Bah! Humbug! This makes me angry – very angry!

Banks that are getting taxpayer bailouts awarded their top executives nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses, and other benefits last year, an Associated Press analysis reveals.

The rewards came even at banks where poor results last year foretold the economic crisis that sent them to Washington for a government rescue. Some trimmed their executive compensation due to lagging bank performance, but still forked over multimillion-dollar executive pay packages.

Benefits included cash bonuses, stock options, personal use of company jets and chauffeurs, home security, country club memberships and professional money management, the AP review of federal securities documents found.

So is this still going on after the bailouts? Not entirely clear, but it seems to be. Have any of them ever been asked to give any of it back? Are you kidding. These people aren’t repsonsible for anything they did!

I hate exorbitant pay for ceos. I hate it when they thought it was OK because it was “private” industry. Hey – there’s no such thing. We’re all interconnected, as we’re finding out so painfully. We always have been. Private industry is an illusion. People complain about public employees – and sometimes with good reason – but we need to keep in mind that public employees also pay taxes and most of the money the government spends goes to “private” companies which pay executives ridiculous salaries. Government spends roughly one-third of our tax dollars on public employees.

You say “more power to him” when a baseball player makes a ridiculous salary. I say bullshit! I don’t watch much baseball , but it doesn’t matter. I still pay for that salary.  I pay more for the bread I eat because my bread company thinks it has to advertise on the baseball games on TV. And they dish out more advertising dollars because the base owners contracting with the TV stations pay more to broadcast the games because the players – and owners – make more money.  We kid ourselves with this private vs. public crap. We’re all part of the same economic system – anyone rips off the system and we all end up paying. So whle I don’t drive a Chrysler, the salary of the Chrysler ceo still ha a small, but real impact on me.

Now it was hard to make that case before – but if the public can’t see it now, they’re blind, because your tax dollars are going directly into the overstuffed, obscene lifestyles of the rich and not so famous. Read this AP story and weep. My country club is my back yard.  I drive myself. My private plane has a wing span of 78-inches and I fly it with a radio control box – total cost? $150. Come on folks, why do you tolerate taking your hard-earned dollars and baling out these losers – these people who do nothing when they should do something and do something wrong when they eventually do make a decision. But they’re not losers. They’re stealing our tax dollars and using it to sustain their greedy lifetsyles having already made it more difficult for us to earn money by their incompetence.  Geeeesh! Grrrrrrrr.

No _ I am not complaining about bailouts per se. I understand that the survival of some companies may be critical yo you and I. But that is exactly because the economy is so interconnected. Pribvate business is really  public business. Hell, we’ve been bailing out certain farmers – those supposed rugged individualist types – for deacades. Stop kidding yourselves.

What I’m complaining about is a few, greedy individuals making exorbitant salaries for doing no more than anyone else and not doing it very well. Maybe we tolerate it because we think some day we’ll win  the lottery too – we’ll become the ripper rather thant he ripee. In that case, we’re trapped by our own greed – and pretty stupid to give in to fantasies that have little chance of fulfillment.

There are simple solutions to this. Just place upper limits on earnings. We cna do it with the tax code.  No one earns millions of dollars a year. No one has that much to contribute to society by what they do. And the people who do contribute significantly – people like cops on the beat, teachers in over-crowded classrooms, nurses in short-handed hospitals – don’t get paid for what they contribute while some guy playing games, manipulating paper, makes millions. Am I talking class warfare or communism? Of course not. There is plenty of room for salary differentials and legitmate reasons for them.

Some people work harder, some people work longer, some people require a ton of education before they can begin to earn – and some people simply do things better than others. I  have no objection to reasonable salary differentials. What do you think? Do you know someone who is worth ten of you? Do they do ten times the work? Have ten times the skill? Maybe.  But I don’t think there’s a person on this planet who is worth 400 average, hard-working people – or anything close to it.

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