The best way to cheat

The lessons of recent days in the financial markets: If you steal peoples' title to their houses, raid their pension plans, or empty their nest eggs, you better do so on a very big scale.  Stealing on a national level is fine, but on the global level is best.  Only small-time crooks may end up in jail; occasionally even a crook of the Tyco caliber gets into trouble; but the real big ones get bailed out by one government or another.

In the savings and loan financial crisis of the 1980s, investors and managers made irresponsible loans, manipulated their books, and misled those who invested in them. They made out like bandits. When they were caught red-handed (most financial criminals are not), the scale of their shenanigans was so large that millions of law-abiding citizens stood to lose their life savings, homes, and retirement funds. There was even a danger that the crooks would undermine the American economy with their manipulations. Hence the government bailed out the saving and loans banks at the tune of a least 175 billion dollars, which in the `80s was really a lot of money.

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CEOs Need to be Held Accountable

These are my first comments and first foray into the blogoshere, so I appreciate the opportunity to share some of my thoughts on executive compensation.  This past Thursday, Robert J. Samuelson's op-ed in The Washington Post titled "Delinquency Of the CEOs" brought up several good points on why CEOs and the subject of executive compensation should still be subject of strict public scrutiny.  The link to the op-ed can be found below: tent/article/2006/07/12/AR2006071201871. html

It is very surprising to me that not more has been done to put pressure on CEOs in the wake of Enron and other corporate scandals.  I know the article ran on Thursday, but before I posted my comments, I wanted to see what Congress is doing to monitor executive compensation.

I am by no means a policy expert, but the only pieces of legislation I found that had been recently introduced were H.R.5113 by Representative John Conyers that would reform executive compensation in corporate bankruptcies. The same bill, S.2556, was introduced by Evan Bayh in the Senate. The other bill, H.R.4291, the "Protection Against Executive Compensation Abuse Act" was introduced by Representative Barney Frank.  H.R. 4291 would amend the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to require additional disclosure to shareholders of executive compensation.

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CEO retirement deals

CEO pay appalls me.

When you see when the top execs get in packages, bonuses, retirements, and stock options, it makes your head spin.

This morning on CNN (while on the stairmaster, as usual), there was a discussion of CEOs getting 4 million per year pension plans while employee pension plans get slashed, (they were talking specifically about IBM, and being an IBM brat, I grew up believing in corporate benevolence and the notion of a safe, lifelong, company-funded retirement). This should leave us aghast. What kind of world is it where the leader of the organization gets all this extra bonus while the rest of us throw our money into the stock market lottery 401k mutual fund wishing well, hoping that things turn out great, and if they don't, then we may end up with social security and eat cat food in our 70s

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