Editorial: The shoe that fits

The shoe that fitsOn Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., introduced legislation that would place a heavy tax on bonuses paid by national banking firms that accepted federal bail out money. The proceeds from the tax would finance a small-business lending program.It is fitting legislation. Bonuses over $50,000 (which is on top of significant salaries) would be taxed at a rate of 50 percent. It applies only to financial firms that accepted aid from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, which saved several financial firms from going into bankruptcy. The move came as these same firms were set to award their employees bonuses that news reports said could total $160 billion, which would reap $80 billion in taxes.Too punitive? Hardly. The tax relief was to prop up banks so that they would lend to businesses needing the money to expand and hire employees, not to shell out to overpaid executives in the form of bonuses. As for threats by these same firms that they won’t be able to fulfill their obligations as lenders without the ability to attract top talent, tell them to get real. There are thousands are talented individuals ready to step into those jobs at half the rate, and the country would be better off if that were to happen.

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