Monday, September 22, 2008

Trying Hard to Find Empathy Here

And failing miserably. I want to feel badly for folks on Wall Street who are losing their jobs right and left during this (is there a term for this?) not a depression, but whatever the heck it is. I want to feel empathy for anybody who loses a job. But what pops into my mind isn't a family struggling to survive with both parents working 2+ minimum wage jobs apiece. What pops into my mind are money-mad men and women who hopped onto a train heading for a shaky bridge. People who either couldn't or wouldn't see the shaky bridge and those who were on the train for whatever money they could before the crash. Either way, not a lot of sympathy here for these folks. The power lunch crowd, the folks who dropped $150 for a hamburger because it was Kobe beef.

Personally I think anyone who makes more than $100,000 a year is way overpaid. But I know I'm a minority here, and if someone can convince someone else to pay him or her many millions for doing ... well less work than someone who cleans offices during the week, then that's their problem. Except when they want to make it our problem. So Kudos to the Democrats for saying that in order to get their $700 billion bail out, Wall Street needs to agree to "meet appropriate standards for executive compensation." I mean really, just how much do the men and women who helped engineer (pushing the train metaphor a bit further) this problem think they should be paid for their stupidity, recklessness and greed?

At the very least these executives' paychecks should be garnished at a certain percentage, funds going to repay the people who have lost their retirement funds, or families trying to hold onto a home while paying mortgages for costs that are now higher than their home is worth. Of course Bush doesn't agree, saying that adding such pieces of accountability would "threaten small business owners and homeowners on Main Street." HELLO Mr. President - Where have you been? What is it that you really think is threatened now - Americans or your fundraising buddies on Wall Street? Don't tell me, Cliff and Amber are going to have to cut back on one of their Hampton houses now? The pain! The agony! How about a little less sympathy for the folks at the top of the hill during this avalanche, and a bit more for the folks down on the bottom who didn't have much to begin with and are now getting pummeled and beaten down to the ground.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Louis James Iocca said...

http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/23/what-are-the-other-bailout-options-an-explainer/

Check out posts #1 & #10.

5:08 PM  
OpenID revcrystalk said...

amen! i think you nailed it.

it kills me--it's obviously better to bail out the fat kats than to insure millions of kids or help those 2 parents who work crappy jobs just to eek by (and usually not even doing that) because they (the poor ones and kids) are just lazy. love this thinking! egads!

i keep forgetting that corporate welfare is good and family welfare is bad. i'm so dumb--why can't i get this?

8:39 AM  
Anonymous JBSurveyer said...

I am not so sanguine about Congress or any government agency reining in Financial Executives Compensation Gone Wild. True, it appears these two heavily ingrained precepts, like rotten teeth, have to be wrenched out of Wall Street behavior and/or DNA:

1)we, the Masters of the Universe Financiers , can do "anything" because even if its against some "law"; its a white collar crime and nobody gets convicted for "raiding the Commons";
2)our compensation can be both stratospheric and never declining no matter how badly we frack-up- for 2 reasons.
i)Everybody wants the "Brass Ring" goal of making it supergargantuan lottery BIG TIME-> a billon dollar pay packet taxed at less than half the Income Tax rate(we get our compensation in Capital Gains taxable packets) and often not even taxed at all as the pay packets are tax-sheltered in Caymans, Bermuda and other tax havens;
ii)who in government already beholden to us for our campaign contributions, expertise+needed co-operation on the complex financial markets and our ability to mug-them through our Think Tanks declaring them as "class warfare extremists"- who is going to take us on? In sum, who is going to dare to try to trim our Pay Scales ????? Yeah right ... as likely as our salaries going down when our companies fail to perform."

But, sad to say, I already heard Obama on Meet the Press backing away from repealing the Bush Tax Cuts for the rich. And if that it so, who will have any stomach to take on the issue of Extraordinarily Outlandish Executive Compensation. Even the major business magazines like Fortune, Forbes, and Business Week have decried it for years - and nothing has happened. So join me in a 5th of your favorite blues booze on this one.

5:03 PM  

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