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February 04, 2009

Obama: Let's Cap Executive Pay At Bailed Out Firms At $500K

Can I just tell you how much I hate that we find ourselves in this position to begin with?

I get the politics and even the morality of this (hey we are the share holders now) but having the government this involved in corporate governance is creepy beyond belief. More troubling is that government intervention never gets smaller or undone. It almost inevitably becomes more invasive.

Yet, here we are.

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."

..."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.

The Republican leaders in Congress had mixed reactions.

Actually, Obama's plan could be worse. He's not placing caps retroactively and there seems to be a distinction between institutions based on the size of their participation in any government program. Again though, the devil is always in the out years with government. I really hope this cap thing stays targeted and doesn't spread. I also really hope I get a unicorn and two weeks in to the Age of Obama, I'm still hoping.


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posted by DrewM. at 12:56 PM

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