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Unemployment and foreclosures continue to rise and Wall Street reacts predictably to Obama's call for executive pay cuts. What planet are these guys from? Perhaps they should try living on a teacher's salary, or a nurse's salary and gain a sense of appreciation for the challenges faced by the rest of the American people, many of whom would be thankful to have a job at all.

While Americans are still facing financial hardships greater than any since the great depression, one might think that the executives on Wall Street would feel a sense of gratitude to the American people for rescuing them from the crisis that would have completely wiped out their employers and ended their careers.

According to Bloomberg News you won't find much gratitude on Wall Street. A spokesman for the Bank of America whined, "People want to work here, but they want to be paid fairly." But what is fair? What if they each were paid what a nurse is paid for changing bedpans and caring for the elderly? What if each was paid what a teacher is paid? What exactly do they do that makes them worth so much more, particularly in light of their disastrous performance?

When they and their industry are responsible for so much loss of the value of the retirement plans of millions of Americans, they feel no remorse and are anxious to get back to business as usual, which for them includes salaries up to 400 times that of their average employee.

Obviously, they suffer from an unlimited sense of entitlement that we need not tolerate.

Originally posted to Woodworker on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:03 PM PDT.

Poll

Obama's executive pay cuts...

2%4 votes
11%17 votes
32%50 votes
53%81 votes

| 152 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Glad to be the 1st vote in the poll. (11+ / 0-)

    I have the time, I can wield the brush. I lost 1/4th of my time last week due to no work.

    So, if someone will please tell me where to send the app, I'll be happy to apply. Have Tar, Will Travel.

  •  Plenty of chicken farms for feathers (10+ / 0-)

    ...and they're working on the road near my house, so I know where I can get some tar...Anyone care to join me? /snark

    "Ridicule may lawfully be employed where reason has no hope of success."

    by QuestionAuthority on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:19:37 PM PDT

  •  Getting paid MORE THAN fairly.... (12+ / 0-)

    ...is not getting bankrupted when your practices send the country into turmoil.

  •  What I love are the dual identities (19+ / 0-)

    When one quite rightly asks what makes these people worth such astronomical amounts of money for not producing anything tangible, the answer is usually that they're the Best and the Brightest, the truly superior meritocrats whose sheer brainpower is essential to keeping the country running. When their epic screwups are revealed, they're magically transformed into working schmoes who were just doing the best they could in thankless jobs and couldn't be expected to have raised an alarm or questioned the prevailing assumptions, the poor dupes, so why punish them further?

    Nice little trick, that one.

    "Conservative principles" are marketing props used by the Conservative Movement to achieve political power, not actual beliefs. -Glenn Greenwald

    by latts on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:22:03 PM PDT

    •  Here's another trick: (12+ / 0-)

      A spokesman for the Bank of America whined, "People want to work here, but they want to be paid fairly."

      What Bank of America does when it takes over a bank is to outsource ALL back office operations to contractors.

      In my case, the entire network infrastructure was farmed out to EDS, which gave only 1 raise in 4 years and had a benefit package (esp 401K contributions) far worse than our former bank.  And because EDS was a large company, it was easier for them to layoff former bank employees.  (Plus they screwed you on your severance payments.

      Employees that worked for the credit card company - MBNA - that BofA took over were laid off one by one over a period of 2 1/2 years - an employment version of "Then there was none."

      So yes, many of the people that BofA shat out of its workforce wanted to work and wanted to be paid resonably fairly, but it didn't happen.

      I'd be happy if a big bomb cratered their headquarters in Charlotte, NC.

      The land was ours before we were the land's...Robert Frost, The Gift Outright

      by HylasBrook on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:38:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Why isn't LeBron James paid as much as (3+ / 0-)

    a teacher? Why isn't Brad Pitt paid as much as a nurse? The premise of paying people based on how much moral value we find in their jobs is just not the way the world works; when we're talking only about the dimension of money, those people who make their companies the most money will get paid the most money. There are many other dimensions, such as work satisfaction and the knowledge that you've accomplished something positive for mankind, and these rewards too often go unacknowledged.

