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ThoughtsOnline

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Following on the heels of the example below, along comes another so-called business reporter who isn't up to the task...

What makes David Ellis competent enough to determine what is 'runaway' Wall Street pay practices?

Has Ellis ever held an executive position at a Wall Street firm? At a firm anywhere?

I doubt it. And not having done so, by definition, Ellis is unqualified to render judgment on what is and what isn't 'runaway' pay. He has no way of knowing whether a bonus for a particular executive was justified or not.

Ellis is guilty of sloppily (with perhaps a trace of bias) accepting one side's opinion as fact. If he was truly interested in maintaining the neutrality journalists profess to aspire to, he would avoid using loaded phrases such as that.

I likewise don't expect much of Obama, as he hasn't held any sort of real private sector job. If he did, he would know that executives don't "pay themselves huge bonuses". What employee anywhere pays himself? Aren't employees paid by employers? A Wall Street executive might like to pay himself a big bonus but if he can't convince someone up the food chain that he deserves such pay, he ain't getting it.

So... if someone was getting 'too much' money, that would be a failing of that executive's superiors... and the superior is the one who should bear the brunt of criticism and not the executive who is guilty only of accepting his boss's view of his value to the organization... but the soundbite doesn't carry the same if Obama was to blast 'Wall Street executives who pay their staff more than their staff deserves'.... does it?

Look, I am not defending the pay levels these people get... but at least I'm honest enough to admit that I don't have the details of what these people did to supposedly merit the pay they claim to have earned, so I don't know whether these pay levels are appropriate or not. But my long, long, long experience in business tells me that very few bosses pay their staff significantly more than is deserved... and even fewer do so when that undeserved pay lowers their own business unit's profitability.. and with it, their own performance-based compensation.