Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Would they prefer a pay cut . . . or else?

Barack Obama is giving the plunderers of Wall Street a stay of execution, and those who prefer a nice chablis with their thievery are too stupid and greedy to accept it and just shut up.

MSNBC HAS THE DETAILS of the president's generous gift to folks who deserve so much more than a mere pay cut:
President Barack Obama on Wednesday imposed $500,000 caps on senior executive pay for the most distressed financial institutions receiving federal bailout money, saying Americans are upset with “executives being rewarded for failure.”

Obama announced the dramatic new government intervention into corporate America at the White House, with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner at his side. The president said the executive-pay limits are a first step, to be followed by the unveiling next week of a sweeping new framework for spending what remains of the $700 billion financial industry bailout that Congress created last year.

The executive-pay move comes amid a national outcry over huge bonuses to executives heading companies seeking taxpayer dollars to remain afloat. The demand for limits was reinforced by revelations that Wall Street firms paid more than $18 billion in bonuses in 2008 even amid the economic downturn and the massive infusion of taxpayer dollars.

“This is America. We don’t disparage wealth. We don’t begrudge anybody for achieving success,” Obama said. “But what gets people upset — and rightfully so — are executives being rewarded for failure. Especially when those rewards are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.”

The pay cap would apply to institutions that negotiate agreements with the Treasury Department for “exceptional assistance” in the future. The restriction would not apply to such firms as American International Group Inc., Bank of America Corp., and Citigroup Inc., that already have received such help.

“There is a deep sense across the country that those who were not ... responsible for this crisis are bearing a greater burden than those who were,” Geithner said.
ONE EXECUTIVE has a problem with senior brass being put on a money diet, and whines to The New York Times:
“That is pretty draconian — $500,000 is not a lot of money, particularly if there is no bonus,” said James F. Reda, founder and managing director of James F. Reda & Associates, a compensation consulting firm. “And you know these companies that are in trouble are not going to pay much of an annual dividend.”

Mr. Reda said only a handful of big companies pay chief executives and other senior executives $500,000 or less in total compensation. He said such limits will make it hard for the companies to recruit and keep executives, most of whom could earn more money at other firms.

“It would be really tough to get people to staff” companies that are forced to impose these limits, he said. “I don’t think this will work.”
THEN I GUESS the government will just have to flat-out nationalize the firms and put government functionaries in those jobs. After all, how could they do a worse job than the capitalist pigs?

They couldn't do a worse job than a crowd that has paid itself outlandishly while flying the economy into the ground. These executives should count themselves fortunate, indeed, to still have jobs at all.

And they should get down on their knees and thank God -- or their good fortune, or whatever -- they live in the United States of America, where rarely do the masses take to the streets, ransack stately office towers and drag executives such as James F. Reda onto the pavement below.

They should get on their knees in gratitude that they -- at least for the time being -- don't live in a country where the bottom rail emphatically places itself atop the fence as the new overseer of revenge. Where we don't . . . yet . . . have true People's Courts proclaiming the erstwhile titans of finance and industry guilty, guilty, guilty of capital crimes of capital and immediately remanding them to the jurisdiction of a court not of this world.

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