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Americans: restrict their pay

New federal rules on compensation at companies that accepted bailout money are likely to get a warm public reception: in a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, more than seven in 10 Americans say they support such limits, most of them "strongly" so.

The new restrictions, as reported by the New York Times, would target companies receiving the most largess and force severe cuts in executive pay.

In the Post-ABC poll, support for federal limits on the salaries and other compensation of top executives at companies receiving emergency federal loans in the past year spans party lines. Nearly eight in 10 Democrats back the idea (79 percent support, 68 percent "strongly), as do seven in 10 independents (56 percent strongly) and more than six in 10 Republicans (62 percent support, 49 percent strongly).

Q. Would you support or oppose the federal government putting limits on the salaries and other compensation that can be paid to top executives at the companies that received emergency government loans in the past year?
Support NET: 71; Oppose NET: 27


SOURCE: Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted Oct. 15-18 among a random national sample of 1,004 adults. The results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points.

By Jon Cohen  |  October 21, 2009; 3:13 PM ET
Categories:  Post Polls  
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An article in last week's New York Time's reported that 2/3 of growth in the GNP in the last 10 years was in incomes in the financial sector. I do not pretend to be an economist but I have to wonder about unintended consequences when the feds begin to restrict such incomes though I feel the same gut level, visceral response as the 70% of those who support such action.

Posted by: jamesh1 | October 21, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Why should those who brought us to the brink of financial ruin be raking in huge bonuses and compensation packages? I do not understand this concept. This is especially true if "we the people" through our governing processes helped them to get through the mess that they created. Greed is one of the seven deadly sins, and now I know why. Apparently arrogance and a sense of entitlement should also be included with greed in the list of sins committed by our financial gurus.

Posted by: chlind | October 21, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

All of a sudden it seems as if the entire world has been tilted on its ear!

Posted by: Tomcat3 | October 21, 2009 4:24 PM | Report abuse

I say also pay off all the student loans for doctors and quit trying to pay them like kings and queens so they can afford their royal lifestyles.

Posted by: GaiasChild | October 21, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Highly doubt you'll see many of these salary restricted types at these firms 12 months from now. They knew this was coming, and have already networked themselves a good job somewhere else.

When most people in Congress can't even explain what a credit default swap is, or how the market is affected by dark pools or derivatives, it's going to be interesting to see who shows up to run these companies at $200K per year, with that limit just the opening shot.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | October 21, 2009 4:55 PM | Report abuse

We don't need rules like this. We already have a better system - taxes. Let's remove any ceiling on income taxes, increase luxury and estate taxes and do a better job of making sure that people PAY their taxes as they should by law. Good intention with this but bad method.

Posted by: pezdrake | October 21, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Oh boy, another crooked Washington Post-ABC News poll. Gee, it says just what administration wants, just when the administration needs it. Go figure.

The collusion between the White House and the WaPo seems a lot like the Kremlin and Pravda during the days sof the Soviet Union.

Be Afraid, be very afraid.

Posted by: tharper1 | October 21, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Anybody who defends the oscenely huge salaries or compansations of the corporate executives are fools who look for human idols to worship. Their "talents" do not justify the ridiculously high compensations, when they have literally hundreds, if not thousands, of workers under them who do the bulk of real works, for far less. They failed their duties to properly oversee and prevent the overly risky business activities by their companies, because they cared first and foremost about increasing their own stock values and bonuses, on top of their already huge salaries. They should be tried and convicted as white-collar criminals, like the Enron executives.

Posted by: TalkingHead1 | October 21, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Aw, poor babies. How will they afford that penthouse, the regular 8 bedroom place in Greenwich, the place in Aspen and the private jet --it's all so unfair, having brought the world to depression, getting bailed out and then expecting a 50million dollar payout the same year as the bail out.

Tough. Deal with it, o Masters of the Universe.

Posted by: kinoworks | October 21, 2009 5:36 PM | Report abuse

All of a sudden it seems as if the entire world has been tilted on its ear!

Posted by: Tomcat3 | October 21, 2009 4:24 PM


You have hit the nail on the HEAD, sometimes I think it turned upside down.

