Saturday, July 24, 2010

Pay Czar Leaves Payouts Alone

The administration's rationale for appointing a Wall Street pay czar (i.e., the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of the Special Master for Executive Compensation) was to ensure that executive compensation at firms bailed out with our tax dollars does not get out of hand.  The government's bailout of Goldman Sachs via payments to AIG is old news by now.  What's new is that the pay czar put in place to prevent abuses of those payouts has largely abdicated his role:

For all his tough talk about excessive pay for bankers, the Obama administration's pay czar let the executives go without a fight.

Kenneth Feinberg announced Friday that he would not try to recoup $1.6 billion in compensation given to top executives at bailed-out banks because he thought shaming them was punishment enough.

A slap on the wrist and the robber barons are free to rob some more.  I guess this means he'll run the $20B BP compensation fund the same way.  Hey, who's been more hurt by that oil spill than BP itself? Using that logic, BP executives can pay themselves the $20B and not worry about any consequences more severe than a stern cross-eyed look from the pay czar. (sarcasm filter off)

Full disclosure:  No position in GS, BP, or AIG. No chance of ever being appointed a Special Master for Executive Compensation.