Execs To America: Kiss Our Overly-Compensated Asses

H/T to barbara for pix.

We’ll be delivering our petition to Congress when Barney Frank’s House Financial Services Committee holds a hearing on AIG at 10am tomorrow. You can sign it here and leave your comments.

Top o’ the payroll to you?

Anticipating restrictions on bonuses, officials at Citigroup Inc and Morgan Stanley are exploring ways to sidestep tough new federal caps on compensation, the Wall Street Journal said. 

Executives at these banks and other financial institutions that received government aid are discussing increasing base salaries for some executives and other top-producing employees, the paper said, citing people familiar with the situation.

More from the WSJ

Meanwhile, in the "other half" of America:

The RCCAA runs Pine Haven Homeless Shelter in Beckley, the largest shelter in the state. Bailey says all 150 beds are full and she’s referring people to Charleston and Bluefield. 

“We are seeing more and more people who are coming into our agency who have never received services from a non-profit organization. They were the ones giving money to non-profit corporations and now their company has downsized and they’ve lost their jobs,” said Bailey.

So, let’s see:  regular folks get downsized out of their jobs to shore up corporate bottom lines, and lose their ability to earn by working for decent house and food for their families.

By comparison, the big worry at the top of the pay chain?  How to keep that pay trough flowing, uninterrupted, even though what’s been done to earn the salaries is run a company into the ground and then hold out a hand for more taxpayer dollars.  The selfsame taxpayers whose jobs are being downsized to keep those profit margins inflated for salary justifications at the top.

Gee, I wonder why there is rising populist bile, don’t you?

71 Responses to "Execs To America: Kiss Our Overly-Compensated Asses"
GregOPauls | Tuesday March 17, 2009 09:24 am 1

Erin Go Braugh!

I guess all the more reason not to have an enormous bail out.
We should have put more thought into the amount and the recipients.

Mauimom | Tuesday March 17, 2009 10:38 am 2

Wow, love the pic!!

tejanarusa | Tuesday March 17, 2009 10:41 am 3

Great illustration, Christy!
It’s good to be back at FDL where I can get the updates and the facts, after a week spent with my 90-yr old Republican mother.
I love her, and her heart is basically good, but she buys into the wingnuttery, and after a week seeing her mail, I see where some of it comes from. She gets “send money, please!” direct mail from various organizations every day. Sometimes it’s the Salvation Army, sometimes it’s Judicial Watch, crying that the Pres. has “made three (3!) ‘unconstitutional appointments”, most of all Hillary, and that JW needs her donation to pursue litigation against the President (!) for his “unconstitutional actions.”

Actually, she didn’t get that one – I got the mail that day, and I threw it away before I took the rest of it to her. But that was only one — and since she’s paranoid, like many elderly who don’t have a grasp of modern technology – about identity theft, she reads through each one to be sure to black out her name before shredding it.

Sigh. She came through her lumpectomy with flying colors, but she’s surrounded by political idiocy.

We watched the retirement community’s Protestant Lenten Wednesday service, (it’s televised over the in-house tv system) where even the nice old chaplain’s sermon twice referred to Caiaphas, the Chief Priest in Jerusalem in the Easter story, as “liberal.”
It took a couple beats before I realized he didn’t mean it as a compliment.

Sorry if I went OT – didn’t realize I needed to get the above off my chest so much!
Anyway, good to be home at FDL.

tejanarusa | Tuesday March 17, 2009 10:51 am 4

Hunh. My original intent was to post a follow-on story re former donors who are now recipients of charity/services.
NPR Talk of the Nation yesterday had a piece on the subject, with several callers who described themselves as in that boat, and how hard it was to sign up for food stamps/welfare/etc.

The most pitiful was an older woman whose attorney husband worked 30+ years as in-house corporate counsel. Got laid off, can’t get a new job (and I guess, has no idea how to hang out his own shingle, never did litigation), and how hard it is to keep “pretending” to their social circle that nothing’s wrong!
They were doing without health insurance because of pre-existing conditions, even though they went ahead w/ a commitment to pay for a friend’s child’s last year of private school. (!)
The social services worker guests told her to give up the pretending and ask for the help they need, with suggestions.
The caller herself had never held a paying job.

Actually, now that I think of it, these folks are around my own age, late fifties – but she sounded so old – more like my mother’s generation than mine. I don’t know many women my age who have never held a paying job. Apparently these people were social types; she did lots of volunteer work – Junior League sort, I guess. I feel sorry for her, but even though I’m currenlty unemployed and scrambling a lot, I’ve been poor before, so I know something about how to live cheap, and this poor woman has no idea; embarrasment is keeping her from getting her heart medication.

