Friday, February 6, 2009

Tales from Bailout Nation Pt. VI

President takes aim at execs' high pay:
New restrictions for those at firms seeking bailouts

Well, that’s a headline that just a year ago we never thought we’d see.

In his newly expanded role as CEO of Wall St., the President will be calling the shots with respect to salaries, perks and bonuses.

In announcing new executive pay limits yesterday, President Barack Obama is trying to hold the financial industry accountable to taxpayers while aiming to change a corporate culture that endorses bonuses and perks that often bear little relationship to corporate performance.

"This is America,” Obama said yesterday. “We don't disparage wealth. We don't begrudge anybody for achieving success. And we believe that success should be rewarded.
“But what gets people upset – and rightfully so – are executives being rewarded for failure. Especially when those rewards are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers.

We’re highly dubious of that first statement by the President and the second contains the hypocrisy that has so infuriated us in the first place regarding the financial bailout: bad behavior is rewarded by the federal government and it’s rewarded in corresponding degrees to that bad behavior.

Even Chris “Onions” Dodd gets into the act:
“There is absolutely no reason why hardworking American taxpayers should be financing, directly or indirectly, excessive compensation for corporate executives whose decisions, in many cases, have crippled their firms and weakened the broader economy,”

This, from a guy who received a sweetheart deal from Countrywide mortgage and who was at the epicenter of the subprime meltdown as chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. Again, how this guy is able to waddle around Capitol Hill dropping incredulous statements such as that, is a testament to the current state of modern medicine and our health care system that is so maligned.

And in other news today, Wells Fargo scrapped their plans to lavish their top performers with a trip to Vegas for a 12-day romp of bacchanalian proportions… and that’s too bad. We say it’s too bad because we put Wells Fargo in a somewhat separate category from the rest of the bailout bandits.

Recall last October when this whole thing first went down and 9 of the largest banking institutions were made an offer they couldn’t refuse. Wells Fargo, at first, declined the bailout money… afterall, they were doing OK and didn’t need any taxpayer money. As we all know now, however, when you are trying to create a climate of fear, you just can’t have an institution like Wells Fargo out there serving as a model of probity and soundness – that would indeed be downright un-American where we don’t disparage incompetence and we don’t begrudge abject failure – so at figurative gunpoint, Wells took their $25 Bil and went on their way.

But now, even though they initially resisted they are just another one of Geithner’s bitches. If they had played this right, they would’ve taken that $25 Bil and set it aside in an escrow account never too be touched. And when their new CEO, CFO and board of directors in Congress came calling with respect to executive compensations and this particular trip to Vegas, they would’ve been able to respond:

“Mr. President and CEO, the $25 billion plus interest is there in that bag by the door. Please take it with our warmest regards and wishes. As you can see, we’re quite busy right now putting the finishing touches on our Vegas trip which will be a romp of bacchanalian proportions and which will reward our hard-working employees who have managed to not goon things up like the employees at our competitors’. So, with all due respect, sir, please see yourself, the two-time tax cheat and “Onions” to the door and don’t let it hit you in the ass on the way out”.

At least that’s what would happen in an America that could be… or once was... or something.

1 comment:

B-Daddy said...

Between running Wall Street and Re-imposing the "fairness doctrine," I feel there is no element of public life that the Democrats don't want to control.