Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"We are opposed to provisions on executive pay"

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2008 at 5:29 AM

click to enlarge Talbott

Meet Scott Talbott, "Senior Vice President for Government Affairs at The Financial Services Roundtable" (I don't know what it is either, but it sounds like 200-proof liquid evil, doesn't it?). I'd never heard of Mr. Talbott before today, but he made a splash in The New York Times:

The stratospheric pay packages of Wall Street executives have become a lightning rod issue as Congress shapes a $700 billion bailout for financial firms. Proposals circulating on Capitol Hill vary, but they all would impose some limits or approval authority on salaries of executives whose firms seek help.

The moves in Washington mirror the popular outcry — in constituent e-mail messages and postings in the blogosphere — over the prospect of Wall Street’s tarnished titans walking away with tens of millions of dollars a year while taxpayers pick up the bill.

But Wall Street, its lobbyists and trade groups are waging a feverish lobbying campaign to try to fight compensation curbs. Pay restrictions, they say, would sap incentives to hard work and innovation, and hurt the financial sector and the American economy.

“We support the bill, but we are opposed to provisions on executive pay,” said Scott Talbott, senior vice president for government affairs at the Financial Services Roundtable, a trade group. “It is not appropriate for government to be setting the salaries of executives.”

I agree. And since Kommissar Paulson's proposed legislation includes the following...

"Decisions by the (Treasury) Secretary (Paulson) pursuant to the Authority of this Act are non-reviewable and committed to Agency discretion, and may not be reviewed by any court of law or any administrative agency"

...it sounds like Paulson, an agent of the government, after all, means to set the salaries of executives. And Mr. Talbott says he doesn't want that. So here's a better idea that I picked up somewhere else in this political season:

I came to office promising major ethics reform, to end the culture of self-dealing. And today, that ethics reform is the law.

While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor's office that I didn't believe our citizens should have to pay for.

That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay.

Now that's the kind of plucky thinking that makes a potential vice-president! And if it's good enough for a potential V-POTUS, it should be good enough for an investment banker.

Put their jobs on eBay. Or Monster.com. Let the free market "reward innovation and hard work."

For that matter, put all that bad paper we're buying on eBay. Every last defaulted mortgage, every penny stock. Throw in free shipping. And if they don't sell, slap 'em up on Overstock.com. Once all the money orders and PayPal receipts come in and the money is totaled, then we can divvy up that executive pay. And it won't cost us a cent.

Because, like Mr. Talbott, I wouldn't want governmental officials like Kommissar Paulson to be setting the salaries of executives.

(And while we're dinking around on eBay -- can we put up a couple of journalists' jobs as well? I shouldn't have to go to the Aussie papers to get this nugget:

Paulson himself has shares in Goldman whose value was estimated at $US700 million. He is a direct beneficiary of his own bail-out proposal -- blind trust or no blind trust.

Missed that one on the Nightly News.)

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