And she doesn’t even realize how much company she has.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 11:34 am 5

I couldn’t resist using this pix — it was just such a perfect juxtaposition with the “screw you, we’ll take the money anyway” attitude. Perfect.

GerryM | Tuesday March 17, 2009 11:50 am 6

Goldman Sachs was fined on March 4 by the SEC. The total paid by the groups fined was in millions of dollars.
Our bail-out money is going to pay fines for illegal practices.

ratfood | Tuesday March 17, 2009 11:53 am 7
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 5

It’s a crack up.:-)

spurious | Tuesday March 17, 2009 11:54 am 8
In response to ratfood @ 7


sunshine | Tuesday March 17, 2009 11:55 am 9
In response to tejanarusa @ 3

We have truth in advertising but not in campaigning literature and that should be changed.

Loved the pic too.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 11:56 am 10
In response to ratfood @ 7

I was split on whether I should use it or not — but I went with the butt of the joke.

Hugh | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:04 pm 11

Everyday we get more evidence that the financial industry remains completely unreformed. You don’t like our bonuses? No problem, we’ll call them something else.

Along these lines the NYMEX near oil future is trading at $49.23. Given the lousy state of our economy it probably should be trading down in the $32-34 range. So why isn’t it? Because the government has managed to free up credit a little bit. But that credit is not going to restart the economy. Oh no, it’s going into one of the few remaining crap games in town, the oil futures market. In other words, at the merest hint of credit easing. The financial community puts what money is available straight back into the kind of destructive speculation that got us here in the first place.

Synoia | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:04 pm 12

Jobs (Or not)
Toxic Assets Clearance Sale
-5% Down, US Gove provides 95%
-Potential 20-40% ROI from Financial Re-Finagling
-Manufacturing 10% ROI max
-Where’s the Investment going in 2009 & 2010?

newdealfarmgrrrlll | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:05 pm 13

Luuurrrvvvv the pix!

Here’s the comment i added to the petition when i signed: I’ll run one of those large financial institutions into the ground for only 80 thou a year and no bonuses. Think of the savings! It would be the first real wage increase for me since the 80’s so i am very interested in such a position.

Last night on my commute home from work, i was wondering if the rising populist bile will do for CEOs as it did for French monarchs several centuries ago. In a modern non-violent sorta way. I’m for stripping some of these bastards of homes, savings, healthcare etc so they can experience life as most of us do. If it’s good enough for me to be in this condition, it’s good enough for them to experience it. And before i’m helped, i want all children to have food, shelter, clothing, medical care and decent schooling. grrr.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:05 pm 14
In response to tejanarusa @ 3

So glad your mom got through the surgery okay — it’s a rough road with a lumpectomy, more so with the mental fear of results and such than anything else. So glad she’s doing well.

WarOnWarOff | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:08 pm 15
In response to Hugh @ 11

Oh no, it’s going into one of the few remaining crap games in town, the oil futures market.

But see, when we’re all paying $4-$5 per gallon of gas again, it will show that the economy has fully recovered!

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:09 pm 16
In response to Hugh @ 11

It’s as though someone decided to just own up to “screw it, we’ll take all the money while we can, suckas” as a strategery, isn’t it? Blergh.

foothillsmike | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:09 pm 17

The picture and the attitude is also very appropriate for Gov Sanfords attitude toward the stimulous money he wants to redirect towards the SC debt. A rethug state rep claims that it will cost the state 4700 jobs. Way to go Sanford.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:10 pm 18
In response to newdealfarmgrrrlll @ 13

Barbara found it and linked it to me this morning. I just HAD to use it. *G*

dcblogger | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:11 pm 19

How German bankers preyed upon seniors

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:13 pm 20
In response to foothillsmike @ 17

He is a moron if he thinks that people in his state are going to just forgive and forget when their unemployment runs out. Seriously.

foothillsmike | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:16 pm 21

If Sanford is allowed to get away with it it will result in 4000 teachers loosing their jobs and two prisons beiing closed with 700 guards also being fired and 3400 prisoners being released.

