Free Markets, Free People

Kenneth Feinberg


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.

~McQ

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