President Obama is now three weeks into his new job -- annual salary $400,000 -- and already he and his team are working overtime to make sure that no one at the helm of a bailed-out firm will pocket much more than he does. It's time, the president said last week, for "restraint," not millions in bonuses. The indignation over executive excess has mounted as the wretched indulgences stack up. Bank of America ($45 billion in bailout money) sponsored a five-day "NFL experience" at the Super Bowl; Wells Fargo ($25 billion in bailout funds) was planning 12 nights in Las Vegas for select employees. With business executives seemingly oblivious to the nation's crisis, it's easy to see the appeal of capping exorbitant pay and wild spending. But corporate America's problem is more fundamental than that.
Khurana, Rakesh, and Andy Zelleke. "You Can Cap The Pay, But The Greed Will Go On." Washington Post, February 8, 2009.