WarOnWarOff | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:17 pm 22
In response to newdealfarmgrrrlll @ 13

If We The People took this opportunity to re-charter corporations to serve only a limited function (and maybe even the public interest), and took away their goddamned “personhood,” then I might be inclined to let a few repentant ones escape the guillotine. ;)

ekunin | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:19 pm 23

Don’t know that anything’s going to change or that populist outrage will turn into anything meaningful. Same thing happened in the late eighties with the savings and loan debacle. Rich people got bailed out and the assets, less toxic than those today, got parceled amongst wealthy vultures who bought them cheap. As long as most people identify with the privileged class in that they expect to soon join them they and see class warfare as a dirty phrase, they are going to get their heads handed to them. What is going on today is past dishonesty, but it is going on and it won’t stop any time soon. Hell, we can’t even get out of Iraq.

sunshine | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:19 pm 24

When families and companies have financial troubles they cut back where ever they can and sell what they don’t need to get the things they do need. I haven’t heard of any of the Financial companies that got bail out funds doing this. I have heard about all the sacrifices GM has made. Maybe this “October Presidential election financial crisis suprise” is the biggest scam since the sting? I haven’t been able to wrap my head around this. Is this payback to a candiate that campaigned against lobbyist and now he is the President? The banks quit lending and that action shut down so many things. Why is big business doing business on a regular basis with loans? Doesn’t anybody pay cash for what they buy? Isn’t that the root of the problem? Business like AIG move around more money with other big business’ and then blame home owners when business borrow so much more money than the public does. Do they have two sets of books? I ask because they just do not act like a company that is in trouble. They do not act like a company they have pride in and want it to be successfull. Is it really a fluke that every thing good about the U. S. has been devastated by Bush/Cheney on accident. No one can be wrong 100% of the time unless they did it on purpose to make this country go down.

Hugh | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:20 pm 25
In response to WarOnWarOff @ 15

The increase in gas prices is a story in and of itself. Back when gas prices were really high I formulated what I called two Iron Laws about energy. The first was that oil and gas prices are not directly coupled to each other. The second was gasoline prices are always manipulated, i.e. it’s not that sometimes they are and sometimes they’re not.

So what happened was that despite low prices for oil and very high stocks of oil, refiners refined less gasoline creating an artificial shortage and gasoline prices rose. Now we see both oil and gas going up but the two processes are unrelated. With oil, it’s financial players who are driving the price. With gasoline, it’s the oil companies.

BooRadley | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:30 pm 26
In response to Hugh @ 11

Thank you.

BooRadley | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:30 pm 27

Christy, thanks.


alank | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:34 pm 28

Bottom of the afternoon to ya.

katymine | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:35 pm 29

Just got off the phone to negotiate a payment plan for my Nov 2008 hospital stay, their finance office was so nice…… can you imagine being asked… “what can you afford to pay every month?”….. Oh for not-for profit hospitals AND no interest too……

earlofhuntingdon | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:38 pm 30

Not a new problem; it’s just coming to light. Boards and top execs have spent an inordinate amount of time on this issue for two decades. In addition, there are HR teams, specialist compensation advisers, HR and SEC lawyers (both in- and outhouse), financial, treasury and accounting staffs, and VP spokespeople. Few sections of SEC filings are as overworked and disclose as little as the compensation disclosures, despite weak attempts by the SEC to make such disclosures fuller and more meaningful.

It’s just that now, we may have reached a tipping point that has been building for two decades.

foothillsmike | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:40 pm 31

AIG has been stating that these “retention awards” were for the purpose of retaining top people to accomplish what has to be done. TPM is now reporting that 11 of the top 73 bonus recipients have already left AIG

WarOnWarOff | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:40 pm 32
In response to Hugh @ 25

So I take it the financial players are still allowed to buy oil futures on margin, and that nothing has (or will ever) be done about highly-leveraged trading?

puravida | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:42 pm 33

Well, this song just happened to come up on my playlist:

Got a woman that loves me
And I love her so
But she’s all dressed up now
With nowhere to go.

All our old hang-outs
Are boarded up and closed
Or bein’ bought by somebody
Nobody knows.

But things ain’t that bad
We still got the kids
We’re goin’ out to the movies
Right after this.

Goin’ back to school
Savin’ up my tuition
Gonna rewrite all the rules
On the old blackboard.

‘Cause it seems things today
There ain’t no magic in ‘em
They don’t cut the grade
Like they used to.

Depression blues
Nowhere to go
Bein’ bought by somebody
Nobody knows.

Is there anybody out there
With a voice loud and clear
Gonna sing all the words
We all wanna hear.

Depression blues
Nowhere to go
Bein’ bought by somebody
Nobody knows.

Depression Blues (Neil Young)

katymine | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:49 pm 34

this was AIG’s financial services division based in London….. HOW many of these employees are US Taxpayers? AND if they are US citizens, there are ways to bypass US tax laws?

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:50 pm 35
In response to katymine @ 29

Our hospital does the same thing — we did that when we had The Peanut, and they were wonderful about it.

