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Greg

Simple question, and I do not disagree with you on this issue.

How is this any different than CEO's making huge amounts of money while their companies collapse? When shareholders and workers have complained about issues such as in the past you have always said this is the results of the free market. I do not think that people who lose money and do poor should be rewarded, I am just wonder how does this jive with your previous positions on CEO and others compensation packages?

Take for instant Carly Fiorina. She left with a $45 million dollar golden parachute after being fired while 20,000 of her employees were laid off. During her time at HP she pushed the $19 billion acquisition over the opposition of many HP stockholders, including, most notably, Walter Hewlett, the son of the company's founder, who argued the merger would not make HP more competitive. She was wrong and HP has still not recovered from her tenure.

At HP, Fiorina developed the reputation of a manager who knocked heads together—or who chopped them off, plus there were massive layoffs during her tenure. At the time of her dismissal, Hewlett-Packard stock was trading at about the same price as when she first unveiled the Compaq deal. The day she was dumped, the company's stock price rose 7 percent.

Again we are not in disagreement here, I just do not see this as the same position you held in the past?

Peg

I have not changed my opinion about corporate compensation. Let me clarify.

I think that it should be up to corporations to judge what is reasonable and fair compensation for their employees and management. This is true whether in boom times or bust.

Nevertheless, I have held for quite a long time that compensation at the top is, in many circumstances, way out of whack - and harmful both to business and our greater culture at large. It is irresponsible to have gigantic packages for the top people while lower level employees are being let go and while a company is struggling. While I am fairly opposed to government legislation of any sort in these matters, I do think that this kind of behavior invites it.

In other words, if the companies cannot police themselves well, ultimately they may find that they lose their freedom to choose. Self inflicted, in other words.

And - this is and has been my belief for a long time. No change here.

Greg

So then you hold the same position that I and people like Barney Frank have advocated? Now when Barney Frank spoke about this issue being out of whacked, you held a somewhat different position. At least it appeared that way.

Again, neither Frank's or my position was that the government put limits on this stuff, he shared the same opinion as I that stockholders should have a say in this. Given that the American people are quasi stockholders in these banks given the amount of money we have given them, we should have complete say in these matters. At the time I believe you and the whole right wing claimed he was trying to bring big government in to handle this stuff.

I know I wrote about this and posted a video clip of the whole thing on this blog (as well as Free Republic but their minds exploded and it was pulled there) but if I have time I will later pull it up. Again if my memory serves me correct (and that is a IF) you held a different opinion then. But then again that is if my memory is correct.

Peg

I guess I did not make myself clear enough.

I do not believe - in principle - that the government should have limits on compensation. In principle, this should belong to the private sector to determine.

Nevertheless, I think it immoral and wrong for boards and executives to deliver compensation that is so out of whack with the marketplace. And, when tax dollars become involved, the game changes. As I said above, when behavior becomes as irresponsible as it has, private business invites involvement. We may well have reached that point.

If this is Barney Frank's position and yours, Greg, then I share it. But, it seems to me that you think the government should be involved irrespective of circumstances - and I do not.

Greg

Peg, I am in totally agreement with you on this issue. I was not looking at creating an argument on it. It just seemed to me that this was a different position that you took when Frank spoke on this issue nearly a year ago.

I agree with you 100% this is crazy. The point I made, and the point that Frank made, and I do need to look back and see how the discussion went, was that shareholders, those that own the company needed to have a voice in this. I believe that is what I stated, and that is what Frank stated. I am not sure where this ideal that either position I or Frank listed had anything to do with government being involved. I think I will look back at this post I somewhat remember to see how it went.

Greg

I looked back at the post. It was back on January 11, 2007 on a post called

Not Too Cold, Not Too Hot...
http://moot.typepad.com/what_if/2007/01/not_too_cold_no.html#comments

It looks as if my memory served me wrong since after I posted my position and Frank's position we agreed that it was not unreasonable. So on that your position did not change and I was wrong. It was a rear occasion that we agreed on a position.

WeK

Peg,
I'm with you. When tax dollars become involved, the game changes. I'm glad when we can agree on something political.

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