    But if we're talking only about money, people who make big bucks for their employers will always be able to demand big bucks for their services.

    I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

    by doc2 on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:23:42 PM PDT

    •  Further evidence that salaries in the financial (12+ / 0-)

      industry should be drastically reduced. They are not making any money for their employers or we would not have had to pony up the taxpayer funds we donated.

      I like President Obama. I think I understand his vision for the country and I'm all in.

      by Blogvirgin on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:29:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I figured someone would say that. (0+ / 0-)

        The reality is that, per employee, investment banks have historically been more profitable than almost any other business. So, historically, the employees have been able to take a significant piece of the pie. The last 2 years have been an exception. If i-banks lose money more consistently, then I'm sure that comp will go down quite a bit. But for now, there are plenty of players who are betting that the industry will recover, and thus there are plenty of takers for these people (e.g. Nomura) if the Merrills of the world don't pay them. That is the reality - if these people aren't paid A LOT more than nurses, they will leave to go to other firms two doors down that will pay them even more.

        It's the same for Brad Pitt - if he makes one stinker, he still will get $10M for his next pic. But if he makes enough stinkers, he won't even get a part, let alone millions of dollars.

        I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

        by doc2 on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:35:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "per employee" the peons on the bottom (10+ / 0-)

          don't get any of that.  These executives starve their low level people as much as they screw the American economy.

          You've got to be 4-5 levels up from the bottom - with 200+ people reporting up to you, and then you're on the gravy train.

          That's not where 180,000 employees out of a 200,000 employee bank get to work.

          The land was ours before we were the land's...Robert Frost, The Gift Outright

          by HylasBrook on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:46:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  only because we let them! (10+ / 0-)

          I would argue that investment banks massive profits have stemmed from several flaws in our economy:

          1. Under-taxation of the wealthy. After the massive tax cuts of the 1980's these salaries were able to sky rocket largely untouched by taxation while the deficits grew larger and larger.
          1. Declining wages for workers at the companies in which they invested. If the companies were forced to pay their employees higher wages less money would have come back to the investment banks as profits.
          1. Elimination of laws that protected the public from the need for the recent bail outs. This allowed these large banks to take risks that they wouldn't have otherwise been able to take knowing that they wouldn't be held responsible should they fail.
          1. A change in the public ethos. From the end of the war through the 1980's as productivity rose everyones pay rose. An executive taking too much pay for himself was seen as bad for morale. After the 1980's productivity gains were allocated almost solely to those at the top while everyone else saw that portion stagnate. It became acceptable to pay massive divideds and salaries.

          The reality is that, per employee, investment banks have historically been more profitable than almost any other business. So, historically, the employees have been able to take a significant piece of the pie. The last 2 years have been an exception. If i-banks lose money more consistently, then I'm sure that comp will go down quite a bit. But for now, there are plenty of players who are betting that the industry will recover, and thus there are plenty of takers for these people (e.g. Nomura) if the Merrills of the world don't pay them. That is the reality - if these people aren't paid A LOT more than nurses, they will leave to go to other firms two doors down that will pay them even more.

        •  The easiest way to accumulate money is to (4+ / 0-)

          steal it.  Tricking people with half truths may not be stealing technically speaking, but the result is the same.

          How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

          by hannah on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 04:15:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Google went public without Goldman Sachs. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Blogvirgin, greengemini

          They seem to have done well by their customers, employees and investors.

          You need overpaid financial gurus to pump and dump low value investment products.

          If you are older than 55, never take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time!

          by fredlonsdale on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 07:11:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Problem is... (10+ / 0-)

      these fuckers gamble and produce imaginary profits until  the bubble bursts and we have to bail them out.  

