The Federal Government took an important step when it forced banks to accept funds in exchange for perferred stock making itself a part owner in some of the largest financial institutions in the United States.
Experience tells us that where federal funds are allocated, behavioral demands are not far behind.
Today, President Barack Obama dropped the second shoe in a move that iVoteAmerica believes sets the stage for more and more government intervention into the private sector.
The shoe that dropped fell like a jack boot on the necks of “executives” and how private companies and their owner/shareholders will be allowed compensate them.
It’s an easy boot to bring down if only because the recent excesses make the topic a highly charged emotional one and an easy sell to most Americans who are struggling through difficult financial times and are as angry as hell. Are we angry with American businesses or just the few slick execs that slid through the exits with a briefcase full of compensation?
Who Needs More Control, Us or Them?
We would ask, “Who needs more control, business or government?” We recall and remind Americans of Ronald Reagan’s statement, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”
But does Obama’s new policy of controlling the pay of what he calls, without explanation, “top executives” open another door that in the end weakens business and empowers Washington with a new set of compliance regulations that will control not just executive pay but company operating cultures, models, products, services and a host of other free enterprise components that are the real cure to an ailing economy.
Do we really want or even need Washington telling privately or publically owned companies how they should operate financially? Isn’t that something Washington needs to apply to itself, not us?
Here are the salient features from President Obama’s announcement today and we invite you to read and parse it slowly, asking yourself what it might really mean:
…these guidelines we are putting in place are only the beginning….we are going to examine the ways and means and manner of executive compensation…we are going to be taking a look at broader reforms so that executives are compensated for sound risk management and rewarded for growth measured over years not just days or weeks…we all have to pull together and take our share of responsibility…that’s true here in Washington and it’s true on Wall Street…the American people are carrying a huge burden as a result of this crisis…”
Notice the language contained in these key lines:
“…this is only the beginning…”
“…we are going to examine executive compensation…”
“…we are going to be taking a look at broader reforms…”
“…we have to pull together and take our share of responsibility…”
“…that’s true in Washington and true on Wall Street…”
“…the American people are carrying a huge burden as a result of this crisis…”
iVoteAmerica thinks this is a carefully woven set of pronouncements designed to spotlight the emotional issue of executive pay as the precursor to more socialization of our economic structure. Afterall, who could possibly agree with the montrous financial severence and bonus packages paid to executives whose performances were dismal?
We believe, however, that Obama’s pronouncementst should be viewed cautiously as a signal of Washington’s claim to the right to use taxpayer funds as the means for intruding into, tampering with and nationalizing much of the private sector in order to further strengthen the need for centralized control and dependency.
Exercising a New Brand of Self-Righteousness
Suddenly Washington DC is being cast as the Robin Hood of the common man while the private sector is labeled as suspect, out of control and the sole and complete cause of America’s financial dilemma. Is Washington suddenly exercising new brand of self-righteousness? Has anyone noticed the PORK our elected officials tried to steal from us under the guise of stimulating the economy?
Is this what Americans really believe? Is this type of control what you want to see Washington implement? Do you really believe the government is more capable of creating meaningful corporate reform than are the owners and shareholders of America’s businesses? Do you think that the current economic situation resulted from a handful of greedy and overly compensated executives?
Or, when you step back from the emotion of the issues do you think Washington needs to conduct a little policy reform of its own? After all, wasn’t it President Obama who recently attempted to put three tax dodgers on his cabinet with one being successful, the new head of the IRS?!?
Are we listening and thinking and parsing? Are we letting Washington go too far? Is there any chance we are over-reacting, moving too quickly and going too far?