em," The New York Times means you. In a populist screed atop Sunday's editorial page, the august guardians of opinion at the Gray Lady implore the President to follow the lead of his British and French counterparts and tax the hell out of your bonus, should you be so lucky to receive one.

...the British found a way to realign the fat cats' boundless greed with the public interest: slapping a hefty windfall tax on their bonuses.

That's right, fat cats. "The best hope for curbing bankers' unbridled appetite for risk" is a 50% one-time-only tax on bonuses that, in all likelihood, will be comically easy to evade.

That's a pretty dubious proposition. It is an equally dubious proposition that Gordon Brown's tax will drive every single banker out of Britain. Then again, is a $1 billion windfall worth the risk? Simply to prove a point? Either way, those dubious propositions have got nothing on this one:
A tax just might persuade banks to cut their bonuses and use the money to bolster their capital, which would make them financially secure.
Right. Because all of those tough measures the government has taken to date have proven extremely effective at getting banks to change the way they do business. No doubt this time we can force them into being responsible.
All that aside, however, is it worth it? Not to teach the bankers a lesson or to give one to the torch-and-tar-bearing set, but perhaps to raise a little scratch to feed that yawning budget deficit? To help buy Tim Geithner's house? To buy suitable accommodations for the president in Scandinavia, where he has been spending a suspicious amount of time lately (socialist!)? As an inducement to liberals to support Ron Paul's plan to destroy the world economy?
Taming the Fat Cats [NYT]



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