The Golden Parachute Survives

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.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

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.

Thanks, Cinaedh

3 thoughts on “The Golden Parachute Survives

  1. james357 says:

    I see politicians as a guy waiting for people to go to work, so he can loot the house. He’s got time to stand there all day. That’s all he has to do is wait it out. Congress is the same. As soon as the phones rang a little less as voters had to tend to other business, Congress immediately said the opposition changed their mind and were for the bailout.

    I like Nader’s concept of a national initiative vote. Actually, I’m afraid the situation is so far gone that it’ll take something along the lines of a national strike. But, we saw in the bailout issue, that it’s taken personally when the voters resist, so any action will have to be swift.

    I think 90% of American working adults is around 100 million people? Get them organized for 2 days and I guarantee it’d make an impression. So far, the politicians have managed to keep everyone bickering with each other and not Congress,

  2. god says:

    I don’t think you could get 100 million Americans to agree on President, ending daylight savings (sic) or even changing the date for Election Day.

    Worse, I don’t think we can get them to think about changing anything. Not yet. There’s my optimistic disclaimer.

  3. Cinaedh says:

    From the New York Times, September 23, 2008

    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.”

    Two weeks later the lobbyists, representing transnational corporations at odds with the express wishes of the American people, win again.

    If these politicians insist on betraying the American people in favor of bribes from entities, who by their very nature are not American nor allied with any other country, it seems to me the people need to somehow rise up and take back their government.

    Saving these corporate entities and rewarding their greedy, incompetent management with the taxes of the poor and the middle class is just adding a gross insult to longstanding injury.

    According to the tenets of capitalism, they ought to have been allowed to die. When you start monkeying with evolution, financial or otherwise, the future holds a whole lot of trouble and nothing but trouble.

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