Mr. Thompson, I did some campaigning for you during the election last fall, so believe me that I don't relish the need for this message. But I am deeply disappointed to find that you had a part in the recent passage of a bill of attainder against employees of the TARP beneficiaries. While no-one can be enthusiastic about the rights and privileges of overeducated, overpaid, arrogant finance professionals, especially ones employed by organizations enjoying the inappropriate benefits of government funds, that can't lead us into illicit, immoral, or uncivilized responses to provocation.
The recent bill is, in my layman's opinion, unconstitutional. Congress's constitutional warrant explicitly excludes the ability to pass bills of attainder, which I define as a class of legislation designed to confiscate the property of individuals as a punitive response to political actions. A bill designed to reclaim monies legitimately paid under legal contract via punitive taxation meets this definition by my lights, and I believe that I am not being irrational or excitable in making this characterization.
Furthermore, although post-facto taxation is not itself (so far as I know) unconstitutional, it is is immoral and unethical. The fashion in which this bill combines attainder and post-facto legislation with the expressed intent of an assault upon private contracts only makes the act the more inexcusable.
In a time of Democratic legislative dominance, the party of the opposition has an even greater obligation to defend both the spirit and the letter of the law. Such doors, once opened in the heat of the moment, cannot be so easily closed!
The constitution and the culture of the law which it under-pins must be our bulwark in times of crisis and emergency. Kindly stop knocking holes in our foundation!
Friday, March 20, 2009
An email, sent to my district's representative in the House: