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October 22nd, 2009
08:56 AM ET

Pay Cut for Execs?

The Obama administration is ordering the nation's biggest bailed-out companies including AIG, Chrysler, Citigroup and others to drastically cut pay packages for their top executives. The companies will be ordered to lower the total compensation for top earners by an average of 50%. Under the plan, which is expected to be officially released by the Treasury Department next week, annual salaries for executives at those seven firms are expected to fall 90%.

We want to hear from you:

Do you think the government should be forcing these companies to slash salaries? Leave your comments below and Heidi will read some of them in the Newsroom, 9a-11a ET.


Filed under: Heidi Collins
soundoff (245 Responses)
  1. Dan

    Wow, if this happens, then maybe they will start making what the normal, average citizens make. Oh wait, they will still be at about $500,000 per year. I don't make anywhere close to that.
    CNN had a guest on this morning that said if these salaries get cut, then the top personnel may leave. I say bye bye. They are the ones that got their companies in to the pathetic situations in the first place.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:10 am |
  2. Inri from Cambridge, MA

    They claimed they were too big to fail, so we used government funds to bail them out. As long as they haven't paid back that money, we're still part owners, and we should get a say in CEO compensation.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  3. mike bell

    yes, Enough greed from these people

    October 22, 2009 at 9:22 am |
  4. Virginia

    Absolutely. These folks are making way too much. They are figureheads, not even substanially contributing on a daily basis.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  5. Jo Ann

    A resounding YES! As long as they have our money, we are the owners!

    October 22, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  6. Jared

    Of course their pay should be cut. How can you explain a company accepting bankruptcy or our tax dollars to avoid it while paying someone 200K+ a year. A responsible executive would cut their own pay.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  7. arkan

    Yes they should!!! while 40% of american cant afford to pay for there cars or homes and thees guys are making millions for doing a bad job any way!!! i think they need to get paid hourly,like $10 an hour or so

    October 22, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  8. Paige Huston

    If the government had left well enough alone and hadn't bailed them out, the companies would have been forced to cut salaries on their own. What happened to capitalism?

    October 22, 2009 at 9:23 am |
  9. Ike

    I believe the government should force these specific companies to slash their top executive salaries. These companies have already taken so much taxpayer money and received so much of our help. It is not fair that your company should be rescued from complete failure and you are still able to make millions of dollars.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  10. peter

    Oh yes, it absurd that they should be payed so much. In fact, even publically held companies should not pay exec's such huge amounts and bonus's. These highly payed exec's are NOT worth it – they cannot be the only ones capable of leading/running the company – it's an outrage!!

    October 22, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  11. wes

    Most definitely.these companies took billions of dollars of our money and handed out a huge chunk of it in bonuses. there is a simple solution to this though. If they don't want to issue pay cuts, return the money. Theres millions of Americans making 50, 000/ year that would love to have a couple million in "bailout" money.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  12. Alejandro Arrieta

    Sad that the government has to step in and do this. The corporations should have taken the initiative and done this theirselves, but I guess it is a capitalist society.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  13. Michael Rhoads

    Absolutely!!! I just got a notice from Bank Of America that they are going to more than double the interest I pay on my current credit card ballance.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  14. hawley

    Funny I did not see the big uproar when they cut mine. Or when they fired friends I'd be working with for 25 years!!!

    October 22, 2009 at 9:24 am |
  15. Randy SLC

    They should be forced to pay back every penny of our money before anyone received a bonus, stock option, or other compensation over and above their base salary.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  16. JG Dodge

    Cut their pay! LOL, they should all be fired and replaced with competent people!

    October 22, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  17. Ronni

    They either need to cut the salaries or make them return the "bail-out" money the tax payers provided!! If they want to leave..oh well...dont let the door hit you on the way out...

    October 22, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  18. Stephen

    Good Morning: The skewed pay has not only gotten out of control, it's ludicrous. These greedy individuals claim a need for "talent retention", yet we see no results in their bottom line. I worked at Delta Air Lines, and watched a previous CEO leave with deci-millions after running the company into bankruptcy. Now I have no pension... This is insanity at its best.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  19. Dan

    Yes, Yes, Yes!! I've taken major pay cuts, but the corporation I work for continues to give bonuses to top Execs. Also we continue to post losses, why do execs get bonuses when they can't show a profit? Don't tell me you have to do this to get the best, the best are not doing there job.

    Dan
    Chicago

    October 22, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  20. Michael

    I have NO PROBLEM whatsoever with top executives being paid huge salaries. However, when those same top executives have run their companies into the ground, destroying the futures of employees and stockholders, AND it is OUR tax dollars that are bailing them out, I say YES!!... by all means... slash those salaries. And don't spare the knife.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  21. Cynthia

    Big corporate business is nothing but thinly veiled "organized crime".
    The Bush Administration orchestrated this "Payday Loan" and as usual, the corporate magnates have no conscience. It is MY money that bailed these companies out and YES we should and YES WE CAN limit their compensation. Too many of these corporations are in the pockets of our legislature, their influence is well spread on both sides of the aisle. They can compensate whomever they want with their own money–but pay the taxpayers back what they owe first. There's your stimulus package.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  22. Dan C.

    These cuts are absolutely justifiable. The only reason these companies are still in existence is the huge influx of taxpayer dollars to prop them up. If the companies want to stay in business they need to change their behavior so long as they are still relying on the governments infusion of cash. After they pay the money back they should only answer to their shareholders.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  23. Charity

    Im glad to hear that finally something will be done about the insane amount of money that these people, who buried their companies, make. It will be interesting to see how they are able to live on a six figure salary, however they (still) will not feel the reality of what the average American citizen earns. Hopefully the funds are distributed in a useful means instead of being wasted on more "plans."

    October 22, 2009 at 9:25 am |
  24. Mike Becker

    I wonder how many exceptions will be carved out for Obama campaign contributors?

    October 22, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  25. Bruce Morgan

    I fully support the right of the US Government to set salary and bonus caps on those companies that have received government bailouts. These executives should be expressing gratitude that they have jobs and that their companies have survived, in place of demonstrating the continued arrogance that got many of them into trouble to begin with.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  26. Jim H

    The common defense of the executives is that they are the only ones with the ability to get their companies back in shape. First, this is an unproven assumption pushed by people who are probably overpaid themselves, including financial reporters who basically reprocessed press releases in the run up to the crash. Even if true, the fact is that they are not using those skills in a beneficial way. If they don't want to work for 50 times the minimum wage, let them take jobs with overseas competitors and destroy them. I would promote their secretaries to their positions. In many cases, they know more about what is actually going on than their bosses.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  27. Frank Mekker

    Yes, Yes, Yes
    We are major owners and have a right to do what the board of directors have not done.
    When they pay the loan back they can get their greedy wage back.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  28. Susan

    Yes, I think these top executivies should take a cut in pay because they are showing disrespect to the American people. If we let it continue, the executives will continue taking advantage of us and will continually increase their greed and lust for money.

    Susan Henry
    Ohio

    October 22, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  29. Jon S Helgeson

    The money should be used to pay back the government. They seem to get around these pay cuts by paying in stock options etc.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  30. David J. Smith

    I worked for the U.S. Government when then President, Richard Nixon put a pay freeze on all Government workers in order to control inflation. If a Republican can do this why are we asking if the Government has the right to force executives of failed companies to take a pay cut. In my opinion we should have let these idiots and their companies go bankrupt. No one is bailing me out as they raise my prices with no increase in productivity. Either we have a free enterprise system or a controlled one. You can't have both. That's my opinion. Thanks for listening.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  31. Ruth

    The executives should not get any bonuses since they mismanaged their companies to the point where they had to be bailed out by us hard working tax payers and senior citizens.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  32. Michelle

    Yes, Executive pay should be capped by the Government. An excellent news story would be how last year Executives pay increased while these big Banks slashed Sales peoples pay and cut out all overtime. Even Salaried employees got cut to very limited or No over time pay.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  33. Susan

    There should not be any large bonus' for the executives of the banks that the American people have bailed out! It is sinful when so many people are struggling so hard just to feed their families. The greed has to stop!!!

    October 22, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  34. shauna

    I most certainly agree that the government should cut their pay checks. These executives are smart people and I am sure they have millions of dollars in savings, stocks or bonds, and also investments. They are not going to suffer. When you look at the cost of living in America and compare it to what they are making, they are still rich! Besides do you think they can justify what they get paid annually?

    October 22, 2009 at 9:26 am |
  35. Bobby Drummond

    Yes, I think the government should have the say on what bonus money be given to all corporations or financial institutions that received tax payer money to bail them out. Why should these executives receive hugh amounts of bonus money when we, that bailed them out, are out of work and having a hard time making ends meet. I'm a senior citizen and I'm not even getting a cost of living increase next year. It really isn't fair that they receive a bonus at all.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  36. Josh

    Well, they at least still have a job.

    If you run your business so poorly that the government must step in to save you, I highly doubt that you are doing your job effectively.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  37. Peter C. King

    Heidi,

    Let's put the executive compensation issue into perspective.

    We're talking about people who precipitated the Great Recession and we're only talking about cutting their pay? They should be sharing a cell with Bernie Madoff. He just cheated individuals. They cheated a nation.

    Send them to jail. Their pay will then be based on how many license plates they make. That will be the first productive work they have done in years.

    Peter King

    October 22, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  38. Richard Wehlau

    Absolutely cut their pay and by way more than half. They should work for stock options until all the taxpayer money is payed back and even then their pay has to be controlled.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  39. Nick

    I keep hearing that if fed forces pay cuts on execs, there will be an exodus of talent. Who needs the kind of talent that those clowns bring – they got us into this soup in the first place. I say let them leave – hopefully far, far away.

    – N

    October 22, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  40. Jim Bitz, West Palm Beach Florida

    I absolutely feel these pay cut and bonus cut's should be implemented. This should have been part of the original condition's set by the gov't before these big corp's were bailed out with American Taxpayer dollars. Additionally, these cut's should partially be reflected in the amounts of monies banks are required to lend.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  41. Christine Compton

    Are you kidding? Why wasn't this part of the conditions for the loans in the first place? I believe the White House is only finally taking action because of the enormity of the public outcry.

    I voted for, worked for and supported AND STILL SUPPORT Obama in accomplishing the promises he made during his campaign. But it's pretty clear that big business, especially the financial interests, wield enormous and inappropriate control over our representatives in Congress. The best thing Congress could do for the people is get big business out of politics COMPLETELY! Not "campaign reform" - a complete purging of special interest influence in government! NOW!!!

    October 22, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  42. peter

    follow-up..... no one is worth these huge dollar payouts. the money should be distributed to all employees or returned to us taxpayers – it's a disgrace.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  43. Tammie M

    Absolutely! If they were worth their salaries, the government wouldn't have had to bail them out. Making good business decisions is part of that salary. Had they taken a 10% cut in pay across the board a few years ago, maybe they'd be in a better financial status.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  44. R. Mansour

    Wall Street needs Gov interference. Those Executives can not have a free hand.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  45. Kyle

    90%??? Thats too radical. I can see 30 or 50 but this is too much. These execs do get paid A LOT but, they DO work hard for what they do, or even have worked hard creating their business. Not ALL banks asked for this bailout. Most of the banks have turned up enough profits to pay back the money they received from the bailout. This is Obama's way of "spreading the wealth" Welcome to socialism America : )

    October 22, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  46. Cathy

    No, I don't thik the government should have anything to do with executive pay! What happened to the board of directors? Also, this idea of going back and taking pay that has already been given is absurd. This is a capitalist society. You may not like what these executives were paid but it was what was agreed upon. The board should fire them or reduce their pay if they don't like their performance. The government should stay out of this!! Pretty soon we will have a lack of experience at the top of these companies because nobody wants to work and not get paid which is what is happening now.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  47. mary bruckner

    Yes, and considering how large their salary is and how much they already stole, it should be even more...

    October 22, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  48. Joan

    A lender or a major investor has a right to set terms in exchange for the capital they provide. Our small business had to comply with all kinds of requirements and submit to detailed audits when we started up using borrowed capital. Why shouldn't these companies be held to the same standards? (Yes, we paid it all back!)

    October 22, 2009 at 9:28 am |
  49. Kathleen Williams

    Most of us- are going thru very tough financial times- why whould the companies who PARTLY caused these problems be over compensated with outrageously high salaries- and bonuses on top of that! With two teenage sons- one in college- I have had to apply for FInancila Aid for college tuition. I have been working hard at the same job for over 3 years with out a raise... we struggle...time for AMERICA TO SHARE THE WEALTH. .. a more level distributaion of pay salaries would be helpful.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  50. Laura

    The cuts are entirely justifiable. Even my kid knows his allowance will be cut if he doesn't do his chores or I lose my job. If those companies hadn't taken the bailout money, they could've continued as they pleased, but that's our money they're operating with now, and they should be forced to be responsible with it.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:29 am |
  51. Bill Ferguson

    Pay cuts for the executives? Absolutely. These people bankrupted their companies. It took government bailout money to save them. They should NOT be allowed to conduct "business as usual" as far as their salaries, compensations & benefits are concerned.
    Also remember that these executives are at the top of their companies. They are the ones who set their pay.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  52. redha mohammad

    ABSOLUTELY! Why should we bare the burden of this crisis that was created by those companies while those CEOs get to sip champagne on the shores of Monaco? Hey, they cooked it and they must taste it.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  53. James Wallace

    The Obama Adiministration should have made pay cuts and ZERO dollars in bonuses for top execs at companies receiving bailout money. If these corporations want to overcompensate and reward their top personnel then these companies should do so with their own money, not a government handout. The bailout money was to keep these companies from folding – if these execs were doing such a bang-up job to deserve 6, 7, or 8 figure bonuses then their company would not have needed bailout money in the first place.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  54. Steven Meyerson

    Yes. Limit mega salaries and bonuses – not only TARP recipients. SEC should intervene when boards steal profits from shareholders and give to execs as bloated compensation. Pay them well but not at expense of dividends and share price.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  55. Kit Grandon

    It is a start.. Their recent surge in profits and surge in salaries are the result OUR bailout. Our government is right to demand these cuts and more to come. We paid for these banks we have the right to have a say in compensation.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  56. Desmond worthy

    I agree, they should cut there salary. Once the companies pay the government back our tax dollars in full. Then they can feel free to raise salaries again. Here's an idrea, let's give them an opt out option.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  57. Dawn Sievert

    I feel that the Goverment has every right to order those companies to slash wages; after all it's the Goverment who bailed their poor business pratices in the first place. If they see a repeat of the same pattern that got tem into the mess they were and stil are in. then YES THEY SHOULD BREAK THE CHAIN OF WASTE AND GREED!

    October 22, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  58. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    The damage has been done they need to be fired and replaced these Execs. have caused people to loose there life savings from greedy careless spending destroying othere's futures they deserve criminal prosecution.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  59. sallie

    I think they should have all been allowed to fail in the first place, like the rest of us are allowed to succeed or fail.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  60. Tina

    Heidi, board fiscal responsibility has been void in this country for decades. Another great example of the failure of 'trickle down economics'; Wall Street's 'creation of wealth' does ~nothing for Main Street. Job creation? Zip. Redistribution of wealth? Maybe for one of their McMansions, otherwise- zip!

    WS has devised its own little microcosm of reality. The high-falootin' derivatives market and 'dice-rollin' schemes are all led zepplins. WS returns to 10K? Who cares? It does NOTHING for our economy, our manufacturing, our future. WS and the banks have kept the free flow of funds from our business community, which is stagnating any possible recovery.

    It also appears the Ponzi scheme has saddled our young with 10s of $1000s in debt, colleges & universities argue the value of their high-cost education is acceptable because the jobs will pay them well. The recent grads need to march on Washington and DEMAND their student loans get revalued!

    ciao!

    October 22, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  61. Randall H.

    Absolutely they should receive a pay cut! They played with fire and got burned; now they have to pay.
    With a slash of their pen they cut workers' saleries and layoff staff, so now they are getting a taste of their own medicine. And if they leave their companies...where would they go? Would you hire someone who brought their company, their country and their planet to the brink of financial ruin??

    October 22, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  62. Ed

    I ONLY believe that the govt. should intervene in pay compensation to these execs when it involves tax payer money. I work for American Airlines and we, the employees, have been punished very similar to all of the taxpayers in the U.S. We, the employees, gave back approximately 1.8 Billion dollars in concessions back in '03 in order to save the company from going into bankruptcy. Since that time AA execs have compensated themselves approximately 363 million dollars in bonuses and meanwhile the employees have not received any compensation since then. All labor groups are in mediation and the company doesnt feel it necessary to ATLEAST return what we gave to the company in order to avoid bankruptcy.
    Fortunately its not taxpayer money that fullfilled their bonuses, but its the AA employees money that filled the executives pockets since the concessions. Where is the justice in that? I wished the media would investigate that and please help us find the answer to that very important question.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  63. Jeff

    I don't get it. This should be a no brainer but you have those who will spin this as government controlling our salaries. They borrowed hundreds of billions and haven't paid it back but they want to give out billions in bonuses? Imagine if someone borrowed a large sum from you, then bought a mansion with the money without paying you back the loan. I'm quite sure you'd have a different take on it if you think this is unfair. Personally, I don't think they should get one red cent in bonuses until that money is paid back in full. But who am I? I'm just the guy who lent them the money in the first place.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  64. Ron Jenkins

    At this point all executive compensation at companies that received government bailout money should be tied directly to company performance. The company does well,the executives do well..and vice versa–and asa far as retention bonuses--to keep good people-??-well if they were that good –the company would not be in bad shape=Duh-and if they do leave–,with the economy in such bad shape–where are they going????–Once the tarp money is paid back in full and there was a decent interest rate paid back to us–then and only then should the restrictions on compensation be lifted

    October 22, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  65. Galen Gardner

    Yes, the government should cut these salaries, because it is our tax dollars that are currently paying for them. All local governments and state governments are going to be cutting municipal employee salaries so, these companies need to be be cut just as if they were municipal employees. It is very important to address the pay culture in the United States especially within the corporate world and within the health care industries. The monetary divide in this country is wide and getting wider every day, and it is impacting our lives in very serious ways such as helping our children to pay for college while also helping our aging parents at the end of their lives.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:31 am |
  66. Falone Mary Albrecht

    Yes, Execs salary should be reduced because they received people's money

    October 22, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  67. Rod

    Heidi, of course the executives pay should be cut and capped at
    $100,000 across the board for at least two years. If at the two year mark the companies have a proven growth and has paid back the loan to the government, the remaining profits could be equally paid out to all of it's employees including the executives. It's a shame that the government did not put restrictions in place prior to granted the bailout funds in the first place.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  68. Hannah

    Many of the banks are in this position due to the progressive movement that requried banks to make loans to people that were a credit risk (using the Community Reinvestment Act). You can't GIVE money/homes/loans to people that can't afford to pay it back and not expect something like this to happen. The blame needs to be placed in the correct place and that is with people like Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and the likes.
    I don't think anyone wants the government coming in and saying how much money we should make...why should it be any different for the executives? I am a small business owner and I don't make that kind of money. If they do, good for them. Do I think it would be morally and financially prudent for the Companies themselves to put a hold on bonuses, etc. until they pay back the bailout money? YES! But it should be up to the Companies NOT the government. Once you give the government that type of power, they will tell you what you can eat, how to raise your kids, what type of medical care you can receive...where does it end??

    October 22, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  69. Charles Gibbs

    Hi Heidi,

    I think these people should consider themselves lucky that they even have a Company that can pay them any kind of a salary or bonus. What kind of an example are we trying to set here when we're rewarding people for losing their Aces...I mean, come on.

    I've been in Sales and Marketing for over 25 years and one of the first things I learned was, no one gets paid for failure.

    OK, so we got stupid and decided to give these guys and gals a bailout (which I think should have been paid directly to the debt of each citizen and not given to these greedy PIGS!) to save them.

    Bottom line, even the brightest thieves should go straight to jail and not be rewarded, hell, they're no different than Maddof.

    Charles G.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  70. sallie

    Yes cut cut cut! The president is doing his job. There should be some sort of punishment for the people on wall street.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:32 am |
  71. Darrell

    Top executives should absolutely pay the tax payers back for their mismanagement! We should never have bailed them out to begin with. Good on President Obama.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  72. Tim Malone

    These executives are just like teenagesrs. They want everything,but only have the resources to demand a small portion in comparison. And just like teenagers must obey the parents that support them, Uncle Sam needs set the rules for all of these executives that have proven they cannot support their own companies. Like good parents, Uncle Sam needs to set limits with these executives to teach them how to live and manage responsibly. Yes, put huge limits on their pay and don't stop at the top 25- don't let anyone make more than $200k a year.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  73. Jane

    Hear, hear Dan! They don't seem be contrite, apologetic, grateful or to take any responsibility at all while the rest of us feel the economic crunch daily. Does respect mean anything? I'd feel a lot more respect for executives who accepted our bailout if they showed compassion and understanding. Show us how you are controlling spending.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  74. Vincent

    Yes, the Government should act and place limititations on the salararies of these companies and their executives. Greed should not be rewarded. There are so many other issues (Health Care, Education, Housing, etc.) which need to be fixed, everyone needs to tighted their belts for the common good.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  75. Adam G

    I am of the opinion that no one person in the world deserves to earn anywhere near $19 million. Heart surgeons that perform phenomenal life-saving feats earn no more than a few hundred thousand a year, certainly less than the $500,000 that some of the CEOs will still be earning.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:33 am |
  76. Gary Hoyle

    The compensation gap between workers, who are actually adding value and doing the job, and executives, mostly all of whom are nothing but figureheads, has been widening more and more every year. The inflated wages for execs seems to correllate with their inflated egos and what they mean to the company's success. Cut their pay and and call them what they are- greedy cancers that contribute to the financial mess that their firms are in.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  77. Elizabeth Russo

    Absolutely! These people helped put this country in this mess and need to demonstrate their commitment to getting us out. The middle class isn't getting money or bonuses for its stiff upper lip during these devastating times and we're not responsible for this situation. Let these executives demonstrate more patriotism and less arrogance and greed. Also, the government must ensure the American people that every cent plus interest of loaned TARP funds are repaid!!!

    October 22, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  78. Barbara

    As an unwilling shareholder, YES, I want my government to cut the salaries of these top executives. I particularly like that they are compensated with stock that can't be sold right away. It will motivate them to make wiser decisions about their future money (earnings). They are a greedy lot and what better way to get their attention than to tie their future to earnings of the company. It use to be that CEO's had their own money at risk.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  79. Carol

    YES! the execs pay should be cut. The very banking institutions have not put the money where it was intended to be used – the Americian public that cleaned up their mess in the first place. Loans were not made to small businespeople and home owrners. Frankly, I want to see the names of the thieves to be posted for all to see. I am dis- gusted with them!
    Carol

    October 22, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  80. Phil H

    Good news but I'm not sure if a 50% cut is enough. However it's a good start and about time that these executives start thinking in terms of working a life time like the rest of us before they retire. Rather than their current mode of thinking which is " make a billion" and retire before they are 40 but screw the country if their schemes fail. Hopefully now they'll have a stake in the future prosperity of their companies and the country like the rest of us and stop thinking about how they can get rich at our expense.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  81. Hannah

    Many of the banks are in this position due to the progressive movement that requried banks to make loans to people that were a credit risk (using the Community Reinvestment Act). You can't GIVE money/homes/loans to people that can't afford to pay it back and not expect something like this to happen. The blame needs to be placed in the correct place and that is with people like Chris Dodd, Barney Frank and the likes.
    I don't think anyone wants the government coming in and saying how much money we should make...why should it be any different for the executives? I am a small business owner and I don't make that kind of money. If they do, good for them. Do I think it would be morally and financially prudent for the Companies themselves to put a hold on bonuses, etc. until they pay back the bailout money? YES! But it should be up to the Companies NOT the government. Once you give the government that type of power, they will tell you what you can eat, how to raise your kids, what type of medical care you can receive...where does it end??

    October 22, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  82. Elizabeth Serrao

    Yes , absolutely, if the funds are coming from the tax payer, maybe not if they are being paid out of company funds.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  83. jim kubek

    I think the corp. exec's should deffinitely have thier pay cut, and they need to do a lot better job to recieve a bonus.
    I also think the goverment should take a look at thier pay, also thier
    bonus's , they aren't doing such a good job either !

    October 22, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  84. Donald Connolly

    Damn right they're justifiable! For far too long much of our great American "Free" enterprise system has earned money the old fashioned way: They syeal it. These guys and/or gals were all somewhere in the business while it was going to hell. Thus, they either knew what was being done wrong or they did not. If they did, they were crooks. If they did not, they were incompetent. Neither stupidity nor dishonesty should be rewarded with millions of the peoples money. Period.
    D. Connolly
    Lonwood NJ

    October 22, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  85. Ralph Thompson

    It's a great idea. Salaries should be cut in half and absolutely no bonuses until the American tax payer is paid back. If these institutions are worried about their executive personnel walking out, just call me, I'll work for their 10%.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  86. Dave

    I believe the government has control of executive pay if the repayment of the loan has no conditions. If the loans include interest and schedule of repayment to be met, then the government has no right to control compensation as long as the terms of the loan are fulfilled.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  87. Glenn Johnson

    Here's an idea, Heidi, that I heard that really makes sense to me. First, give every citizen over 50 one million dollars. Then, require them to purchase a new car, a new home, and then stop working. Result, auto company problem solved, unemployment solved (millions of new jobs available), housing problem solved. Wala!! Sounds good to me.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  88. Frank

    I am in favor of this provided the government restricts its executive salary limits to those companies that were provided bailout money. Expanding this to other companies is inappropriate, although I would hope that ALL companies wise up and limit executive salaries and bonuses on their own for the good of the country and the economy in general. Corporate greed is way out of hand.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:36 am |
  89. Alice, AR

    Absolutely, the salaries for these executives is ridiculous. They have been in part responsible for the condition of this economy and should not be rewarded for that. In fact, I think what they have done is criminal.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  90. Tricia Morgan

    Top executives at companies who received bail-out funds should absolutely have their salary packages cut. According to what I've read and heard, many if not most of these executives continue to recklessly spend outrageous sums of money and receive pay and bonuses that are out of line with their skill in keeping their companies solvent. The claim that the best people would leave? Let them go, but without inflated retirement / severence packages.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  91. armous

    Yes, i do thank the govenment is acting in best intrest of us all.

    the big bosses are set for life any way. "What about us" the Lay Man

    as Micheal Jackson Song say"s!

    October 22, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  92. Gary

    If these managers company took bailout money from the tax payers they should be limited on their salaries until that money is paid back. If they had an employee that wasn't producing what would they do, keep them around drawing a check? Probably not!
    To keep these people from leaving due to the pay cut, have them sign an binding agreement that they will remain at there present position until these funds are paid back or don’t hand over the funds.

    Gary

    October 22, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  93. Don Cheatham

    I think that ths 50% pay cut is just,I have worked for several
    corporations in my life,I am 69 years old.
    The work force paid me a average salery and bonus was paid on
    positive results not failures.
    I other words EARN YOUR KEEP

    October 22, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  94. Dayna

    Do you even have to ask this question???? These guys made waayyy too much money even before we bailed their behinds out.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:38 am |
  95. donna A

    how can these these bankers say the money they pay the top personnel is justifiable when these were the same people in there when the banks went broke and they had to borrow from the goverment and the american people to survive? they dont sound too smart to me.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  96. Cliff

    No the Government should not be cutting pay for executives or anyone in the private sector. They shouldn't have used tax payer money to bail them out in the first place. The market not the Government should pick winners and losers. Now the Government has just allowed bad executives to continue to make big money by proping up their companies – fool me once shame on you, fool me (Government officals) twice shame on me. Or lets try this old saying the Government keeps throwing good tax payer money after bad tax payer money. – I could go on forever but you get the point.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:39 am |
  97. Raymond

    It is simple. These companies asked the government to bail them out. How about they first think about paying back the money before lining their own pockets. The government should slash their salaries and completely eliminate their bonuses. They don't deserve them.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:40 am |
  98. Maria Hanos

    Their salaries should Not be touched.its up to each company to deal with their own problems. The gov't is in a much bigger mess, not to mention Congress taking care of their own salaries and generous Healthcare. Should gov't cut Oprah's $280+million/year income in half?

    October 22, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  99. michael fullerton

    as a FORMER 20 year chrysler employee., YOU DON'T KNOW THE HALF. chrysler was quite simply, LOOTED and virtually destroyed by it's own executive's. a practice which started 10 years ago with the so-called "merger" with daimler benz. cnn should make at least a token effort to dig deeper, to get to the real truth about this company. what I know, the U.A.W. leadership would NOT be willing to say OUT-LOUD. BECAUSE THEY ARE AND HAVE BEEN, SPINELESS. again, make an effort to learn what I have known for a very long time.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  100. Frank Mekker

    Also one other point:
    If the executives leave before the loan is paid back they should permanently lose their severance including stock options.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  101. ElviraMudrenko

    I absolutely agree! I feel that it is necessary to distribute some of the money that only 2% of America’s population gets to keep. The top executives won’t suffer any loss, we the middle class, can use that money to pay for school, mortgages, and health care, and not for useless things like flying to Paris for lunch.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:41 am |
  102. Donald Connolly

    Absolutely they're justifiable. All these people were in at the top while dishonest or hyper-risky manipulations were making them fortunes. Now either they knew what they were doing or they did not. If the former, they deserve dismissal for dishonesty. If the latter, they should end up in the mail room. Neither crime nor incompetence should be rewarded with millions of other peopple's money. For far too long our great 'free' enterprise system has been making money the 'old fashioned way.' They steal it.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:43 am |
  103. Daniel Crispell

    I don't believe that any of the top exec's should receive any BONUS money at all, until our money, they received, has been paid back in full. When this has happened then, you could say, they've earned a bonus.
    I don't believe they should get pay cuts UNLESS everyone in Congress as well as the White House , takes the very same pay cut. The reason being is that they are part of the problem as well.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  104. Gardy Lopez

    Good Morning Heidi,

    This administration is having the guts to do the right thing!
    People in goverment, were elected to protect us and not look the other way when We the people need them to do their job.

    I cannot believe that after begging for money from, us the taxpayers, these companies turn around and give themselves Big bonuses!
    and.........We are left with our mouths wide open in disbelief that our goverment did not step in.
    Even with half their salary, They will never know what it is like to struggle to make ends meet.
    My heart breaks for all those who have to hold TWO jobs to support their familes on pennies a day to all those FAT Cows making DOLLARS a SECOND. This is ridiculous!

    October 22, 2009 at 9:44 am |
  105. Gus

    The first order order of business for these bailed out companies should have been to pay back every single dollar of taxpayer money they received, with interest at the same rate that they charge their best customers.

    Then, and only then, they should use their own money to pay as many and as high bonuses as they wish. The average American does not make in a lifetime as much as some of these executives make in a yearly bonus.

    I agree with Dan. Let these people go. If they can't find a company to hire them at their accustomed salary, I am sure they would be happy to retire and live forever happy. But for these companies to use taxpayer money to reward those who brought them to the brink is a slap to the American taxpayer.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:46 am |
  106. Tom Gallagher

    Dear Heidi:
    Executives pay is excessive and need to be cut. If these executives were the original people who caused the economic problems, they should have been fired. If they are relatively new, they need to learn that many people don't make as much money as they are. Our new president made a mistake giving them money. I struggled for years trying to survive on poverty level pay.

    With Warmest wishes,
    Tom

    October 22, 2009 at 9:47 am |
  107. Christine Compton

    I'm sorry, but this whole bailout nonsense still stinks of further greed and inappropriate governmental influence by the financial institutions!

