Over 20 years ago I "temped" on the third shift at Abbott Laboratories. My job was to use an experimental mold to stamp out pieces for a proposed product. This mold shot out just one piece at a time and cost $5,000 (in 1980 dollars).In short, by not paying full attention I set the mold into the press wrong and with a single press of a button crushed their proposed innovation into a paperweight. For my stupidity I was fired.
What I want to know is where is my compensation package? Heck, I only crushed a mold, not tanked a record sized bank. Doesn't frugality count for something?
If Wall Street executives want part of the $700 billion bailout proposal, they'll need to accept some curbs on their pay. The details have yet to be settled, but Congress and legions of irate constituents managed to push Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson into accepting some restrictions. Most likely they'll have to give up lucrative exit packages from filing firms.
And what were those pay packages exactly? Here's a partial list put together from Forbes -
- Lloyd Blankfein, CEO Godlman Sachs, $74 million last year;
- Richard Fuld, CEO Lehman Bros., $71.9 million, last year and $354 million over the last five years;
- James E. Cayne, former CEO Bear Stearns, $49.31 million over the last two years;
- Martin J Sullivan, former CEO of AIG $39.6 million in the last three years, with an exit bonus of $19 million after leading the company to two record loss quarters in a row;
Another fun fact from this article is that in 1989 CEO's were paid 71 times more than their average employee. In 2007 they made 275 times more.
This article goes on to discuss ways to make sure CEOs treat their companies with more long term care by not just go for the short term. The author suggests that bonuses not be paid quarterly but be spread out to respond to multiple year company performance.
All in all the author is quite gentile in his suggestions. My own suggestions are more radical and draconian though, as befits an opinion piece. Frankly, I believe we as a country should ask ourselves one basic question - W.W.C.D. - What Would Calligula Do?
With Calligula in mind, I have a few suggestons -
- Confiscate all their lands and properties to pay for the war effort
- draft their wives, sons and daughters into Nevada brothels to help offset bailout costs
- appoint a couple of their polo ponies to the reconsituted board of directors
- send the lot of them to work as farm laborers somewhere where it is hot, sunny and humid