GregB | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:51 pm 36
In response to foothillsmike @ 31

See, the bonuses weren’t enough!


Hugh | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:51 pm 37
In response to WarOnWarOff @ 32

Nothing has changed in the oil futures market. Margins remain at 5-7%. So there is still a lot of leveraging opportunity there.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:52 pm 38
In response to earlofhuntingdon @ 30

This tipping point has been building for a long, long time. I was talking with my FIL about this a few minutes ago and said that this — coming at this particular time under these particular circumstances — has to be one of the most tone-deaf business moments I have ever seen.

Honestly, did they think that the general public would go “Oh, how awesome for you to rake in the cash that would have formerly gone to my salary but, alas, you laid me off to suck in more profits. Boo yah for you, you greedy yet amazingly more deserving than me and my family person, you.”

dosido | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:56 pm 39

Well, kiss my Smith Barney stone!

That’s a leprachaun I hope never to meet!!! LOL

katymine | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:57 pm 40

this whole financial thing just makes me sick…… here I am negotiating payment plans with providers WITH full insurance because my out of pocket is high….

AND my kidney cancer support group is lobbying congress to up research dollars funding from last years $1.5 million to $15 million while other parts of the government is throwing BILLIONS of dollars down AIG’s (and others) gold plated toilets……. the whole of cancer research dollars is just a tiny percent of what AIG has received so far……… just think of the possibilities…

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:57 pm 41
In response to dosido @ 39


OMG — you just made me spew tea all over myself.

sunshine | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:59 pm 42
In response to Hugh @ 11

A couple weeks ago oil was a couple dollars below 40 and T Boone came on CNBC and said that oil would see $70 before it would see $40. again. I wondered then and there who was he was talking to? I mean a filthy rich man takes the time to get on a stock tv channel and says that, just who is he talking to? Me, you, I don’t think so. If as Brian Williams said on Jon Stewarts show that there was a report out that said about 100 banks will fail this year, then the wealthy have to have their money some place. In cash they are only insured up to $250,000. I have wondered of the 13 banks that closed how many and who had accounts over $250,000. and lost their money. I have thought all along we would hear new reports on the people who were wiped out but I haven’t seen any.

If I counted correctly there are 69 bank closures here.

dosido | Tuesday March 17, 2009 12:59 pm 43
In response to puravida @ 33

is that an oldie or old themes written new again?

We watched Trading Places with Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd last night. “The best way to hurt rich people is to take their money away.”

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:00 pm 44
In response to sunshine @ 24

If you read my post from earlier this morning, AIG did, in fact, have some hinky accounting practices — that were known for years. As in at least since 2001.

dosido | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:02 pm 45

It’s verrrry interesting, too, to watch political contributions change over the last few years esp. from the financial/investment industry. It has more than doubled from 2006 to 2008 from $71 million to $151 million per Opensecrets.org

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:04 pm 46
In response to dosido @ 45

Sadly, though, that’s not unusual — you see it switch back and forth as the political winds do, and as companies begin to hedge their bets from one power center toward or away from another depending on public mood and leadership.

It’s really freaky when you think about how well they can seem to look at that — but how poorly they have done in forecasting business winds the last few years, eh?

dakine01 | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:04 pm 47

Gee, and who was president during that period? /s

GregB | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:06 pm 48

And let’s not forget, it is called class warfare when the subject of an increase in the minimum wage comes up.

These f*ckers are sick.


dosido | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:06 pm 49

Oh, yeah, I get that it will flow into one party or the other. No, I’m pointing out that total contributions to both parties doubled.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:07 pm 50
In response to dakine01 @ 47

There was talk about an SEC action — but I can’t find anything saying if it went anywhere or not. And I can’t find anything at all saying that SDNY or the CT USAtty went after them either. Given that this was also around the time that 9/11 occurred and the entire nation and especially that region, understandably, were dealing with the day to day of the aftermath there, it may be that things just got settled quietly or nothing happened at all.

But I’m asking around because every fricking day Hank Greenberg is on my teevee as the “financial expert” and he appears to have been right in the middle of the book cooking crapola.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:07 pm 51
In response to dosido @ 49

Ahhhhhhh — missed that. Yeah, don’t you wonder how much of that was “look the other way” money?

