Expatriate Owl

A politically-incorrect perspective that does not necessarily tow the party line, on various matters including but not limited to taxation, academia, government and religion.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Andy Cuomo's Little List

I have never particularly been gung-ho for ex-New York Governor Mario Cuomo, nor for his son, ex-Kennedy in-law and now New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Having said this, it now must be acknowledged that Andy Cuomo is the public official who, perhaps, is coming through this AIG executive bonus brouhaha looking the best, and on that particular score, he has my full applause and admiration.

His 17 March 2009 letter to Congressman Barney Frank, excepts of which have been quoted in the media, is very telling, and is available at Andy's own official website here.

There is little I can say that has not already been stated by Andy Cuomo. I will observe, however, the following:

A. As this post is being written, Edward Liddy, AIG's Chair & CEO who was installed in his position by the US Government, is now being grilled by the House Financial Services subcommittee.

B. Everyone who is anyone in Washington is now expressing outrage, shock and revulsion at the bonuses. This, of course, is in response to the popular sentiment; many of them were the very ones who set up the current AIG bailout scenario in the first place.

C. Operationally speaking, the simplest resolution to this political problem would be for all of the recipients of the AIG bonus bonanza to simply return their bonuses (or, as a face-saving ploy, be allowed to retain, say, $100,000).

D. Recall that during the recent move to fill Hillary Rodham Clinton's seat in the Senate, Andy Cuomo effectively stepped aside so as to avoid a mudslinging contest with his ex-cousin-by-marriage Caroline Kennedy. There is little doubt that Andy has higher political ambitions, but he wisely recognized that a better opportunity is likely to present itself in the future, and that he can build upon his public good will by kicking butt in his current position as NY AG.

One thing Andy can do in order to motivate the AIG bonus boys to return their remuneration is to announce that he is furnishing the list of them to the Internal Revenue Service and to the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, for whatever actions the respective taxation authorities deem appropriate.

Unlike Treasury Secretary Tim "Tax Cheat" Geithner, Andrew Cuomo still has the moral authority (or at least the appearance thereof) to play that card.

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