The American people have been reminded of corporate cluelessness a lot lately — the $18.4 billion in bonuses paid out by New York financial houses in a calamitous economy, the Super Bowl fan fest put on by Bank of America, the Palm Beach conference hosted by Morgan Stanley, the aborted plans of Wells Fargo to reward employees in Las Vegas.
They don’t get it, but now they might. Some critics inevitably will call this creeping socialism, but in fact Mr. Obama’s order does not go all that far. It does not apply to those institutions that have already received bailout funds, only to those that seek aid under the next phase.
... In the beggar class of financial institutions, senior executives will be limited to an annual salary of $500,000, which might seem a lot to most Americans but is not much by the standards of Wall Street. ...
But the new rules also will serve several beneficial purposes — discouraging any gold rush to get a bailout and striking a blow for ordinary Americans.