    Of course no one in these companies should profit from what has happened!! In fact, the companies themselves should have been allowed to fail. The taxpayers should have been given the trillions of $ to spend - putting it back into the economy would have been the best stimulus for the country - not giving it to the greedy banks who paid themselves!! What is really going on here??!!

    I can't help but think that these bailouts of wealthy financial institutions is nothing but a huge, greedy hoax perpetrated against the public by the financial industries. We're talking about banks and financial institutions that earn trillions of dollars from private citizens and businesses every year! They want us to think they innocently mis-managed the profits they earned, but the truth is that they became so greedy they are taking the country down the tubes. Let them fail!

    Believe me, more financial institutions will spring up to take their place.

    Hey, how about a "public option" BANK for the people?! A non-profit that would re-invest in needed public works, curbing global warming, etc.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  108. George Taylor

    The basic question is: How does this country deal with the double standard of pay for employees of public enterprises and pay for employees of private enterprises? I think most of us deeply believe
    that those persons getting paid by the tax income of local, state, and federal agencies should be at reasonable, common sense levels. Yet, at the private level, be it Wall Street, or the local car repair shop, our thinking is always seated in the basic notion that free enterprise will "level the playing field." That is a fundamental value I wouldn't tinker with. However, wherever there IS governmental oversight, and the investor-driven stock market is one such venue, I think there SHOULD be pay cuts, and significant ones at that. We're talking about GREED; there is no such thing as an indivual having a sky-is-the-limit-competence. I don't care what his IQ or experience is.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  109. RoBoBrian

    Well if you barrow money from a lender like a credit card and such you must obied by their rules. If these companies want to barrow large sums of money from the government then of course the government should have a say of how the money is divvied its that simple. Of course there needs to be a line on what the amount is that the government has the ability to get involved. If a company wants the power to pay execs whatever it wants then keep itself afloat and stay out of the borrowing of things!

    October 22, 2009 at 9:48 am |
  110. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Theses Execs Robbed there own ferms they deserve prison time.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:50 am |
  111. Sylvia Hernandez

    Heidi, I do feel like these companies should have to lower the pay for the executives, once an individual reaches a certain salary amount I think a cap should be put in place. I think it is kind of funny (He giveth and he taketh) Not only for these companies either.
    I firmly believe that the pay cuts should start at the very top. The White House! The president to me should make less than half of what he makes, and the former presidents and the wives should not get paid what they do. Think about it, when the little man losses their job, the company does not continue to pay them do they? The executives at the White house should also be forced to accept a very large pay cut.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  112. Kathy Hart

    I think it's sad that the executives of these companies that had miserable job performance have to be forced into pay cuts. If they had any social conscience they would have voluntarily cut their own pay. Since they refuse to do so I congratulate the Obama administration for doing it for them. By receiving 50% of their compensation they are still grossly overpaid.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:55 am |
  113. Jim H

    This is about another topic covered in this morning's broadcast – immigration. One fact I have not seen in coverage is the cost to process and return an illegal immigrant. There has to be some due process, since in the post WWII crackdown on Mexican illegal workers, we deported some American citizens. I suspect $10,000 per case would be an extremely conservative estimate. Multiply this by 12 million illegal immigrants and you would get $120 billion dollars to deport all the illegals. The anti-immigrant voices also tend to be strongly anti-tax. They might, if they were logical, be more open to other options if they understood the costs involved. My question is – What is the average cost to deport and illegal? When you get the figure, please distribute it among your fellow reporters so it does not become a one time story.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  114. Joan Sowick

    When we started our small business using borrowed capital, we were required to adhere to certain standards and submit to frequent, detailed audits. Why shouldn't these big companies have to do the same thing?

    October 22, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  115. christa

    It is about time, that something is done about it. I believe, that there are people without a job, that are as talented as those greedy CEO's. All they wait for is getting a chance to work, for less money that those creedy S.O.B's. People should be paid what they are worth, but if greed destroyed a company, they should not be paid a cent and should repay everything they destroyed. We should be able to take back all of it, even if it is held by their families.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  116. Bill Sollner

    Of course their pay should be cut...entirely. And then they should be sent to Guantanamo. The perpetrators of the greatest crash since 1929 did more damage to this country than the illiterate peasants held there as "terrorists."

    October 22, 2009 at 9:58 am |
  117. Brent

    Absolutely YES! In order to get the tax payer's money, they did not need to prove hardship, or fill up long forms showing how much money they use for food, car insurance, etc, etc, like all of us. This is without mentioning that the majority of the people that filled these forms, we are still not getting any help.
    The government wants to stimulate the economy? Force the banks to take all these new profits and put them towards the "negative equity" of the "performing" home loans!!...Have anybody in Washington realized that the people carrying performing mortgages, we have not received any help at all? Just because I pay my mortgage, it does not mean that I am drawing in money! I am just trying to protect my credit that took me so long and very hard work to establish.
    All those top executives own multimillion dollar mansions spread all over the nation and they got 'our' money wired right away, didn't them?
    I say cut their salaries immediately by at least 75%, and if they threat with leaving the company, then show them the front door and let them go!! After all, who needs a CEO that got us in this mess to begin with.

    October 22, 2009 at 9:59 am |
  118. Yogita

    Honestly, though it is too late for this now, these guys shouldn't have got the bail out money. They should have been made to swim in the troubled waters on their own. The government could have set up a governance body to micro or macro manage them or put some regulations in place. But at this point, when these guys have already survived on the bail out money, I guess, it it important they align with what most of the people in the country are going thru and welcome their pay cuts.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  119. Sara

    Pay Cuts: Justified ... Yes. I spent a lifetime in corporate America and agree that it takes a special talent to perform these jobs... but, hey, there is a limit to the amount of their income! For every person these corps loose, there are talented, skilled people waiting in the wings who are willing to work for the 'new' salary and 'in the long run' perform better. Exec's huge incomes have become a way of life in this country with NO restrictions. Greed prevailed. Here's hoping for balance.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  120. ERB

    Aside from the fact they shouldn’t have been salvaged in the first place, short of a sudden burst of moral consciousness, why should people who have been paid stupid amounts of money to fail change now? Our money is on the table, so the government is us. And we should cut failed executive pay to zero by ‘brooming’ them and starting over with fresh talent, like in professional sports.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  121. Cornelia R. Wheeler

    Absolutely, Teachers, Firemen, and Policemen are the lowest paid people in America. Thye teachers are professionals, but they do not get paid professional money, and they are blamed for everything. The people that's making these outrageous salary should be cut.

    I am not saying, they should not be paid a decent salary, but paying them millions of dollars to push papers and drink Starbuck coffee is ridiculous. The average hosehold is working from pay check to pay check, and when we are told just how much these "Professional" are making and I am a professional and can not make anywhere near these salaries. Yes, I think they need to be CUT. I would not accept salary of that magnitude. I feel that in my on profession, that I would want my colleagues to share in the wealth. These people are greedy and do not care about anyone else but themselves. Please tell me , just how much money do one person really need to survive? Yes, cut Wall Street, so that Main Street can survive.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:04 am |
  122. Shanon Brogan

    They should cut the salaries. There are many people out there willing to work for a lot cheaper.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:05 am |
  123. Hasan Hilmi

    Of course they should. These companies have consistently showed that they cannot act ethically under their own will. Government and regulation are the only answer.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:06 am |
  124. Mark

    Heidi,
    I work for one of those firms that have reaped tax payer benefits. They have cut cost and jobs to bring about record profits. I stand with Majority Americans and agree with the 90% Salary Decrease.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  125. Diana Khanagov

    Obama should give Congress a 90% pay cut, because they do not accomplish anything. At least big execs seek to develop their businesses, make money and thus create jobs. Congress just wastes our money. Is Obama brave enough to give Congress a pay cut, or is he just playing hard ball with business execs?

    October 22, 2009 at 10:07 am |
  126. Norman Wiechnick

    No, there pay should not be cut. They should be fired for causing this mess. Their properties, money and personal belongings should be conficated. They should be forced to file bankruptcy just like the millions of their former workers have forced to do. A pay cut is not enough.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  127. jk

    Much needed steps, but why only these 7 or 8 companies. Why freddie and fannie which took more money than aig is not in the list

    October 22, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  128. Carlos

    Heidi, absolutely the paycuts are justified and long overdue. Its ridiculous that these execs continue to pat themselves on the back and pay out millions in bonuses when they wouldn't be around if not for the taxpayer bailout. Next we need to mandate that they modify mortgages that qualify, becauset they haven't complied with that either and they are causing more and more defaults and foreclosures by their inflexibility and refusal to modify loans with the money the government set aside for that.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:08 am |
  129. Myron Mensh

    Absolutely yes. If they want to take government money they should be subjected to government regulations as to how taxpayers' money is spent. It's unbelievable that we should reward CEOs with bonuses when they are unable to financially lead their companys to make a profit. Bonus are a reward for accomplishing something beneficial to the company, not bankrupting the company.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  130. Tahar

    Hi Heidi,

    I have a comment about citigroup . They got 50 Billion of Tax payer money and now they are forcing tax payer to pay higher interest rates . I just received a letter from them stating that they will raise the interest to 29.95% on Nov 30th. You make the call if the executive can get their salaries slashed or even taken away .

    Tahar-

    October 22, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  131. Brad Brown

    Absolutely! The taxpayers have bailed them out, now it is time for them to pay it back. They had the audacity to sit in front of Congress and ask for the money a year ago, it is only right that the federal government be able to dictate the compensation they receive.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:09 am |
  132. Leslie warren

    Yes, cut their pay. I'm out of work and Citi and BofA are hounding me. If I can go broke- so should they

    October 22, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  133. skip jolhnson

    I agree with the income limitations, but do no understand why Goldman Sachs and similar firms have been excluded. Goldman received tens of billions in an AIG pass through, has used and leveraged that money to the best quarter ever, and their CEO has paid himself hundreds of millions of dollars in the process. He should give up his 90% and try to get by on 20 or 30 million dollars a year! And he destroyed the wealth and livelihood of millions of Americans in the process, and simply took many as it passed by him. GM and Chrysler at least made something tangible!

    October 22, 2009 at 10:10 am |
  134. Brittani C.

    Yes I believe that the government should make pay cuts!!! It is not fair that we the people saved their companies and they are out there galavanting around with more money than they know what to do with. As a college student who is barley making it by I think those execs should bail me out with part of their salaries!!!

    October 22, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  135. Mary

    Honestly, these cuts should have been mandatory at the moment they were given the bailout. As of now people have already received their huge bonus pay which is pathetic all in itself. Bonuses should have not been allowed to any of the employees of the companies that were bailed out. I have and am working for two banks during this recession, who were not bailed out. Even though we weren't bailed out bonuses were cut, budgets were cut, overtime was cut. Basically, everything was cut. Funny thing is, that wasn't done for the companies who actually went and begged to be helped. Giving bonuses and continuing to give huge salaries to these companies is a slap in the face for the tax payers as well as those who are extremely qualified to work but have been laid off. Wall Street should have to be completely reconstructed!!

    October 22, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  136. Fred Johnson

    I am an American expatriate in Japan. This company exists even here. A friend who is an employee said that they got their regular summer bonus this year. Usually they get a trip somewhere in the country, but this year, they were told to spend the "same amount of money" by doing something like going out for dinner at a very nice restaurant and buying some nice presents. Heck yeah, they should cut bonuses, but much more than that should happen. WE taxpayers are the one who bailed them out. Without us, they wouldn't even still be a company. They want to have their cake and eat it, too. EVERYBODY has had to sacrifice. They should sacrifice a lot more.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:11 am |
  137. Leon Hughes

    I find it so hard to believe these people can live with them selves taking our money knowing there are those of us who are in such bad shape. I will NOT do any business with any Company who got the bail out money, None of them. I will give my money to China first.
    White collar crime, This one tops them all. Leon

    October 22, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  138. Jhonette Baglio

    Executive pay cuts (at least bonuses) should be required if a company is receiving financial aid. They would not hesitate to cut benefits and/or jobs for the welfare of the company. They should not exempt from sacrifice in difficult times.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:12 am |
  139. Mary Goodrich

    Of course the pay for those ceo's should be cut and as a matter of fact for all ceo's. They are playing with everyone's money for too long.
    Its not just the bail out money......Its been our money all along.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  140. Sylvia Hernandez

    Glenn Johnson, I totally agree with you, (give every citizen over 50 one million dollars. Then, require them to purchase a new car, a new home, and then stop working). This would not only open more jobs but it would give many of us security where we do not have it in the hopes of drawing the Social Security we have paid in all our lives. Then they could afford to let the Illegal people who are living in America and (living free) anyway get it.
    Signed
    Sylvia Hernandez
    Louisiana

    October 22, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  141. Bruce Chaiser

    Yes; we are the government, and our bailout money makes us part owners of their companies. As our employees, we can say how much we will pay them.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  142. Fabrizio

    When will this country realize that GREED is what has caused all this mess? Wealth is not bad but when people search wealth and in the process destroy others, well they become no different than a drug lord, a war lord or even a terrorist. All of the previously mentioned seek their very own interests with disregards to others. I say punish those people and have them taste the same bitterness the rest of us have for some time now. White collar criminals should pay just as well as any other criminals. Lipstick on a pig does not change his status as a pig. These rich criminals are still criminals.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:13 am |
  143. BJ

    YES , YES , YES ! The Obama administration should slash executive pay ! These executives seem to think we will all forgett and move on. They are fooling around with our money now, while many are losing jobs, being forclosed on and even not knowing where the next meal will come from. WHAT is wrong with this county ? Maybe an all round firing would do the trick. Put them out on the street and let them wonder where thier next meal will come from. Not enough consequences for peoples actions anymore !

    October 22, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  144. Phyllis Pennington

    It would have been good if the executives had realized that the reason the companies were in trouble was their lack of talent as executives. When they failed to recognize that fact, they needed some help to come to that conclusion. Who would they listen to? Had to be the government.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:14 am |
  145. Sam

    The whole bailout thing is government intervention. Bush started it but Obama really got into it. The government has no business interfering with businesses. The bailout companies should have been allowed to file for bankruptcy and work out their own problems. The government should have no roll whatsoever in controlling these companies.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  146. Mike, Florida

    I don't think regulating their pay is enough anymore. China is making much greater headway in the recovery than the US. Why?...they control the banks! Their initial response was the same as everyone else, throw money into the economy. However, the next step was to TELL the banks "You will now lend". Their auto sales are up, most benchmarks of their economy are up. We are at the mercy of the same greedy "mobsters" that caused this problem, then took taxpayer money to escape, regroup, and start all over again. They are now larger than before. It' time to nationalize the banks, throw out their old regime, and make them share in the pain of getting out of this mess. As it stands, they are only profiting from it, as the rest of the country suffers!

    October 22, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  147. Peter Koch

    Since the US Government is now the major or near major stockholder in these companies and it represents the US taxpayers at the company table, it is only correct that it takes a hand in determining the pay schedule for these executives. Further, why should the taxpayer support the very people who got the company, the economy and ultimately the American worker into this mess? These people had a severe punishment coming to them for a long time. There is no more effective penalty than being in the wallet. Let them find out how the rest of us live.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  148. Tina

    This country has been out of whack ever since our top managers' compensation left the stratosphere and entered OUTER SPACE! While the Japanese top execs made ~20x the average employee, our GUYS were making 200x. Its immoral and its unacceptable.

    UNLESS ITS YOUR NAME on the building AND YOU STARTED IT, 'you', the top exec, are just a steward of the ship. End of story. If you're a ~Bill Gates, then all the money to you- you had the vision and took the risk, and CREATED the enterprise.

    As for assigning blame for this financial fiasco- someone mentioned the unqualified home buyer? ARE YOU SERIOUS??? The billions of dollars distributed by Bush would have paid off every single loan! Its Wall Street and its 10x-100x derivatives that has bamboozled the ENTIRE WORLD! It was, and is, Wall Street that created these "investment" vehicles that crashed the market. Zero value, sold at subjective prices. It was all ONE BIG GAMBLE! It ONLY WORKED if house prices kept going UP! Get it??? It was flawed financial models... rubber stamped PRIME AAA by the ratings industry.

    People who think its the first time buyers are the same people who just don't spend time understanding complex issues.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:16 am |
  149. John Beers

    I think that the compensation that CEO'S and other execs receive has gotten way out of hand in this country. Something should definitely be done to limit it. The consumer eventually pays for this one way or another.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  150. Ignacio O Quiroz

    Those executives that were hired to oversee and run this large companies, are the ones responsible for the their downfall, and yet these same execs are the ones getting big money to stay and run the companies they ran to the ground.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:17 am |
  151. Robin Catt

    I think it's about time this is done! I find it disgusting that these excs think they are entitiled to the kind of money they make when most people are struggling to make ends meet.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  152. Mary Ellen

    Bonus money should be tied to performance; these companies
    need to be forced to restructure pay. The pay for the top members of the companies is to great. Mary Ellen

    October 22, 2009 at 10:18 am |
  153. Henry S.

    But for taxpayer dollars, these firms might well be out of business. Of course the government has the right and the duty to its citizens to cut the salaries and bonuses of the top executives. Unfortunately, close examination reveals that this applies to a small portion of those executives and appears geared soley for the purpose of covering the backsides of politicians, both Republican and Democrat. The real tragedy is how our government gave away billions to banks and other financial institutions without requiring those institutions to divulge what it did with the money. After all, can you imagine the average taxpayer walking into one of those banks, requesting a sizeable loan and refusing to disclose what would be done with the money. The only thing covering the backside of that taxpayer would be the door hitting it on the way out.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  154. Kevin Trepus

    Absolutely! The term "welfare queens" has been used to demean low-income individuals using public assistance, but the amount of public assistance that flows directly or indirectly to the gluttonous corporate class is outrageous and I believe the term "WEALTHFARE queen" is a better descriptor of who tax payers need to be concerned about. It is LONG past time for the government to take action. Unfortunately, the public should not expect such action to take place to an adequate degree as we, in effect, have a corporate democracy in this nation.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  155. peter

    The government is right and these administrators knew what they were doing and should be responsible to pay all of the money back.The government is on the right track and I am proud of them and I think others will be too. They knew this was coming.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:19 am |
  156. harve weltman

    love the show...as a senior citizen i have always believed in workers earning good wages...and for extra effort being rewarded...however this applies to the majority of workers in the united states...the saleries applied to the in the current situation that we are dealing with are outragous and the cuts as stated above should be applied...i feel the government to the proper steps to stop the freefall of our financial markets but after giving the monies they lost control of these companies that excepted the money..including TARP monies..i have been trying for 7 months to get help facing foreclosure but have given little responce from those holding my mortgage..i missed my first payment in 50 years..but now these banks etc. want to give out larger than ever bonus's its crazy and the feds should realize it but once again its politics...thanks HW

    October 22, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  157. TC Kennedy

    AIG was the worst offender and got most of the bail-out money. What I haven't see on these pages or on the TV program is that AIG funneled a very large portion, $Billions, of that bail-out money to DEUTCSHE BANK! Deutsche is based in Germany, and financed WWII NAZI's and the concentration camps, etc.

    An article in the New York Times said that the main losses for AIG was one of their "London based unit" that reached $25 billion for the 3rd quarter of 2008.I wonder if they put a name to that London unit, it might be a branch or business associated with Deutcshe Bank...

    Deutcshe claims to own my mortgage, and has stated to me that they will not participate in any government program to help homeowners!So they'll take free $billions from the American people, but they won't be bothered to do the paperwork to take advantage of homeowner help programs for a permanently disabled homeowner like me. Deutsche Bank refuses to help me, and in fact have created many road blocks. I'm due to be evicted from my home next week on Oct. 28!!

    $100million BONUSES??!! As in, a bonus is given in ADDITION to their regular salary?? Why are they getting bonuses at all if their companies were bordering on bankruptcy??? Seems those execs shoulda be demoted!

    AND, from all the $100's of millions being taken back, I only need $221,000 to get Deutsche Bank off my back and out of my life!

    I could really use a good lawyer to help me to stop the eviction next week. My mortgage is the result of predatory lending. It's an ARM which was supposed to reduce the interest rates after my initial 2 years. Instead, they RAISED my interest rate in Oct -07 and said it would rise again in April '08!

    I became physically disabled almost a year after I bought my home, and the stress the bank has imposed on me has been detrimental to my overall health.

    Please help.

    Teri Kennedy
    Payson, AZ

    October 22, 2009 at 10:20 am |
  158. Karen Sokoloff

    Heidi,
    While I favor capitalism over all other economic systems, once those at the top of the socioeconomic scale wantonly run their corporations regardless of it's impact on their employees our country and the world due to personal greed our democratic form of government should step in to protect those who have been hurt by this excessive corporate greed. While banks and investment companies don't want any government regulation, they were happy to take our money. When we borrow money form these institutions, we are held accountable. The top executives should be held accountable for their unethical, frivolous decision making. Nobody else in our country recieves millions in bonuses or hundreds of thousands of dollars in salary for poor performance. Why should these unscrupulous money whores be rewarded for sending our country and world into a near-depression? The argument is that they need to offer these incentives to attract the brightest most capable individuals to make their companies successful. Apparently, the incentives merely serve to attract the most selfish and narcisstic among us. I bet you could find some really bright, capable people to fill these positions for less pay. There's plenty of people looking for jobs right now, thanks to these brilliant top-performers.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:25 am |
  159. cleo holyfield

    of course, why pay to fail...you wouldn't pay me if i failed in my job performance...if i didn't produce.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:30 am |
  160. joe

    These company's dragged our economy down people by the millons lost job.And if they think they should get bonus. they should be fired so they know what the rest of the people who lost jobs feel like.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  161. Dee

    YEA!! Executive pay cuts is very very long over due. The prez wants to send Tarp money to small community BANKS so they will help small business's expand. These SMALL BANK executives top pay ALSO need to be looked at BEFORE they get any TARP money. You may be surprised at their pay also.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:32 am |
  162. Benjamin

    Corporate CEO's who are receivinng raises and bonuses should instead be paying fines in equal huge amounts. Anyone who believes those executives have not committed crimes in getting the country into its present disastrous condition is worse than naive – he/she is superstitious.
    And, by the way, it doesn't matter a whole lot what gets done now – the USA is sliding down the razorblade of history. The next voice you hear from Washington will be that of our very own Caligula, assuring us that the American empire will endure forever, while he (collectively) wallows in the last dregs of sin and surplus wrung from the system.
    Tsk, tsk – did you think this country would be different from all the others merely because we gave it a romantic name?

    October 22, 2009 at 10:36 am |
  163. Zack

    I think we need to fire the executives. Then, we need to hire the people who have worked all their lives at the company making only $40,000. These are the people who will run the company the best way. They will run the company for the better of the company, not for the money.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  164. John, Atlanta

    While I do not encourage huge pay to Chief Executives that take bailout money, but before we apply any cut, let us remember that this may infringe the capitalistic free market economy which this great country is built upon.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  165. Maurice Marwood

    The probem was plundering the workers money to bail out these banks. Now, they should demand that it be paid back and let the shareholders decide what the empoloyees' compensation should or should not be.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  166. Barbara

    Fire them. And then check on why the Bank of America has their money in offshore accounts and doesn't pay taxes. Insane? True?

    October 22, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  167. Kevin Rohm

    Consider the bailouts Unemployment ensurance for Wall Street. If I got money I wasn't supposed to I would loose my unemployment insurance. Well...what makes them any different

    October 22, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  168. Larry in Vermont

    They got us into this mess....if they want to quit over pay cuts, I hope the door hits them in the ass on the way out.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  169. j

    Wall Street needs to get back to reality. They lose billions and blame it on the economy. They make millions and they say it is their expert management. Those consultants need to go also who claim these people deserve the money they are paid.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:39 am |
  170. Karen

    I find it odd that the story you did right before this one on these salaries is the need to extend jobless benefits. So on one hand, you have people out of jobs working hand to mouth, trying to make mortgage payments, car payments and buy groceries on unemployment...and at the same time executives being paid enormous salaries. I think they should consider themselves working at "the pleasure of the President" and give up their salaries so that those without jobs have a greater opportunity to get by.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  171. Dan from Horseheads

    NO! The government needs to stay out of business. They are controlling the auto industry, telling business what they can pay, and trying to take over health care! Am I the only one who seeing our freedom slip away?!

    October 22, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  172. Cameron Atkins

    The companies should know better than to pay their execs with this money. During the depression, the trickle down effect didn't work for Hoover because the execs lined their pockets and didn't allow the money to trickle down. History always repeats itself.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  173. Carol

    Absolutely not. Although I am not happy that so much tax payer money was used to bail out any companies I do not think the government has any right to determine what an employee in the private sector makes. What people do not realize is that the top executives will leave this bailed out firms and work for other firms. This will leave these firms scrambling to replace them with less qualified help. Bad idea for the economy all around...

    October 22, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  174. Damian

    Heidi – Your Damn right they should, bonus is given for better than expected performance, its an addition to stated salary. Receiving a bailout from taxpayers that are struggling to make ends meet and then expecting a bonus, are they crazy!!!

    Bonus \Bo"nus\, n.; pl. Bonuses. [L. bonus good. Cf. Bonny.]

    2. An extra dividend to the shareholders of a joint stock company, out of accumulated profits.

    3. Money paid in addition to a stated compensation.

    Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

    October 22, 2009 at 10:40 am |
  175. Ben

    Just share the wealth with the ret of the Americans. We don't care how much they make, we just want our fair piece of the pie. Our expenses have at least doubled in the past few years, and the only thing getting better is the exec's salary. Seems like old fashioned price gouging.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  176. Renee

    Yes, it should have been done a long time ago. The government
    should not have bailed out the banks and other corporations in
    the first place. That money should have been given to the American
    people, to whom it belongs, so that we could have used it to bring
    the economy to where it belongs. We are the ones who buy, sell,
    have small businesses, etc. that are suppose to run this country.
    The large banks, corporations, insurance companies and pharma-
    suitical companies have run this country for way too long and it is
    time that something is done to give it back to the American people.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  177. Steve D.

    Sure.....but, government officials receive tax payer money to meet their salaries as well. How about cutting their pay for the poor policy decisions that they make. We can start with Sen. Todd and Mr. Frank. After all, they are "employees" of our government.....the share holders are the citizen-taxpayers.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  178. Angie

    Unfornately the bail outs were necessary. These companies should have executive pay cut until they are profitable and able to pay back the bail out. Once they have paid back the bail out I believe these companies should still have some government oversight to make sure they stay profitable and NEVER need bail out money again!!!

    October 22, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  179. Chaney

    Yes these ceos need to have their pay cut it was on their watch this meldown happened, I am all for free enterprise but this is beyond that it is the most disgusting example of Corp. greed the world has ever witnessed....... and it will happen again unless the financial institutions are regulated.......

    October 22, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  180. Joyce Opelt

    I agree that the government should lower the perks for the companies employees that were bailed out. Why should we pay for their luxuries..

    October 22, 2009 at 10:41 am |
  181. Tiffany

    YES THEY SHOULD!!!!!!! Do to the fact that we are in a bad economic position where almost everybody is getting laid off drom their jobs and the execs need to get their salaries cut off also...ITS JUST NOT FAIR

    October 22, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  182. KD

    Since natural selection no longer applies, and these clowns fancy themselves as emperors of industry, give them the Roman Legion treatment. Suicide or decimation for all of them sounds fair to me.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  183. Greg M

    I think tying compensation to stocks is a very dangerous move because it is going to promote short term gain so top management can make money. It will not promote a long term vision because management will only worry about getting the stock price high enough to cash in. If they are going to use stock they need to make it so they can only cash them when they retire! This will make each CEO work for the company and make it strong for the future as they are now tied to the company for the long run. No more slashing everything to boost the financials for the short term so stock price rockets upward and they makes millions.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  184. Ed

    They should have cut these salaries years ago. I haven't had a raise in over two years. Why should a cop be on public assistance. And these guys laugh it up all the way to the bank.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:42 am |
  185. Shawn Haltim

    Yes, of course these people should have their pay cut! The mere fact that they still have their positions is owed to US Taxpayers who provided the Billions to keep them afloat! Until the entire amounts of money borrowed are paid back, these salaries, bonuses and perks should be restricted to reasonable levels to show accountability and common sense!

    October 22, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  186. Margaret

    I have a Bank of America account, and have had for years, I totally agree that top execs. should have there pay cut. Bank of America also recently was the sponsor for a NASCAR RACE. Was tax payer money used for this also. Probably so. BofA has recently also started making extra pentalities against people if their account gets over drawn. They were bragging about if it was under $10.00 they wouldn't impose a overdraft fee to people. Tell the truth BofA. how much extra u charge people if it's $10.01. Overdraft fee, extended overdraft fee within 5 days. I've been charged for a 5 cent overdraft on my account 35.00.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  187. Evie Hayes

    Good Morning, Heidi!
    Yes, they should slash salaries! Many of these companies have put the costs back on the consumer raising interest /finance rates beyond 22%, so not only did they get federal help they are now charging us who pay finance charges for our purchases, i.e. banks. The approval of not raising finance rates is coming too late, as all the Credit Card companies have already raised their rates to the consumer from rates below 10% to over 22%. Also, Social Security is not increasing COA's for all seniors, why should the executives excel and everyone else falls behind after they received help when the rest of us are seeing the effects of high prices for food, finance rates, and no raises for anyone but them.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  188. doug

    Pay cut are good. I believe the pay vuts should go to repay the debt
    And continue until the tax payers are paid back.
    I would also like to see these high paid execs fired. It time
    For the second and third string enployees
    Give the jobs.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  189. Tim

    Am I the only one who thinks these rules should have been established before the $350 Billion was handed to these companies? Not 8 months after the check was delivered.

    Maybe there should have been some rules on how the money was to be spent and how it would be tracked as well? Elizabeth Warren, the top congressional watchdog overseeing the financial bailout said she doesn't know where it went and the banks refuse to report on where it went.

    Hmmm? And we want the gov't to get their fingers deeper in healthcare? Really!?!

    October 22, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  190. Douglas McNutt

    Corporations must pay salaries over $1 million with after 35% income tax money. In 2011 such salaries will also be exposed to a 50% income tax. The math is more complicated but that can be looked at as an 85% tax on salaries over $1 million.

    If we do away with salaries like that just where is Mr. Obama going to get his cash from "those who can afford it"?

    October 22, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  191. Mark

    Hi Heidi,
    History teaches us that corporations need regulation just as much as a child needs parenting. You don't drop your kid off at the ice-cream parlor, tell them not to eat too much and you will pick them up in a few hours. What do you think will happen? If an activity is going to be successful, there must be rules. How about a college football game with no officials? From the moment Brooksley Born questioned Wall Street as an Agent with oversight, there should have been an automatic review process (on derivatives) that was automatic and free of congressional meddling! Congressmen and Senators should also be subject to term limits so "re-election" is removed from the decision making process!

    October 22, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  192. William Tews

    The pay cuts are definitly justified because these people are the ones who got their companys into these positions. I'm sick of the constant excuse that this lower salary will cause these ' best and brightest' to jump to another company. Think about it , if they were so smart they wouldn' t have ended up in this predicament. Additionally in this economy how many equivalent jobs are really out there and it would be justice if they ended having to rely on unemployment to pay their bills.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  193. Bill

    I'm just wondering if every one of the top execs would reduce their yearly salaries to 100k a year, received no bonuses or extras, eg: company jets etc. just how would this affect the price of new automobiles? And since the oil companies rely so much on the auto industry why didn't they make the loans to the big 3? I'm quite sure Exxon could have found a billion or 2 laying around collecting dust.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:44 am |
  194. Jim in the Midwest

    Obama still having to clean up the mess created by the no-no regulation "greed is good" Republicans....

    October 22, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  195. Anika O.

    I am glad that their pay is being cut. I think that all the companies receiving reflief from our government should be capped and raised only when their company can pay it back or until our country is economically stable again. These companies cut jobs at the bottom which may have made sense if these postitions were not helping the company grow and they cut or capped salaries for middle management and employees. Yet did not cap or cut their salaries to aid the companies the run.

    CUT/CAP so over this mess
    Anika O.
    Lauderdale Lakes, FL

    October 22, 2009 at 10:45 am |
  196. george iino

    Bank executives receiving huge bonuses after receiving federal bail money is disgraceful. But, this is trivial matter compared to the amount of the money these same banks are stealing money from individual consumers and small businesses by increasing the interest rates of credit cards. The bailout money may have kept the bank alive, but they have to continue to operate at a profit...and that they do by charging general consumer more money to borrow. No one in the media seems to be talking about this point as much.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  197. Steve D.

    Maybe if our government officials were compensated based on their performance we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. Home Ownership is not a "right" it is a privilege Mr. Frank, Ms. Pelosi, and Mr. Dodd.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:47 am |
  198. j

    Oh, by-the-way, start cutting politician salaries also. The private jets for people like Ms. Pelosi must go. They are no better than the average Joe. In fact by capita there are more felons and absconders than the regular population.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  199. David

    Congress is not addressing the main issue, reinstating restrictions on banks holding mortgage backed securities and offering mortgages at the same time.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  200. Erinn

    In other countries no one person can make more(a percentage) than the average employee. Why doesn’t America have laws to that effect? They're proposing all these rules but only on the companies that still have loans out. We need laws that will cover ALL the companies, preventing high paying/any executives from writing themselves huge checks. And yeah, I'm sure those companies will find brand new ways to make billions from their companies but it won't be legal for them to give themselves huge bonuses.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:50 am |
  201. Matt

    "Do you think the government should be forcing these companies to slash salaries?"

    Absolutely! Bank execs are engaged in little more than white collar crime. They have milked the people for years while making false promises to them. They have treated the people like dirt when things got a little tough. They have gouged the people for years with unreasonable fees, while driving many into foreclosures, bankruptcy, and at times, even to suicide. Yet, when times got a little tough for the banks, they came crying to government with their hands out, looking for bailouts, which they got, all at the cost to the same people they mistreated for years. There should have been no bailouts for them. Their corrupt companies should have simply been allowed to fail. But unfortunately they did get many of the bailouts they wanted. Now its time to pay the piper. For once, let bank execs see what its like to be holding the short end of the stick.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  202. Julie

    I believe that top executives in bailed out companies should take a paycut. I just wish the government didn't need to force them into this.

    These executives should want to lead by example, demonstrating that community and altruistic pursuits are worthy opponents of corporatism. Decency isn't just something for the little guy; it's something everyone needs to embody and believe in. It's simply indecent to earn millions of dollars a year as a salary and/or a bonus. It's unconscionable.

    October 22, 2009 at 10:52 am |
  203. Tim

    It's amazing to me that Social Security recipients will not be receiving any kind of COLA raise in their checks this year, and yet those Wall Street banks that taxpayers bailed out will still be able to give millions of dollars in perks and bonuses to their employees. I think that all of the companies that got any kind of bail out money should cut all executive salaries and perks until the tax payers get their money back. Better yet, why not let those Wall Street execs live on Social Security pay until the money they got from the taxpayers gets paid back to the government?

    October 22, 2009 at 10:53 am |
  204. kathy walker

    yes, they are the problem..do not reward bad behavior,,replace them with the new smart and brightest...who will appreciate the compensation given them...

    October 22, 2009 at 10:55 am |
  205. Rolf

    YES!!!!!!! But there is a loophole in everything these days.

    October 22, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  206. Trudie Morton

    Yes I think pay cuts for the top bank and financial individuals should be required. However, the banks still need to be watched to see if they will continue to try to profit on the backs of the average citizen . Right now they offer next to nothing on savings interest, but, miss a payment on your credit card, and rates go up to 30 and 35%. They gained from the taxpayers with the bail-outs, now they're trying to squeeze more money out of these same folks by high rates on cards. Something has to change.

    October 22, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  207. Jerry Wolf

    Let me get this straight. The executives and/or traders of the Wall Street and banking firms engaged in high risk transactions and investments, which put the global financial system on the brink of disaster. As a reward they were awarded obscene amounts of compensation. The financial investments and the real estate values collapsed for the rest of the populations who provided the sweat and muscle to grow the economies. These greedy selfserving individuals are now steping in at the bottom, which they caused, and taking credit for the recovery slowly underway and again claiming obscene amounts of compensation. Recovery being paid for by the same hardworking taxpayers who took the brunt of the collapse. No one is worth nearly what they are paid. If they choose to leave their employment because of compensation limits, I am sure there are individuals ready, willing and able to step in and take their places.

    October 22, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  208. Chris

    The government should never have stepped in. As a taxpayer and the big companies employer ( remember the government used my money to bail out these businesses) i say fire them all and start again. The next group can't do much worse than the first group. To give these big wigs my money for helping destroy the economy shows the way our government runs.. WASTE, WASTE, WASTE.
    And while we are cleaning house lets get rid of or cut government and cut their pays.. Now there is BIG waste of our money.

    October 22, 2009 at 11:09 am |
  209. Jake

    In response to whether or not these pay cuts are justifiable-

    Bailing failed corporations out with taxpayer dollars was, in and of itself, unjustifiable from the start, and thus any action taken thereafter is similarly unjustifiable. Where do these government decision rights end? If we let the government dictate pay, why not just let them dictate prices, production, and hiring practices too. Outside of ensuring a stable institutional and legal framework for conducting business, the government needs to remove itself from market processes.

    October 22, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  210. forest rogers

    heide i think nobody worth the money the ceo.s make cause most of the ideas the ceo.s get come from the people that don/t make very much thanks

    October 22, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  211. Don

    You betcha and it is about time. We had to establish a minimum wage because "they" did not. That minimum wage is laughable but "their" pay is obscene.

    Take GM as an example. 18 years ago GM had so many brands/models/options that every GM car was often almost custome made often in foreign plants) with lousy quality and mileage. They came out with the Saturn with 3 models (coupe, sedan and station wagon) with only 2 choices of engine. This was a high quality automobile made entirely in the USA and got up to 45 mpg. It worked for about 15 years and was profitable. The masterminds in charge added 6 more models sent the manufacture overseas added huge engines and huge gas tanks to allow for the lousy mileage. The new GM management declared Saturn unprofitable and pulled the plug putting at least 50,000 Americans in the dealerships out of work. I hope GM follows Saturn and someone picks up the original Saturn concept, ie afforable, efficient, high quality and made in the USA.

    Perhaps with this wisdom all manages at GM should be paid minimum wage . I'm sure Ford would not hire any of them!

    October 22, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  212. Jacqueline

    After 27 years of services , I was displaced on Sept. 2009, from Mellon, now known as BNYMELLON . American stimulus money helped them to open offices in India and Ireland. Will the pay cuts expand to the foreign companies as well ? American money helped BNY Russian law suit bailout ! Waste money on credit reports for a year Why ? Their out- sorted programer lost personal information data tapes ! The financial instituitions have a new system called imaging. If they are not helping to create jobs in America and not abroad , then we don't need them !!

    October 22, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  213. Pat (from Canada)

    See, this is the problem with the current situation.

    Where is the decency of these executives? Everyone in America (heck the whole world as a result), has had to endure a cut back in all aspects of their lives. They use two arguements to justify their hesitation. 1.) 'Contract'. The minute they took tax payer money, their contract was null and void. Borrowing 'public' money has different rules than borrowing private money. No one borrows public money so that they can benefit themselves while slashing other peoples jobs. Look, other Americans are loosing their jobs because of the mess many of these MBA execs made only to become a further burden o the unemployment system. Meanwhile, these execs are enriching their pockets using public money. So, to put it simply, taxpayers are paying for their mess twice...the bailout (which they keep for themselves, and thru unemployment, because they fire many workers). Go after them. Their contract is null and void the minute they took tax payer money. Period.

    2.) Limitation on hiring "top talent" to turn around the company. Lemme see, why is it an issue if these companies are HIRING NEW talents? Make a new contract which will stipulate new salaries/compensation for these new talent. Old talent should NOT be at these companies anymore because they caused the mess. Fire them!

    America, figure this out and quick. The government already threw good money at bad companies. Don't sit by and let these greedy monkeys pocket these funds. Its a crime.

    October 22, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  214. armystngsoldier

    I don't think that there should be pay cuts. Let them keep their money and let the government remain part owners of their companies.

    October 22, 2009 at 12:16 pm |
  215. edward d porter

    If these companies recieved tarp money then one of the stipulations should have been the cap on exec pay, not doling out bonuses. I have an incentive in the military and my civilian job, "work or get fired", not "who wants an extra 1 Million for no reason"

    October 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  216. Nancy Springfield Illinois

    I cannot believe people keep saying it may effect the hiring of good employees. What good employees?Where have you been? They have been getting bonuses for sending us teetering on depression. Fire them all. Anyone can do those jobs. Start with the people who work at the bottom and know what really goes on. Give them the jobs they will take the pay raise and work happily.

    October 22, 2009 at 12:58 pm |
  217. Mike in Pasadena

    It's a nice gesture, however most of these CEO's and executives could live VERY comfortably with out a dollar of salary because of previous obscene compensation packages they have received at our expense over the past few years.

    I believe this is a slap on the wrist arranged to appease the public. All of these executives should be scrutinized and investigated for fraud and prosecuted where appropriate. Then lets put in new and enforce existing regulations that should have been done all along.

    These people are being treated and kept outside the laws that apply to every other citizen of the US.
    TWO KEY POINTS:
    As always, PUBLIC CAMPAIGN FINANCING will solve most all of these corruption issues rampant across all industries.

    Why didn't all of us get a bailout, like waiving penalties for forced early withdrawl from 401K plans to keep from loosing homes, paying for healthcare etc?

    October 22, 2009 at 1:01 pm |
  218. JIM

    The program is a good idea except it doesn't go far enough. It should aply to the top 50 or 100. Why? As propsed now, top employees will be vying for the 26th spot whose compensation will be greater than the former number one person. However, if you make it 51st or 101st you MAY eliminate this probability (Trust me, it's already being done in the Human Resouces departments of these companies. If only such contingency planning had applied to their investment portfolios!). The government auditors need to compare former (pre-regulation) executive compensation with that subject to the proposed regulation guidelines.

    October 22, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  219. jim lowry

    These bonuses are needed to "attract the best and the brightest". What? They brought down the banks in the first place. Why would anyone want to keep them around? They "lose" hundreds of millions/billions of dollars and they are to be rewarded? WHY?

    October 22, 2009 at 1:03 pm |
  220. Nancy Springfield Illinois

    In Sweden anything over 100,000 get taxed 100%. I think we should just go with that, sure would solve our budget problems. No one is worth that kind of money. They do not work, they just steal. That is why this conuntry is hurting. We pay loafers and call them CEOS ,we do not pay for work we pay for influence.

    October 22, 2009 at 1:05 pm |
  221. David

    @Nancy Springfield Illinois so right Nancy and your reference to sweden is well taken I am sure. Some CEOs just sit at a desk and look pretty. Some don't even answer admiring letters that come in. Some don't care at all. The fact is American workers work their asses off, and some CEO's sit around getting teary eyed and doing nothing listening to they sychophants and laughing up their sleeves at everyone. I guess they call that a good time. Glad the dow is up though Nancy. That's such a good sign.

    Moderator, please if you post, please post this correction not my prev post.

    October 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  222. MR.AL

    Cuts to C.E.O'S yes they took the bail outs and still cut thousands of jobs.While the unemploment rate sky rocketed they still collected their multi million salaries and bonuses.

    October 22, 2009 at 1:26 pm |
  223. David

    Good pt some companies look at their employees and go "you're lucky to even been here" all the time plenty of other midlevel employees sucking up massively.

    October 22, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  224. KD

    I noticed a comment about how unfair this bonus situation is. I agree. But I`m also real enough to know "fair" has nothing to do with living in the USA. I`m a 31 year stone mason and bricklayer, and the max wage in my trade has NEVER gone up. Tiffany, this is supposed to be a democracy,one person, one vote. Of the people, for the blah, blah, blah. The constitution hasn`t governed this country for a long time. Niether have the people.Politicians have. Big difference. This is a racket for them. They talk, we shut up. Or else.Until we stand up as one, all races, ( this is about class, not race) and realize they propagate bigotry as a means to keep us weak and fighting each other, we dont have a chance. This needs to (and will) get very ugly unless our so called elected reps in Washington. The Revolution needs to start on Wall St., because that is where the shots are really being called . No, I`m no commie. But they`ve turned me into what they would call an extremeist. I call myself a patriot.

    October 22, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  225. ken

    Yes, they should be forced to slash salaries as they have received tax dollars from us after receiving millions in pay and bonuses under what I think is a good old boy network- Certain people from certain universities and social clicks getting paid enormous salaries and bonuses no matter how well they do the job, what a farce......No one wants to discuss how the selection process is for these guy and how they are hired in the first place and the selections made after we gave them bail out money.

    October 22, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  226. Barbara Gilhousen

    Goldman Sachs was not mentioned as part of the executive paycuts. I guess it was because they paid back their bailout money. What you probably don't know is that they paid it back on the shoulders of their employees in their holding companies by cutting benefits, such as paid holidays. Employees no longer get paid holidays unless they work on that holiday. They have to pay their executives huge bonuses, but their hourly employees get the shaft.

    October 22, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  227. Robert

    ABSOLUTELY!
    If they openly enjoy our taxpayer bailouts, they should equally embrace strict conditions, including no bonuses and a monitoring of salaries. Additionally, they should abide by strict monitoring of the taxpayer funds.

    Once they pay us back....IN FULL (and with interest....oh, no....what am I thinking? that's a pipe dream).....and have faithfully returned all our money lent to them, then we ought to remove govt. involvement. Until then, let them sweat!

    October 22, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  228. Pam holt

    I believe that the bank execs should get their pay. Not because I want them to, but because they have contracts and we,the taxpayers are going to be the losers, after the execs sue and win. Obamas lawyer buddies will be the onlyvwinners in this scenario. Obama had his big chance to put a stop to the execs being able to sue by putting the same clause as big buissiness, credit card suppliers, auto loans , put into our contracts. We can only go thru arbitration, our right to sue has been stripped away. Until Obama does to them, what they do to us, they deserve their pay. It"slegal,and if not given, there will be consequences, in the form of lawsuits.

    October 22, 2009 at 3:53 pm |
  229. C Smith

    When talking about Bank of America, lets not forget that it was Bernake and Paulson that forced (yes forced, read the grand jury transcripts from the hearing) Ken Lewis to do the Merryl Lynch deal, lest they would remove him and the board, and then would not allow disclosure to the stockholders regarding the adverse affect the merger would have on BOA stock. Had Lewis walked from the ML deal as he wanted to do the bank would have remained healthy and would not have needed the Tarp $$ which was also forced on the bank. So they forced the merger with ML, forced the Tarp money on the bank, and are now going to force salary cuts and decide what it fair pay??? What's next, going to force the top talant employees that want to leave the bank to stay. This is all so out of control it's hard to believe its happening in America.

    October 22, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  230. BA

    Those who accepted money from the American people should repay in full their debt just as they (banks, credit card lenders of all ilk) expect to be payed when they loan us money. Our business has been greatly affected by the banks refusal to lend our customers money. These banks impose such unattractive rates and conditions that it makes the average loan unattractive to most consumers. I seem to remember that we gave billions and billions in rescue money very quickly only to watch as the banks deposited our money and proceeded to hoard the money. This really hurt last summer and we are still feeling the effects. Now wall street wants to hand out staggering amounts bonus money "awards" or "commissions" that are incomprehensible to the average American. I think that when you get into financial trouble and ask for help you forfeit some of your independence and must accept imposed conditions. But beyond all this there is something far more important I would ask all those who would accept these huge bonus checks; How can you parade your wealth before the poor and hungry and call yourselves men? Sharing is Divine. At some point in our planets evolution we must ask ourselves if this is really now we as a race want to be?

    October 22, 2009 at 5:50 pm |
  231. George Tilton

    I feel that it would be unfair for these execs to receive large bonuses after bailouts because they are using the money that was to go to the people that need it more. Example of this is that they have taken the cost of living increase for disabled people and people that live on social security so that these execs can get millions in bonuses? I feel that this is very unfair.

    October 22, 2009 at 6:24 pm |
  232. William Addo, Atlanta

    I am in agreement with the Administration in cutting their compensations. The fear of loosing them should not be entertained in the first place. If they were any good at what they do, they should not have caused these financial mess. Remember, NO ONE IS IRREPLACIBLE. In effect, no one came into this world already endowed with experience to run corporations. There are equally very good and talented people around. Let them leave, and I can surely bet that someone is going to take over and run those entities even better. Just give other people a chance. Remember, President Obama was a freshman Senator but was elected President Of The United States. How ever thought about this?

    October 22, 2009 at 10:39 pm |
  233. Sam

    Since the government has the right to adjust CEOs salaries because they took bailout monies, then the government has the right to dictate to those who took student loans, what their course of study is and where they can go to school. It also has the right to dictate to those who live in government housing just how many cars they can have, how many tvs they can own and perhaps how many children they can have. After all, this is America.

    October 22, 2009 at 11:24 pm |
  234. Cayce

    Absolutely not. Obama needs to sell these companies to China no matter what Judge Ruth Ann says. It's her fault that things are getting worse for GM. If she would just said Yes to selling GM this wouldn't have happened.

    October 23, 2009 at 5:59 am |
  235. Brian

    Who was that guy in front of the whitehouse that Heidi was arguing with? I watched and had no idea who he was – usually you guys show his name in a box. I found it very difficult to follow because I couldn't tell if he was a reporter, W.H. official, AIG rep, etc...

    October 23, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  236. Mike M.

    Just what this country needs, more “feel good” legislation.
    Didn’t we use to have laws to prevent the kind of corruption that caused the problem in the first place?
    Oh, I get it. Instead of paying big bonuses, these corporations channeled the money into the hands of our federal law-makers to get those regulations scrubbed. Now were gonna institute new regulations so that they start filtering those funds back to our elected officials again. Brilliant!
    And so the great circle of life continues in Washington. God bless America!

    October 23, 2009 at 11:39 am |
  237. Nick

    I am glad to see that these companies will not be getting big bonuses and that their pay will be slashed. when was the last time you were rewarded for poor performance ? What message are we sending these top CEO's when a company goes bankrupt and there is no reprecussion for your actions? We are a proud country based on solid ideals and i think it is about time that something is being done for what is obviously wrong. The tax dollars are meant to rebulid and help these companies to establish some needed stability in the market at home global market, not to stuff the coffers of the very small number of people who are already wealthy.

    October 23, 2009 at 12:01 pm |
  238. David

    Looking at my previous posts and some of the others on this blog, and then thinking about the markets at their peak a couple years ago, it occurs to me that we had something maybe sort of kind of good and it's been talked into the ground.

    October 23, 2009 at 2:49 pm |
  239. Jen in Illinois

    Execs of major corporations, including Big Pharma, should not be making millions upon millions on the backs of sick and frightened citizens!! The vaccine and pharmaceutical industry is poised to make a killing (sorry for the pun) this fall and winter as people increasingly sicken and seek treatment options.

    As in every area, it is greed that rears its ugly head. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, we are told, and this H1N1 scare and healthcare bill debate bear that out. As usual, the common man pays twice; coming and going.

    October 24, 2009 at 6:03 pm |
  240. Lynne Reid Young

    The new CNN format is slick, but HEADLINE NEWS should continue to be the major focus and, in my opinion, should be front and center on the home page, not a feature. Please maintain the integrity and original mission of CNN as the all news network.

    October 26, 2009 at 8:31 am |
  241. Shirley Sommers

    I support the government move to control Paycheck.

    October 29, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  242. Bill Estes

    as long as those companies accept/solicit tax payer dollars then the tax payers are the boss and can determine salaries...but this is a capitalist society and the government has no input into privately held businness....since us taxpayers are the boss then I recommend to my government represenatives that they voluntarily reduce their government pay by 15%,,,
    I am exploring the possibilities of starting an internet campaign for the purpose of reducing the payroll of the federal government across the board....starting with the congress and the white house

    October 31, 2009 at 4:32 pm |
  243. Hacketack

    Execetive Salarys are an epidiemic , we need to cap salaries not to exceed the salary of the Us President, and find a better way to share the wealth . This Royal Serf-ton system, has turned back the hands of time to the old British system of Royals and the Serfs.

    November 4, 2009 at 10:23 am |
  244. nlt

    I believe the banking and auto companies should have gone through bankruptsy just as any other badly run business. Since they were bailed out by the government, then the government should have a say in compensation equal to any other stockholders but no more so. Capping executive pay is a slippery slope and we must watch carefully that there is no effort to extend this to other areas of American business.

    November 4, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  245. Mick Conner

    I believe that the economy can get better by producing funds for goverment and corprate bodies.

    November 5, 2009 at 10:47 am |