Obama’s Compensation Limits Amount To Zip

My oh my are the bloggers up in arms about the Obama compensation plans. The gnashing of teeth can be heard all the way out here in the West. It turns out that the new regulations are basically pablum.

You can get all the details at the Treasury Departments web site. It’s actually pretty short and easy to read. Here are some of the more major details.

  1. Compensation limit of $500,000 for senior executives of companies that received exceptional assistance from the government. Right now that means Citi, BofA and AIG. They can get stock awards but can’t sell the stock until they repay the government.
  2. Requires a clawback of previous bonuses if any senior executive is shown to have engaged in providing inaccurate information. Note that this is basically a clawback for fraud only and again, we are talking about the exceptional assistance companies.
  3. No golden parachutes for the top ten guys and and only one year’s worth of compensation for the next 25 in line. Again exceptional assistance companies only. 
  4. The exceptional assistance crowd has to have a non-binding “say on pay” provision for shareholders.
  5. The exceptional assistance companies have to develop a policy on aviation services,k office renovations, parties and conferences.
  6. The Treasury intends to issue further rules that apply to compensation relating to futureparticipants in the generally available capital access programs. Compensation will be capped for this class but they can bust through it so long as they announce that they are busting through it and let the shareholders vote on it but the shareholders vote is non-binding (can you believe that?). Additionally, a limit of one year of compensation for golden parachutes for these guys and a clawback of prior bonuses if you can prove fraud. They also have to have a party or as the government labels it luxury expenditures policy.

That’s it. Three companies are going to see their executives get hammered and the rest of the original TARP crowd walks. There will be some new rules for anyone who wants to tap the money in the future but they’re still working on it and anyway it won’t be anything that people can’t live with.

All the sound and fury of the past couple of days for this. It’s just political theater. Now let’s forget about it and get on to something substantive. Say, like keeping the economy from imploding.

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