      I'm a firm believer in the philosophy of a ruling class, especially since I rule!

      by jbou on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:32:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why don't you get out of here, I will never (0+ / 0-)

        forget this comment you made about Barack Obama:

        that's even sadder (0+ / 11-)

        So Obama gets the unions to back him with a ton of support and single payer doesn't even get a seat at the table? That is sad and pathetic. So why is Obama sucking corporate cock?

        by jbou on Sun Aug 23, 2009 at 05:51:25 PM PDT

        I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

        by doc2 on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:39:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yeah (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snakelass, alizard, mike101, drewfromct, majii

          I don't regret saying it. Single payer never got a fair shake during this whole health care debate. And Wall Street companies got bailed out, are making lots of money and the rest of us are still dealing with high unemployment rising oil prices right in time for heating season and a health reform bill that won't be implemented until 2013.

          Me thinks the corporate penis has been fellated enough.

          I'm a firm believer in the philosophy of a ruling class, especially since I rule!

          by jbou on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:55:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, but Brad Pitt and LeBron James (9+ / 0-)

      didn't pull the country's economy down while they earned their money.

      Brad Pitt didn't lay me off.  LeBron James didn't gut my 401K.  Selena & Vanessa Williams didn't put peoples' houses underwater.

      Perhaps entertainers & atheletes salaries are excessive, but these investment bankers made far more & didn't do anything good for anyone - unlike movie stars and football players, etc. that at least bring their audience pleasure.

      The land was ours before we were the land's...Robert Frost, The Gift Outright

      by HylasBrook on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:42:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  pay... (6+ / 0-)

      Ideally people should be paid for what they contribute to society. Someone who contributes more should be paid more! The economy exists as a way to make that happen. Of course it isn't and doesn't have to be perfect.

      The problem is that currently people who contribute much in terms of tangible goods and services are often paid too little to lead a reasonably comfortable life because much of the money is flowing to a small number of people who are being paid significantly out of proportion with their contributions. This is not sustainable!

      No one is suggesting a leveling of all salaries, but the idea that a CEO is worth hundreds of times what a worker is worth is simply not an accurate representation of actual worth! Further, the fact that more and more company profits are allocated to dividends and less and less to salaries increasingly values capital over work in a way that I am not sure is representative of actual contribution.

      Given that salaries are constantly falling and have been for several decades across almost all segments of the population, it is hard to argue that intangible rewards for hard work are going unacknowledged as more and more that is all people have left over!

      Why isn't Brad Pitt paid as much as a nurse? The premise of paying people based on how much moral value we find in their jobs is just not the way the world works; when we're talking only about the dimension of money, those people who make their companies the most money will get paid the most money. There are many other dimensions, such as work satisfaction and the knowledge that you've accomplished something positive for mankind, and these rewards too often go unacknowledged.

    •  I do not begrudge Brad Pitt making as much (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      allep10

      money as he can at what he does. The same goes for major sports figures and even business people who found new businesses and who behave in an ethical manner.

      That said, If Brad Pitt operated in a different system, he might make much less for the same work effort and skill. There was a time when Big Studios owned by a few moguls controlled what was paid to actors (both good and bad actors.) After the studios, outfits like William Morris and MCA stepped in and to a certain extent controlled Star salaries.

      Going back to nurses, if you noticed the role of nurses has and is changing. Aside from Nurse Practitioners who are now filling a roll similar to the old time family doctor, regular nursing jobs are changing. Slowly they are doing less direct patient care. You have LPN's and CNA's doin the heavy lifting in hospital wards. There is a scarcity of RN's. Salaries for them inevitably rise. Right now nurses need unions to accelerate the process. Hospital administrators need a little push to understand good outcomes do not come from underpaying professional nurses and other health care workers below the rank of doctor. It has nothing to with morals. It has everything to do with quality of care.

      If you are older than 55, never take a sleeping pill and a laxative at the same time!

      by fredlonsdale on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 07:00:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No one asked me to pay James LeBrons salary (0+ / 0-)

      and as long as I'm the guy writing the checks those useless mother fuckers in the bank better be happy with what they get or out the friggin door they go with a swift kick to the behind.

