For supporters of the Bush administration’s $700-billion Wall Street bailout, it stands as a key selling point: a provision that limits pay packages for the heads of companies helped by the taxpayer-funded rescue program. There’s just one problem: It would do little to cap executive pay or rein in the enormous retirement packages — the golden parachutes — that have come to symbolize corporate excess.
Not only is the compensation provision vague, it is punched full of loopholes and leaves many issues of executive pay for the White House to decide later. Legal and political experts say the bill will do almost nothing to limit CEO compensation — even for companies that benefit handsomely from the taxpayers’ generosity.
All eyes were on the House Friday when it passed the Senate-passed bill, by a vote of 263-171. The legislation was then quickly sent to President George W. Bush, who signed it.
Much has been made of the changes to that proposal — including $150 billion in tax benefits to businesses and families. Yet aside from one provision raising the upper limit on federal deposit insurance from $100,000 to $250,000, nothing substantial has changed within the financial rescue plan that the House rejected.
Keeping an eye on the thieves in Congress is a full-time job. One that should be ruled by voters who – often enough – don’t take the time to find out what it is the clown they elected really is doing in DC.
There are a few NGO’s that work their butts off trying to keep track of the tomfoolery. Thing is – this isn’t what government is supposed to be about. Strict, realistic laws limiting lobbying, conflict-of-interest, and a justice department and Supreme Court that aren’t structured according to ideology might be qualitative additions to the list of government reforms needed.