Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Idiocy or lie? 

We all know that the question is inappropriate regarding Republicans, as they lack the moral and intellectual skills necessary to discern the difference between what it is expedient to say and what is true.

Is it appropriate to ask this question about the recent utterances of Bart Osama?

(Note: limiting executive compensation is not only or even primarily a question of fairness. The massive bonuses are awarded as shares of profits made by banks as they game the stock market; people came up with credit-default swaps so they could get and keep big bonuses, which they would be able to keep even if their chicanery destroyed their own companies. No control of Wall St is possible without capping the bonuses.)

So we read about Osama's recent remarks:

...Despite immense, taxpayer-financed rescue packages needed to overcome the crisis, the financial sector in the US is rapidly returning to business as usual. Indeed, three US banks – Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan – which received some $45bn of bailout aid, each paid billions of dollars more in bonuses in 2009 than they earned in 2008.

Here again, Europe is leading, while the Obama administration is dragging its feet. Europe has proposed far-reaching reforms designed to impose new rules on executive pay and bonuses, requiring that banks link pay to long-term rather than short-term performance, and that they "claw back" any bonuses received in the face of losses. Europe wants a financial police force that has powers to slash payments where investments prove to have failed, and to force boardrooms to control levels of speculation. Europe also wants to block the exercising of stock options for set periods and expose top bank directors to penalties, following huge payouts to failed bank chiefs.

The Obama administration's approach has been much more tepid, to say the least. The US financial industry, as expected, is fighting these reforms, but what do we make of a recent quote by President Obama questioning the need for supporting Europe's proposals. "Why is it," he asked during a recent interview, "that we're going to cap executive compensation for Wall Street bankers but not Silicon Valley entrepreneurs or [American] football players?"

Merely stupid or willfully deceptive? (Though this is so ridiculous I don't know who it is meant to deceive.)


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?