      "Don't fall or we both go" Derek Hersey

      by ban nock on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 08:35:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the mother fuckers... (8+ / 0-)

    on Wall Street gamble and we bail them out and then they gamble again. They create no wealth and they pay themselves outrageous bonuses. I am surprised we haven't armed ourselves and stormed Wall Street yet.

    I'm a firm believer in the philosophy of a ruling class, especially since I rule!

    by jbou on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:30:36 PM PDT

  •  I thought this diary was going to be about me (7+ / 0-)

    As an America who lives quite well, I am blinded by quite a sense of entitlement, myself.

    As for the banks........I heard a terrific segment on the BBC radio that included some totally wise thinking.......that banks should be more like utilities--quiet, boring, plain, low but steady profits, nothing glamorous at all.

    I can tell you from experience that corporate types have little sense of perspective or modesty. They have little concept of how much less their foreign counterparts make or of what used to be considered appropriate compensation.  

    Media Reform Action Link http://stopbigmedia.com/

    by LNK on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 03:37:49 PM PDT

  •  Ian Welch weighs in again (12+ / 0-)

    This is insane.  These executives are the folks who lead the world to the greatest financial crisis since the great depression.  The goal shouldn’t be to keep them working, the goal should be to convince them to quit.  Let some middle managers take over, it is beyond comprehension that they could cause a greater disaster, and if they are only earning a few hundred K a year, they’ll have every incentive to turn their banks around so they can keep their jobs, which they’ll actually need to keep unlike the current generation of overpaid, incompetent, executives.

    These executives’ management lead to the greatest destruction of wealth and the largest job downturn in post-war history.  They did so by pushing products and practices which were frankly fraudulent. In a sane world, huge criminal investigations would be ongoing and most of them would be spending all of their time huddled with their lawyers, rather than sending out millions of dollars worth of lobbyists.

    However, as a second best scenario, their pay should be restricted, and if that makes them leave, well, that’s a bonus.  Let them go work for companies in any country stupid enough to want them.  Hopefully if not operating from the US anymore they’ll only be able to trash their new host economy, and not the entire world economy.  These men and (a few) women, are parasites who feed off and damage their hosts.  They are not a benefit to the country or company they work for, but an active hazard.

    I’m glad to see the Fed and Feinberg doing something.  But it’s not nearly enough, and it won’t be sufficient to stop the same suspects from causing yet another financial crisis.

    The Fed and the Pay Czar’s Executive Compensation Restriction Plans

  •  Their attitude is one of greed, selfishness, (9+ / 0-)

    and entitlement.  I taught school for 33 years, and I worked for 15 years before my original take-home pay doubled from @ $400/mo to @ $800/mo.  I entered the field of education because of my love for children and a desire to see them all succeed in life, but these shysters are on Wall Street to make the millions that they know they can "earn" by betraying the trust of millions.  I'm sure there are probably millions of qualified Americans who would do their jobs for a fraction of the salaries these bozos demand.  I don't buy the crap that no one else could replace these guys.  The companies that received the bailout $ should be forced to fire those at the top who are being rewarded with million dollar salaries, plus bonuses.  They should then be forced to accept applications from anyone who wants to apply for the jobs.  I'll bet there are millions of people who would agree to work for $250,000-$500,000/yr., with smaller bonus amounts.  There seems to be an overall lack of integrity among the streeters. Their emphasis seems to be on fleecing the American people, failing on a huge scale, getting public money to bail themselves out, taking some of the bailout money and paying it to lobbyists to screw us further, and ending with no remorse which can be seen through the awarding of huge bonuses to those responsible for the failure in the first place.  The best solution to their willful, conscious, and deliberate failure is prosecution, conviction for financial fraud, followed by lengthy prison sentences.

  •  When the United States bailed out the (7+ / 0-)

    financial institutions, protecting the country against ecnomic collapse (as well as the entire world most likely) the United States should also have taken over management. This would have been the proper thing to do. Then, "we" could have controlled salaries/bonuses etc. That's why this whole thing is a giant rip off.

