According to the Huffington Post, many Republicans oppose placing limits on CEO pay:
Senate Minority Leader Jon Kyl (R-AZ) blamed the “tone deaf” bankers for creating the political environment that allowed Obama to call for a cap.
“Because of their excesses, very bad things begin to happen, like the United States government telling a company what it can pay its employees. That’s not a good thing in America,” Kyl told the Huffington Post.
“What executives have done is troubling, but it’s equally troubling to have government telling shareholders how much they can pay the executives,” said Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL).
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) said that he is “one of the chief defenders of Obama on the Republican side,” but “as I was listening to him make those statements [about executive pay], I thought, is this still America? Do we really tell people how to run [a business], and who to pay and how much to pay?”
I really don’t understand what the problem for Republicans is here- the Democratic proposal is not to tell every company all over the United States what to pay their executives, it is a proposal designed to protect taxpayer dollars. Unless I am mistaken (and I may be wrong with some details, if so correct me), what they are stating is that IF you take bailout money, meaning if you have driven your company so far into the ground that you have to come, hat in hand, to the American public for a bailout, the most you can be paid is a half a million dollars that year.
There is nothing wrong with that, and given these companies have spent the last few months blowing TARP funds on all sorts of nonsense, to include bonuses to employees, junkets, and new offices, it makes complete and perfect sense to me. Given that just today we are learning these banks and CEO’s got $80 billion too much money, this makes this even more sense. Additionally, there is an easy way to not fall under these regulations: don’t take any bailout money.
In other words, no one is having their pay limited except for people running companies that are on the dole. As the article notes, we already do this with another class of citizens- welfare recipients. However, there is an even better example from recent months of Senators deciding they should dictate how much people are made. Here is John Kyl, worried today about government telling employees how much they can make, just a few weeks ago:
Here is Sen. Inhofe in a press release opposing the auto industry bailout:
For example, there are no provisions in the language that specifically direct the ‘car czar’ to take any specific restructuring actions, such as renegotiating union contracts or debt obligations.
And then there is this:
The chief executives of Detroit’s Big Three auto makers appearing before Congress today don’t make the kind of money that Wall Street bosses pull down, but they could still face tough questions about executive compensation.
The legislation under consideration by the Senate would require the government to bar bonuses for executives making more than $250,000. The bill in the House of Representatives has similar provisions for those companies receiving loans, demanding no bonuses to employees making more than $200,000, no “golden parachutes” payouts to fleeing executives and “no compensation plan that could encourage manipulation of reported earnings to enhance compensation.”
Spokesmen at Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. said their companies are still reviewing the bills released Monday night but added that the auto makers are already taking steps themselves that would effectively institute similar kinds of caps.
In other words, they are perfectly content to dictate the wages of hundreds of thousands of auto workers who make 40-80k a year, but the notion of limiting Wall Street CEO’s to half a million dollars a year if (and only if) they take government money upsets them deeply. How clueless are these guys? Do they just think no one will notice?
Put aside the fact that they honestly have no idea what socialism is, but are they completely unable to see how this is playing in the public?
Obligatory Amazon link to The Corporation (irony is dead here).