Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tiresome Whining

One of the last places I would have expected to find an article decrying excessive executive compensation is the Business section of the Los Angeles Times, yet Michael Hiltzig's column today does just that. He is disgusted not only by the pay some of these yahoos are pulling down, but also by the unseemly whining over the caps in pay which are part of the conditions for the TARP bailout.

Every day seems to present yet another example of the disjunction between the financial community's sense of entitlement and the real world occupied by everybody else.

The other day, the inspector general for the government's financial bailout program, known as TARP, revealed that Chrysler’s lending arm requested $750 million in new money but was turned down because its top 25 executives wouldn't all agree to the compensation limits TARP requires.

That's after the government had already given Chrysler Financial $1.5 billion. (Chrysler says, for its part, that it decided it didn't need the additional money after all. Nothing to do with the pay caps, it says. But of the original $1.5 billion, so far it has repaid only $3.5 million.)

Meanwhile, a passel of Wall Street professionals unburdened themselves to New York magazine about the punitive cuts in pay and bonuses they’re suffering -- imposed, to their minds, by jealous people less talented and successful than they.

Talented? Perhaps some, maybe even most, of these business whizzes are talented, but those talents must have been directed at something other than ensuring their companies or banks would remain healthy and productive. I suspect their own incomes and perquisites were considered more worthy targets for those talents.

Successful? At what? These companies were/are about to go under because of appalling mismanagement over at least the last decade. Solid companies like the Big Three auto manufacturers, AIG, and a host of commercial banks were driven into the ground by these "talented and successful" people.

It's hard to summon even a sympathetic grimace for people who now complain that they will have to "fly commercial" rather than use the company jet and will have to buy fewer designer fashions for the Spring. Many of us who still have jobs have had our hours cut, and those who have been laid off are wondering how they will feed and house their families on unemployment benefits, knowing even that income source isn't going to last forever.

The last thing we want invading our space is the sound of adults whining endlessly about how we just don't understand or appreciate them and their need for annual salaries in the $10 to $30 million range.

Parasitic morons.



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