Reverse payday

I'm still gathering my thoughts on bailout and regulatory solutions, hopefully for an omnibus post tomorrow morning.  Here's a question:  a lot of Democrats seem to want the Wall Street executives to disgorge things like their retirement packages and bonuses before cutting any deal.  Can Congress do this, legally?  I mean, yes, they make the law.  But my understanding is that while you can grandfather in benefits, you can't retroactively punish people for behavior that was legal when committed.  Can Congress reach in and retroactively void a private contract?  I'm not asking for commentary on the wisdom or morality of such a move, just whether it would withstand a court challenge.

Presented by

Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Stop-Motion Tour of New York City

A filmmaker animated hundreds of still photographs to create this Big Apple flip book

Video

The Absurd Psychology of Restaurant Menus

Would people eat healthier if celery was called "cool celery?"

Video

This Japanese Inn Has Been Open For 1,300 Years

It's one of the oldest family businesses in the world.

Video

What Happens Inside a Dying Mind?

Science cannot fully explain near-death experiences.

More in Business

Just In