Today, the House of Representatives passed a bill, 328-93, that would put a 90% tax on bonuses from financial firms receiving bailout funds, such as AIG. One of the bill's cosponsors, Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-Manhattan), who proposed a 100% tax earlier, said, "I’m proud that the House has taken action to return these bonuses to the federal treasury... It would be morally reprehensible and fiscally irresponsible to allow millions to go to those who cost our country billions. Bonuses should be based on creating value, not destroying it."
However, six Democrats opposed the bill. Politico reports, "Since Wall Street pays much of employee salaries in the form of yearly bonuses, the legislation would hit any employee at bailout recipient firms that makes more than $200,000, or who has a combined income with a spouse of more than $250,000, critics say." Rep. Michael McMahon (D-Staten Island) said, "Just like many of my colleagues, I abhor and vehemently condemn AIG’s payment of millions of dollars in bonuses. However, I felt that this legislation was too broad, was punitive without being targeted enough, and would ultimately have an adverse effect for many of my constituents in Staten Island and Brooklyn, who are honest employees in the financial services industry.” Of course, another question is whether the tax is even constitutional.
And at AIG, the company's corporate security sent a memo to employees warning them that the public's outrage could make them targets. Gawker has the memo, which includes helpful advice like avoid wearing AIG apparel (t-shirts, totes), do not leave your AIG badge visible outside of the office, "At night, when possible, travel in pairs" and "Avoid any public conversations involving, AIG."