Cujo359 | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:08 pm 52

I can understand folks at the top not being too interested in the people who work for them. That seems almost normal. What I find so difficult to understand is that they seem to care less about the companies they’re running than that they’re earning as much as the Joneses who run the other companies. Isn’t doing a difficult job well enough of a reward, assuming you’re already far richer than most people? I think that would be enough.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:08 pm 53
In response to GregB @ 48

Hell, as Jane reported earlier, Citibank went on crazy alert status about WalMart over the possibility that EFCA might be discussed in Congress. Jeebus, talk about yer fricking double standards…

dosido | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:09 pm 54
In response to GregB @ 48

I really shut my r’winger up when he was railing about the mythical union worker who makes over $70,000/year. I said “Good for him! That’s great and I wish him well.” Meaning, that here’s someone working hard and making it, you know, the fricking American dream and all that. It’s called pay for hire. It’s not robbery. GOP is all about slavery these days.

Christy Hardin Smith | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:09 pm 55
In response to Cujo359 @ 52

Apparently? No. This has been another edition of greedy answers to ethical questions.

Cujo359 | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:13 pm 56
In response to katymine @ 40

That $15 million is about fifteen bonuses for AIG. It’s disgusting.

WarOnWarOff | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:13 pm 57

Why, it’s a bloody status symbol to run a company into the ground!

Cujo359 | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:15 pm 58

My question was rhetorical of course, but you’re right. That is the answer.

sunshine | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:17 pm 59
In response to Cujo359 @ 56

I agree that is disgusting.

Cujo359 | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:17 pm 60
In response to WarOnWarOff @ 57

It must be. It’s something I’ve never managed. I keep thinking I should offer some of these companies the option of hiring me to ruin their business for them. I’d do it for much less than those guys did, and I’d be happy for being paid to do such a lousy job.

dakine01 | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:19 pm 61

puravida | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:22 pm 62
In response to dosido @ 43

It’s an oldie-written way back around ‘82.

Neil’s timeless.

NorskeFlamethrower | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:25 pm 63
In response to ekunin @ 23

Citizen ekunin:

This is NUTHIN’ like the response to the S&L crisis in the ’80’s, the impact of this collapse and corporate welfare has already turned lifelong Republicans and anti-union “independants” to the Democrats by the millions and even in 1932 there weren’t the number of “middle class” folks fallin’ as far as most have already…and it took almost 4 years from 1929-’32 for everyone to hit the bottom, today EVERYone in the bottom 90% has been hit and there are millions more of us than there were in 1932.

No Citizen ekunin, even the fat cats are gettin’ the picture, they’re tryin’ ta get theirs and take down as much of the social infrastructure as possible ‘cuz they know they don’t have much time left. The reaction to this economic collapse is gunna shake this country from the 19th into the 21st Century and we haven’t even begun to see the “populist outrage” yet!

barbara | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:47 pm 64

Just got home from tax prep time, and laughed out loud at the photo. It looks much better with a post, Christy! Big LOL.

Elliott | Tuesday March 17, 2009 01:54 pm 65

Póg mo thóin!

barbara | Tuesday March 17, 2009 02:09 pm 66
In response to Elliott @ 65

You are SO clever!!! Who knew??

barbara | Tuesday March 17, 2009 02:24 pm 67
In response to Elliott @ 65

Oh, wait. That was wrong!! The “who knew” was about “Póg mo thóin!” and not about your cleverness. Urk!

Elliott | Tuesday March 17, 2009 02:32 pm 68
In response to barbara @ 66

barbara, póg mo thóin!

Ta tu go halainn.

redford | Tuesday March 17, 2009 03:05 pm 69

As an 85 % shareholder, the US govt needs to tell the would-be recipients of bonuses, “No, the company is not paying bonuses.” Clearly explain why, then walk away. No threats, just facts.

If would-be recipients choose not to purse the bonuses, good for us. If they choose to sue for the bonus, rake their name through the mud like there’s no tomorrow. If they’re awarded the bonus, to some extent, we’ve still won. We’ve established a deterrent and even though the would-be is now a “be”, we’ve still given them the Madoff moniker…a pretty high price to pay.

MarkH | Tuesday March 17, 2009 06:07 pm 70
In response to tejanarusa @ 4

And she doesn’t even realize how much company she has.

Maybe we need a website where people can go and e-sign to let the world know they’re unemployed for the first time in their lives and they’re scared and confused.

Everybody in trouble needs to know they’re not the only one.
Everybody in trouble needs to know where to go for help.

MarkH | Tuesday March 17, 2009 06:16 pm 71
In response to WarOnWarOff @ 32

So I take it the financial players are still allowed to buy oil futures on margin, and that nothing has (or will ever) be done about highly-leveraged trading?

The futures markets are complicated because of their international character. I would hope Geithner will be discussing this with other finance ministers at the G-20 meeting. I think changes were put off last summer because Bush was in charge.

Sorry but the comments are closed on this post