2/04/2009

First They Came For the Executives...

Today Obama struck a blow for America's self esteem, and punished work that results in failure:
"President Barack Obama took on bailed-out Wall Street firms on Wednesday, setting a $500,000 annual cap on pay for top executives at companies receiving taxpayer funds and tapping popular anger over financial sector excesses."
Now, of all the ideas that have rolled out in the last 2 weeks, this is certainly not the most objectionable. But are there limits to this idea?
"This is America, we don't disparage wealth. ... What gets people upset, and rightfully so, is executives being rewarded for failure. Especially when those rewards are subsidized by U.S. taxpayers," he said.
If this is the road that Obama wants to go down, the real question needs to be...how far is he prepared to go??

Will he be prepared to call for a limit on the salaries of professional athletes? Much of their exorbitant paychecks are due to ticket sales. Tickets to seats in many stadiums around the country that are subsidized by taxpayer funding. If they had to play in stadiums actually affordable to their team's owner's wallets, there would be no glut of money to pay them millions. New, shiny, tax-payer funded stadia/arena permit the owners to shower manna upon these athletes. And by definition, most of these players are failures, but still accept millions without shame. Thus I would expect Obama to call on the NFL, NBA and MLB to cap their salaries...or else they could feel some pain...Janet Reno style!

Better yet, and perhaps more relevant to this whole bailout/stimulus, will Obama call for a cap on salaries of actors/actresses/executives who get paid millions by studios who take advantage of a possible Stimulus tax breaks for movie project flops? If Hollywood is to benefit directly from the 'stimulating' generosity of future generations, should it not be treated like the executives of bailout slurping companies?? It would be painful to see our favorite starlets wandering around the Cannes and Sundance festivals asking...
"Who is John Galt?"

Of course I will not hold my breath. What I am really waiting for is the arrival of the Equalization of Opportunity Act, soon to emerge from inner sanctum of the Speaker of the House...

(Hat Tip: Instapundit)

12 comments:

Win said...

Great post.

I propose one notable difference in the likely downside to these salary caps. The Wall Street executive brain trust WILL go somewhere else in private business to earn higher salaries. Salary capped pro athletes and Hollywood stars, at least in the near-to-mid term, would be stuck working for less in their respective monopolies and oligopoly.

Michael Sweeney said...

Beautiful, beautiful post.

I have always found it interesting how the $100 million plus contracts for uneducated men to put a leather ball through a metal hoop FAILED to arouse the slightest criticism from our class-warrior betters in DC.

What this reveals is (once again, for the zillionth time) how locked in to idiotic class stereotypes our Democratic opinion makers are. In their minds, athletes are "OK!" because they are largely African-American and thus somehow represent "the little guy," despite their grotesque salaries, monstrous egos, and tendency to engage in all manner of antisocial behavior. (Hey! That sounds like our current crop of Democratic party pols, no?)

America, welcome to your nightmare.

smacklin said...

Since much of the stimulus is designed to help re-elect members of Congress perhaps a serious reduction in their salaries should be put in place.

jms said...

How did these executives fail?

jms said...

The problem is that everyone is asking the wrong question. The question is not, "should the CEO of a bailed out company receive a multi-million dollar bonus." The correct question is, "Why is it that the companies receiving payouts are the companies with the multi-million dollar politically connected CEOs.

Those CEOs used their political pull to make sure that their companies got multi-billion dollar bailouts, while their competitors got bankruptcy court.

Why else would you pay a CEO $50-$100 million dollars? They weren't paying for business expertise. They were paying for their political connections.

And those CEOs certainly delivered the goods. They probably delivered 100 times or more the value of their salaries and bonuses to their companies in the form of government bailouts.

Their bonuses are what the president calls a "distraction."

Chris Wysocki said...

If he's not willing to award failure, why is Congress still drawing paychecks?

ColumEx said...

At some point we have to wonder if the Dems are just reading Atlas for ideas...

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