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The Pernicious Bonus

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The G-20 economies are set to meet in Pittsburgh in three weeks to discuss various matters, among the most divisive of which stand the obscene “bonuses” awarded to the executives of our once-failing financial institutions.

What the Europeans want, according to The Times, are “‘global standards on pay structure, emphasizing long-term results in awarding pay and urging provisions to take back bonuses if bank profits tumble”, along with “limits on guaranteed bonuses”.

Reasonable enough. However, according to an anonymous source from The Times,  the US is reluctant to accede to such requests (in essence, allowing bankers unlimited pay completely divorced from performance), for the following reason:

American counterparts were seeking to sidestep the bonus issue out of fear the White House could be accused of yielding too easily to European pressure, which might endanger progress on health care reform.”

A likely story. It would be useful to contrast The Times’ coverage with that of Al-Jazeera, who wrote a similar story on the upcoming G-20 summit, but with a far different interpretation. To them, US reluctance to restrain the scandalous pay of its reckless bankers is attributable to its desire “to protect the status of Wall Street and the City of London as the world’s leading financial centers“.

Now that seems to make a bit more sense.

As an addendum, I would like to again point my readers to the Institute for Policy Studies report which informs us that the top five executives at the 20 banks that received the most federal bailout funds received an average of $32 Million in annual personal compensation.

Written by pavanvan

September 5, 2009 at 8:59 pm

The Barons of Bailout

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The Institute for Policy Studies in Washington DC just released a report on executive compensation for banks currently under US oversight. Some poignant facts:

“From 2006 through 2008, the top five executives at the 20 banks that have accepted the most federal bailout dollars since the meltdown averaged $32 million each in personal compensation. One hundred average U.S. workers would have to labor over 1,000 years to make as much as these 100 executives made in three.”

“A generation ago, typical big-time corporate CEOs seldom made more than 30 or 40 times what their workers took home. In 2008, the IPS report shows, top executives averaged 319 times more than average U.S. worker pay.”

Should we be outraged yet?

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