  •  This Is Why Reagan Belongs On Mt. Rushmore-- (1+ / 0-)

    Both parties would not dream of reversing his destruction of progressive income taxation.

    And with that out of the way, the casino economy is inevitable and too rewarding in too many ways to regulate into safe behavior.

    Reagan should be carved out of the present figures because in 30-40 years the rest of them won't even matter to American posterity.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 04:27:44 PM PDT

  •  For some reason, in this country nobody asks (5+ / 0-)

    "Is the quality of life of someone who makes $6 million dollars a year worse than the quality of life of someone who makes $20 million a year?"

    Really, when you already have several million dollars of disposable income at your disposal, what will doubling your amount of that income do for your quality of life?  I realize that this is a very naive question, but doesn't there come a point when you've got all the money require for one's personal wants and needs?

    •  You can give more philanthropically. (0+ / 0-)

      And most philanthropists, rightly or wrongly, think that they can give money away more efficiently than the next guy, so they want to make more so they can give away more. Most of the folks who make the kind of money you're talking about cannot find new toys they couldn't afford before, so it becomes all about philanthropy (or investing your money with plans of being a future philanthropist).

      I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

      by doc2 on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 05:53:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wealthy People's Idea Of Philantropy Is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ban nock

        donating to campaigns to elect people such as George W. Bush who will set up wars so that these same philanthropists can invest in war profiteering with absolutely no competition or oversight.  Also to pass laws so that these same philanthropists pay no taxes and push the burden onto the middle class and poor class.

        •  Huh? Aren't all philanthropists wealthy, (0+ / 0-)

          and don't many philanthropists do great, great things? And aren't many wealthy people also liberal Democrats? Of course. But I guess imagining that all wealthy people support George Bush more conveniently fits your world view, is that it?

          I'm in the pro-Obama wing of the Democratic Party.

          by doc2 on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 08:02:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No all wealthy people aren't philanthropists (0+ / 0-)

            Lots of them just try to keep as much as they can or buy multiple houses in many countries and leave tons for their children's children's childrens.

            Lots of wealthy people are even Dems, as long as no one raises their taxes.

            How are things with Rong Paul?

            "Don't fall or we both go" Derek Hersey

            by ban nock on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 08:41:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  My experience with wealth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard

    More than 20 years ago my first job at age 19 was for an investment advisory co in Providence, RI.

    From what I observed the Presidents of the co would wander in around 9 or 10 am and be gone by 1pm every day.  They of course had to put tennis, squash and golf above everything else.  Naturally that left their assistants and me, the little newbie receptionist, to handle their work load for very little pay.  The clientele was even worse, just a bunch of privileged elitists in my opinion, essentially they were trust fund babies with no concept of what it was like to struggle to pay their bills and "work" for a living.  The sense of entitlement was overwhelming and disgusting.  

    My sense of it all was this, somehow if you've got Brown, Harvard or Yale on your resume somewhere you can get any job you want, demand whatever pay you want and leave all the actual grunt work to your underpaid staff.  

    I had cancer, I can't get insurance, if my cancer comes back? The Plan: Walk It Off!

    by ArtemisBSG on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 05:16:47 PM PDT

    •  That Is Why I Was Sickened When Sen. Patty Murray (0+ / 0-)

      (D-WA) voted YES on doing away with the inheritance tax.  By doing this Patty ensured that unbelievably enormous wealth was passed down from generation to generation keeping the trust fund babies supplied.  The result of her vote means that in just a few generations there will be only 5 families in the USA who hold 90% of the wealth of the USA.  By doing away with the inheritance tax (aka "the death tax" (as Republicans call it)), Patty Murray enshrined one of the biggest Republican desires that has existed for years. Patty Murray likes to consider herself a "progressive".  With "progressives" like this, who needs a Republican?  Patty Murray is up for re-election to the Senate in 2010.  Does she deserve re-election?

      http://thinkprogress.org/...

  •  no she doesn't nt (0+ / 0-)

    "Don't fall or we both go" Derek Hersey

    by ban nock on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 08:43:22 PM PDT

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