Monday, August 3, 2009

Being Outraged

Paul Krugman has a great article in the New York Times, "Rewarding Bad Actors" which begins with...

Americans are angry at Wall Street, and rightly so. First the financial industry plunged us into economic crisis, then it was bailed out at taxpayer expense. And now, with the economy still deeply depressed, the industry is paying itself gigantic bonuses. If you aren’t outraged, you haven’t been paying attention.
Are you outraged? I am! So, what are we going to do about it? Do read the whole article. I'd like to read your comments on it.


DB said...

I read the artical and wrote a good long comment but then the computer erased it.



Judith Ellis said...

Don't you hate it when that happens, DB? I can totally relate. I hope all is well with you, dear thespian.

Anonymous said...

The most interesting part of the article is where Krugman points out that big salaries do not equate to highly productive. In fact, its just the opposite. A favorite Republican line is 'why tax the people who make the most money - they are the most productive"

Judith Ellis said...

Good point, Anon. I have a friend who is a senior exectuive with one of the car companies here. Many VP's and Directors are in limbo now. Some are those most productive ones who did not play politics. You know the ones, the real mavericks.

Instead of actually putting them to work to solve their problem, this car company is playing politics with the billions of dollars in government bailouts. So, I guess you know that this excludes Ford. :-)

There seems to be no real plan and no viable products. Perhaps I have narrowed the company down further still. Oops. :-) I have more than a few friends in this industry at all three companies.

The most productive are sitting on the sidelines so it seems. These are independently wealthy so it's not about the money, but about the product and their performance.

chesapeake said...


Thanks for commenting on my blog a few weeks ago!

Jumped over to yours today from my dad's blog (David Porter) and felt the need to comment. I'm not really angry at Wall Street. I'm angry at Washington for giving any money to private corporations at all, especially to failing companies who have proven through their bankruptcy to have implemented unsuccessful business plans. The government has thus rewarded those who have failed. The reality is many of these executives have contracts stipulating bonuses and high payouts. The company has to follow through with their contracts.

Now, if you want to talk about the logic and reason behind these companies penning contracts that allow for bonuses given to executives who fail, that is a different topic. The whole thing just kills me because there are many, many successful companies out there whose executives are competent and accountable and are compensated fairly for their hard work and immense responsibility. This shows in their company's earnings. Unfortunately, highly-paid executives are looked down upon because of these few bad apples being front-page news.

Thanks for the topic!

Judith Ellis said...

Chesapeake - I love your dad and your photography. He seems like a great thoughtful guy. You are blessed to have him as your father and I see that you are as thoughtful as your dad. This is a great thing. Many blessings to you both.

It was your dad who on this blog that said to me initially that the automobile bailout should not happen. Being from Detroit, I did not agree, greatly feeling the pain that Michiganders would feel but came around to the necessity of GM filing for bankruptcy.

What we saw with GM, however, was in no way typical of all bankruptcies. I am happy about that. Perhaps the process should also be considered for others filing bankruptcy too, though I admit that this situation was pretty dire. Michigan already has a %15.4 unemployment rate and GM's far-reaching tentacles around the world would have been greatly hampered.

You bring up a great point about contracts. But contracts are broken all the time, especially during times of extremities. If the government saw fit to give these companies billions of dollars they should have at least made some stipulations. But, of course, if they were not given such dollars in the first place there would be no need for them.

I very much appreciate your comment and appreciation for the many executives out there who are behaving ethically and doing a great job. There many out there and they should be commended, including the many small businesses. Thank you! Thank you for that!

Do pass through again! I appreciate your comment.

Bob Foster said...

Judith - It must be the "two-mind" syndrome, as I just posted about the same op-ed piece you did. I'm angry, but other than writing our congress folks, I don't know what to do about it. Torches and pitchforks are rather outdated, although the concept remains.

Yes, unfortunately there are many successful executives, who have helped build our great corporations, but are now on the sidelines. The Boston Group and the Treasury Dept. are now running GM, and when the dust settles I really wonder how that will have worked. I guess we'll see.

Judith Ellis said...

Funny, Bob! As I was writing my reply to Chesapeake I thought of you, as you are such a champion for small business. I believe in protest. There is power in numbers. I also believe in rational discussions, not that protests have to be irrational, like those planned by Dick Armey where bible-toting ones scream irrational things. We also have such short memories and I believe that this is what some are counting on. We musn't forget where we are now and we must fight in various ways to bring about change. Frederick Douglas said "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." Martin Luther King Jr. quoted this saying often.