Bailout Money Could Have Come From Executive Bonuses

By | Dec 31, 2008

What happened to the idea that “the captain goes down with the ship”? According to a post at Factesque, the Associated Press took a look into how much of the federal bailout money was spent on paying for the salaries of those. As it turns out, the money used for that purpose was relatively small (to the tune of $1.6 billion) although many have pointed blame at the banks for paying their CEOs exorbitant fees.

The Associated Press had the most disgusting spin on the facts:

The total amount given to nearly 600 executives would cover bailout costs for many of the 116 banks that have so far accepted tax dollars to boost their bottom lines.

Associated Press

Let’s think about that for a minute. Of the $188 billion given to 116 banks at this point, $1.6 billion total was given to top executives. The AP article makes it sound like some banks were denied compensation so that America’s greedy banker overlords could line their own pockets when the average amount paid to executives was $2.6 million – barely one fifteenth of a percentage point of the total compensation received.

Here is a thought: No matter who you are, no matter what you earn, you will never feel you make “too much” money. Too little, perhaps, but never too much. If you have the opportunity to earn a 7 figure income, you will choose to do so. If your knowledge and skills mean you are valued at such top rates by your employer, more power to you!

Should guilt come along with that? What if your compensation results in someone else losing their job, their home, or their financial well-being? If you haven’t picked their pockets directly or intentionally, are you to blame? Probably not, or maybe, depending on the situation. Do you care? Whether or not you have guilt is your own decision, likewise for whether or not you can go about your day with it hanging over you.

But to the CEO who happily collects his bonus while his company goes down the hole and takes its customers with it, I have to ask – why aren’t you taking responsibility here? Even though you aren’t the one who “caused” this mess, does that entitle you to signing bonuses and year-end cash or stock options? A good leader leads by example – in these troubled times that means collect your pay, shun your “bonuses” this year that the company is having hard times, tighten your belt, and work as hard as you can next year so you can proudly take a bonus knowing you earned it through good stewardship and hard work.

1 Comment so far
  1. Obama Aims to Battle Debt : Ignorant Mouth February 21, 2009 11:22 pm

    […] taxes for the rich (that is, anyone earning $250,000 per year or […]

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