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Sunday, March 22, 2009

it's your money

Bailout or no bailout, why is there such populist furor against million-dollar bonuses and exorbitant incomes paid to corporate executives yet no comparable outrage by shareholders? The people being robbed by eight- and nine-figure compensation packages are the shareholders in the companies whose executives pay themselves so lavishly. If members of Congress voted to pay themselves millions of dollars, they would be thrown out of office. Why do people tolerate as shareholders what they would never tolerate as voters? Just wondering.

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8 Comments:

Anonymous warren all-you-can-eat buffet said...

Surely shareholders tolerate it iff the share price has gone up, making them wealthier. If the price has tanked they complain like everyone else.

3:46 PM, March 22, 2009

 
Blogger Jeff Strabone said...

Perhaps American investors should be greedier. Why should they tolerate the skim? What is this, the mafia?

Hmm...

6:06 PM, March 22, 2009

 
Anonymous 42 said...

I think Warren raises a good point.
Many (if not all) bonuses paid in the last year have gone to executives who have done miserably. They have made everyone poorer.They have either invested their companies' money or persuaded others to invest in things that have tanked. They received commissions, salaries & bonuses for screwing up.

The companies who employ them have claimed that they must keep "the best & brightest" by overpaying them. Bull, fire them all. Get some young MBAs from Wharton & other schools for a fraction of the cost. They can't do any worse.

The "American investor" is no longer made up of of millions of people with a hundred shares of IBM
each, thousands of whom showed up at shareholder meetings. It is large pension funds, hedge funds & other deep pocket investors. It is the executives at these companies, their advisors , the banking industry & mortgage brokers that have caused the problem.

BTW, anybody know why despite the steep drop in sweet crude, the gas prices have not come down further, & Exxon reported world record profits.

Screw them all.

10:54 PM, March 22, 2009

 
Blogger Jeff Strabone said...

Yes, when times are bad, everyone wants to take back the bonuses and excessive compensation packages. That is not my point.

My point is this: why do we—individuals, state pension funds, whatever and whoever—allow executives to pay themselves excessively, whether we are talking about base salary, bonuses, or stock options? Why should executives be allowed to buy shares in the company in the form of risk-free options?

As for the argument that we sometimes hear about the needs of corporations to retain the best and the brightest, state and federal regulators are at least as smart as the people they regulate, yet they earn civil servants' salaries. That came up at a Congressional hearing that I saw on C-Span last week. I was doing other things while watching it, but what I saw was a member of the House asking a state regulator if he was smart enough to understand swaps. He said he certainly was. I believed him.

If one wants to argue that government regulators cannot possibly be as smart as the people they regulate, then our problems are a whole lot bigger than we think.

11:51 PM, March 22, 2009

 
Anonymous 42 said...

Agreed.

11:00 AM, March 23, 2009

 
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