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Class envy and the auto executives

April 21, 2009 - Paul Giannamore

Bravo for whomever among Chrysler' Financial executive cadre decided they'd had enough.

Bravo to the guys and gals who refused to sign waivers that would have prevented them from suing the company or the U.S. Treasury Department if their firm had accepted lowered executive compensation in exchange for federal assistance.

No, I'm no blue blood. I don't earn enough to buy a new car all that often without a big struggle, at least a new car I'd actually want.

But I cannot imagine if the world suddenly decided what my earnings should be.

It's easy to say, "Stop paying those fat cats all that money when their companies are going into the ground."

It's a little harder when one considers that

1. The "fat cats" had contracts, legally signed and agreed upon by them and their employer to pay bonuses and executive compensation levels.

2. What if it was your wallet that was being gored?

It's easy to say you'd give the money back until you're working in a place that's in trouble. Would you want what you felt you were owed?

Yes, I think executives at some places are overpaid. I think ballplayers are overpaid.

But just because I didn't have the skills, the talent or the sheer luck to end up where they are doesn't mean I have the right to bemoan them their legally earned salary, does it?



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