One news item that may be getting lost in the din of the Black Sunday developments is that Fannie Mae
The Federal Housing Finance Agency said it will block the severance payments for Fannie's Daniel Mudd and Freddie's Richard Syron, which together had been estimated at up to $23 million.
I have to say I'm down with that. When I begged Uncle Sam to please let something fail recently, I brought up the idea that when companies require bailouts, maybe top brass should be required to jump with no golden parachute whatsoever. Why do we give top executives a cushy landing when they're let go? Doesn't that sound suspiciously like an incentive to screw up, or at least give a message that screwing up wouldn't be that bad for them?
Take the Big Three's recent hope for government loans in the $25 billion to $50 billion range. How short are the memories of those who forget that Chrysler is headed up by Bob Nardelli, who left Home Depot
Shareholders should pressure their companies for say-on-pay policies and reasonable salaries. It's not unheard of. Costco
I think golden parachutes in particular should be viewed as symbols of decadence and thievery, not to mention the antithesis of true free-market dealings. Failure should not pay. In the case of bailouts and government assistance, then both shareholders and the public at large are the ones who get their pockets picked for a whole lot of nothing. I don't see why this stuff has gotten by so easily for as long as it has -- it's low on both ethics and logic. So many of these guys have been paid millions year-in and year-out anyway, sometimes making terrible decisions that don't come out in the wash until years later (like now).
Surely we can strive for better than this. Now is a good time to be furious -- and start rethinking the policies of a decadent phase that encouraged greed, ego, and self-absorption over ethics, prudence, and the pride of corporate excellence. It's a time we must put behind us.
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