Monday, February 9, 2009

So, you need how much to get by? Really?

Ramblings Post #8
Sometimes in the course of the conversation or reading, you come across a statement, a concept and idea that that just boggles the mind. Lewis Black said he once overheard a woman remark "if it wasn't for my horse, I never would have gotten into college," and that the comment still pings around his mind today looking for meaning. These are strange times, but we don't need to put carpet on the ceiling. Yet.

There is an old country saying, I'm not sure of the origin or of the exact essence, that goes along the lines of "if that don't take the rag offen the bush" and is usually used to express disbelief at a series of events. I read the New York Times online regularly, and in pursuing it found this article that professed an issue with 500K cap the president wants to put onto the executives at firms that take the bailout money. I'm not sure if it was really cutely written sarcasm or an honest plea to save the rich people. Seriously, I can't tell.

The article lead off smartly, comparing the higher living expenses of New York compared to the rest of the country, and indicating that a sudden drop in pay would be an issue for anyone, big time executive or not. It starts to lose it when it says the men who would be most affected have their identities entwined with living a certain way. This half hearted gesture that we should maintain for them this lifestyle that in their own mantras of "eat or be eaten" market policy say they no longer deserve gave me a chuckle.

Then they take the rag offen' said bush. With a flourish, no less.

Before it lists the living arrangements - which consisted not only of swank NY three bedroom AND a Southampton summer house - it lists the must have vacation. I'm sorry, vacations, plural. Then cars and drivers, plus parking. Then personal trainers. Then gowns for formal parties, tutors for privates schools, nannies and the list went on. about "Things you no longer get to have" for $1000, Alex?

I heard one executive on TV when questioned about executive pay indicated that there was a very small number people with his skill set, and they needed to be compensated fairly. I'm not sure, but I'm fairly certain I too could have lost several billion dollars if given the chance, so I'm not sure what skill set he's talking about. And in the age of efficiency, pay without performance is a little too mid-1950's good ole boy to stomach. It was like paying retention bonuses at AIG...where exactly were these people going if they left and why again did we want them to stay?

The article did give a simple solution, which it then quickly blew off: move to Brooklyn or a less posh locale, put the kids in public school and get a Metrocard. I'm still trying to see the error in making the executive live like the other seven or ten million New Yorkers. They made it sound like crazy talk. Nothing wrong with cooking for yourself, taking an active interest in your kids education (think of how much better the public schools will get with helicopter moms in and out!) and riding the subway.

And so what if the executive who broke the firm leaves? It seems to me like the perfect opportunity for the young turks making a piddling $250k to move up, and start over fresh in a real sense. CEOs aren't born, they're made and just like we made the last set, we can make a new set. Because although in most situations, the person who screwed up is the best teacher and/or pilot of how not to screw up again in the future, this group of execs seemed to have missed the lesson. If your girlfriend dumps you, you don't get to keep coming by on weekends for naked time. Somebody tell the execs that naked time is over.

Or maybe the gang needs to have that rag and bush thing explained to them a little better.

Hey barkeep. Tonic water for everybody. I just got a bailout check.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As my friends always say, " I call bullshit."

My 80-year-old grandmother has the right skill set to lose billions of dollars. Where does she sign up? That way I'd still be in line for the inheritence. Tell those Bozos to that the paycut or hit the street. Someone will be more than glad to take their place. And we'll be glad to see them go.