Free Markets, Free People

The usual hypocrisy

Apparently the “pay czar” is about to release a report that the Wall Street bonuses, paid by financial firms that had received bailout money, were largely “unmerited”.

With the financial system on the verge of collapse in late 2008, a group of troubled banks doled out more than $2 billion in bonuses and other payments to their highest earners. Now, the federal authority on banker pay says that nearly 80 percent of that sum was unmerited.

In a report to be released on Friday, Kenneth R. Feinberg, the Obama administration’s special master for executive compensation, is expected to name 17 financial companies that made questionable payouts totaling $1.58 billion immediately after accepting billions of dollars of taxpayer aid, according to two government officials with knowledge of his findings who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the report.

Of course, that is Mr. Feinberg’s opinion.  However I don’t know his opinion about this, reported in March of this year:

Fannie Mae is due to pay retention bonuses of between $470,000 and $611,000 this year to some executives, despite enormous losses at the government-backed mortgage company. Fannie’s main rival, Freddie Mac, also plans to pay such bonuses but hasn’t yet provided details.

I know what my opinion is, but of course our government won’t talk about these two entities – both of which had a key, if not major role in the financial collapse.  You see, if they investigated this with an eye toward actually figuring out how that collapse transpired, it would inevitably lead back to those two institutions and the Community Reinvestment Act. And that would lead to calls for “accountability”, a standard to which only generals and the “little people” are held. With government and politician’s popularity rating already below that of used car salesmen, they’d prefer to pretend it all happened on Wall Street.

Not that anyone should be particularly surprised by that.



[tweetmeme only_single=”false”]
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on RedditPin on PinterestEmail this to someone

8 Responses to The usual hypocrisy

  • It’s great propaganda.  The government issues a “report” (my, how official-sounding, eh?  No bias or agenda in a “report”, right?).  This is dutifully picked up by MiniTru, so the proles can be fully informed about how private companies waste money.

    O’ course, there are seldom “reports” about government wasting money, or, if they are, they are published in conjunction to push for some new “reform” bull bill or otherwise burnish a politician’s creds as a “reformer”.

    Now, it happens that I resent the pay, bonuses and bennies that a lot of the fatcats get.  It’s hard to believe that some CEO can be paid millions while his company is laying off employees or even going bankrupt.  But here’s the catch: I realize that private companies can do what they like with their money, subject only to the law and the desires of their shareholders.  It is not the f*cking government’s place – especially an unappointed, unaccountable “czar” – to tell private businesses how much they may or may not pay their employees.  And who the hell is this Feinburg to say that the bonuses were “unmerited”?  Does he work for / in those companies?  Does he know what those people did to deserve the bonuses?  Does he know what would have happened had they not gotten the bonuses?  No, of course not.  This is a nice little political gambit, yet another effort by The Dear Golfer to both tarnish the reputation of American businesses and capitalism while distracting from the disastrous effects of his own policies.

    When did this sort of thing become acceptable in my country???

    • It goes back to movies like “Capricorn One” where the movie ends with James Brolin running up to his memorial service (after he supposedly went to Mars), with the audience left to infer that the conspiracy will be punished, but we know better.

  • However, no one evaluates Mr. Feinberg’s fitness for making this declaration.  As far as I recall, Feinberg has no experience in finance.  Nor has he ever run a company or met a payroll.  In fact, he is merely a lawyer with no particular experience or training in salary evaluation.  Just because he was appointed “pay Czar”, he was not automatically imbued with this experience.

  • Obviously we need to get the citizens of Bell, CA on this. They circle the building, chant “fuera”, and voila! the overpaid fat cats leave without severance pay.
    Is it the use of Spanish that get’s it done? May I suggest the Tea Party adopt “Fuera!” as their new battle cry?

  • The ruling class’s appetite for deference, power, and perks grows. The country class disrespects its rulers, wants to curtail their power and reduce their perks. The ruling class wears on its sleeve the view that the rest of Americans are racist, greedy, and above all stupid. The country class is ever more convinced that our rulers are corrupt, malevolent, and inept. The rulers want the ruled to shut up and obey. The ruled want self-governance. The clash between the two is about which side’s vision of itself and of the other is right and which is wrong. Because each side — especially the ruling class — embodies its views on the issues, concessions by one side to another on any issue tend to discredit that side’s view of itself. One side or the other will prevail. The clash is as sure and momentous as its outcome is unpredictable.