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Executives can live under their own philosophy

December 13, 2009 - Mike Maneval

Daniel Wagner of Huffington Post, in reporting Friday on efforts by the Obama administration to rein in executive pay at bailed-out firms, writes that as the executives and administration "negotiated their pay packages, the companies warned that pay restrictions could keep them from attracting and retaining top talent. Without competitive pay, they said, it would be hard to regain their footing and repay their bailout money."

The executives' insistence that compensation levels impact the ability to recruit talented workers remains in many ways an intriguing idea. One we've failed to apply for school teachers, bus drivers, firefighters, assembly-line workers and all the other professions where we've spent decades, both locally and nationally, chiselling away at compensation for work. Perhaps if these executives hadn't consistently lined up for reduced benefits and stagnant pay for everyone else in America, they could even make this case convincingly.

But they did, so they can't. And I, for one, have no problem at all telling these executives what so many of them have told our friends and family when our friends and family try to get ahead through hard work: Maybe it's time you do more for less. 


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