I am a 62 yrs old Democrat & I have never been afraid of the future,until now because of all the changes that are being made to our lives, our money,the slow defense decisions, trying to CONTROL SALARY'S, taking over Car Mfg & Banking Industries, Constant turmoil, Constant Campaigning, the threats to anyone that does not agree with the POLICIES that are made, no transparency & not getting rid of Lobbyists as promised, not sending new troupes to Afghan or bringing the ones there home before they are all killed, his releasing info & pictures about Getmo while we are still at war with the same Terrorist knowing that the Terrorist would only become more incensed(should have been tried for TREASON), Putting taxes on all items that we need to live, (knowing that every company taxed more will pass the cost on to all Americans), trying to pass a CAP & TAX oops CAP & TRADE Bill that will cause everything to go up again, (the Electric Bill will increase by 40% so says the Electric Companies), Doubling the deficit, Whining, the hiring of communist,tax cheats, & left wing nuts that surround him, saying he knew nothing about how much money the government was giving to ACORN,(he worked for them), paying ACORN 800,000 thousand dollars during the campaigning to sign up people that are dead, UNION thugs that were told to disrupt or deny entry to the Health Health care meetings but they also hurt people at the rallies(like beating a Republican black gentleman or bitting part of a finger off another man), Creating more Government agencies knowing that this Country is dead broke and owe so much Dept that it will take us 30 to 60 yrs to pay the Dept off.

Good Grief this list could go on forever

The reason some people do not Cares about problems like federal rules on compensation they are to busy waiting for the free MONEY that they thing is going to be given to them.

Posted by: wildfire1946 | October 21, 2009 7:47 PM | Report abuse

I think we're doing this the hard way. Let's just have an 80% tax on compensation over $500,000. Let companies do the adjustments themselves. And while we're at it, how about if they continue to pay their fair share of FICA and FUTA?

Posted by: drgwbob1 | October 22, 2009 8:04 AM | Report abuse

Here's a thought. Instead of retention bonuses for all of those valuable people at AIG, how about not? They all walk off in a miff and join their bank accounts in the Cayman Islands, and we fill their empty positions with capable financial people who have been laid off. Why wouldn't we do this? Because the people who run these companies don't want the curtain pulled back on themselves. The true talent being protected with these retention bonuses is organized thievery.

Posted by: drgwbob1 | October 22, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

Thank you for reporting the news objectively. I do not understand how these executives or those in any other industry can be worth the compensation they receive. Corporations in all other countries of the world pay top executives a fraction what ours receive. The first comment implying lowering their pay would have effected 2/3 of our GDP is misleading. Since the outrageous pay would have gone into the corporate profits and would have allowed investment in productive assets such as real estate and equipment that would have stimulated other industries and contribute positively to a lasting economy such as infrastructure and research.
I emphatically support this pay reduction and believe we should change corporate structure laws to make corporate boards stay out of bed with the high corporate executives they put in place and hold them more accountable.

Posted by: stonebraker | October 22, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

@ Jamesh1.

That 70% should be alarming to anyone who is concerned ab out our national well-being.
Unless someone can show me what value to our economy that 70% represents, then I would have to describe it as parasitism.
No wonder median family incomes are falling, and foreclosures are rising. As one member of the public so pointedly asked Obama during an election rally last year:
"If America is the richest nation on the planet, how come I can't afford to live here any more?"

The financial sector of our economy is out of control, and has been since the 1980s. It is sucking the life blood out of our economy, making both our private lives and our business lives less secure, and starving capital from those sectors of our economy that need it the most.
We are investing less and less in both research and development, and also in maintaining our existing infrastructure. Declining median incomes also mean that there is less and less buying power to support our consumer-driven economy.
Personal and private debt has quadrupled in real terms also since the 1980s.
Kevin Phillips, in his book "American Theocracy" not only cites these very same figures, but also historical precedence to show how the trend from manufacturing to mercantalism precedes the decline of each great civilization since Roman times.
These grotesque salaries and bonuses are merely the symptom of a much deeper malaise in our economic life that is eating away at the heart of our civilization.

Posted by: jimmywitz | October 26, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Now let me get this straight... The Feds threaten a bank (BOA) if they don't buy a bank saddled with toxic debt (loans on over inflated property $$$ in inner cities & suburban strip malls); then refuses them to get out from under their thumb by paying off the loans. This Administration doesn't give a darn about the solving the banking crisis; they only want to keep the pot of public opiniion boiling (and peoples eyes off their failed/failing policies). Most of the highly paid people @ BOA Citi etc. have flown the coup for greener pastures. As a long time blue dog democrat I find myself now squarely in the Republican Camp on this one. Dems get ready for a shelacking in the next election.

Posted by: thehiker | October 27, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

The well being of our Country can only and will only be accomplished in all sectors when laws created show: Justice, Equality and Patriotism. Politicians at all levels should display first "Examples, Sacrificing and Submitting to the same laws they pass." Stop regulating the citizens and start regulating all businesses alike, with special emphasis on the Insurance Industry, Oil Companies and Pharmaceutical Companies."
They are all Industries for profit, which I do not condemn other then they do not earn their money legally or fairly. Profits should not be made at the expense of lives and poverty.
Why has it been claimed thus far that Washington as a whole cannot control the rules of the insurances? When have they become a Federal Agency protected by the Constitution of the US?

Posted by: sirmio99 | October 28, 2009 9:57 AM | Report abuse

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