General Question

TheNakedHippie's avatar

Am I the only one in the country who isn't that upset about the Lehman Brothers CEO getting paid?

Asked by TheNakedHippie (470points) October 6th, 2008

Yes he has several homes that cost more than most people see in a lifetime, and yes he has all the multi-million dollar art and cars and yachts and all the fun toys. But someone gave a great analogy to think about today.

If you’re on the titanic, it’s sinking and you’re the only one who has one of those little rescue boats, are you going to give up your family’s spot on it to save someone else’s? Not to be morbid, but in the end when the chips are on the table, isn’t it always every man for himself?

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51 Answers

MrItty's avatar

That is not a great analogy. It’s actually an absolutely horrible analogy.

The guy on the titanic has nothing BUT the lifeboat. Without it, he and his family will die. It is him and his family against Joe Random Stranger and his family. Only one will make it.

The CEO, as you pointed out, has everything he needs. He has multiple homes, and more wealth than any one man should know what to do with. He does not need even a tiny percentage of the bailout. Other families, on the other hand, are losing their one and only home, and are suddenly finding themselves with NO money or assets of any kind. They need some financial assistance in order to survive.

fireside's avatar

I never had any doubt that the Lehman Brothers CEO would be taken care of

bodyhead's avatar

A better analogy would be that he’s on the Titanic and he’s got four lifeboats already. Instead of getting by with those four boats, he takes another lifeboat from the servants (working class people). He doesn’t need their boat.

Lets add to this analogy and say that it was his instruction that put the Titanic on a course with the iceberg in the first place. Under his direction the ship went down.

Yea, I’m a little bit peeved at working my ass off so he can get a sweet pension package. We are paying that money. It doesn’t come from the free money tree. When money is taken out my check every week, he sees a piece of that. That doesn’t upset you?

Bri_L's avatar

@bodyhead – that is a good analogy.


TheNakedHippie's avatar

@ Bodyhead: He’s not getting the money from the tax payers, he’s getting the money from the company. The bailout plan isn’t going to pay him, so it isn’t the tax payers.

We need to stop trying to find someone to crucify and just deal with our issues like we’re supposed to instead of wasting time trying to point fingers at somebody who has a small part in the whole problem we’re facing.

squirbel's avatar



That’s me, laughing at your addle-headed ideas of who isn’t a culprit.

Great analogy, @bodyhead. Lurve.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

What’s really funny is how people like you try to take a complex problem with many different parts and dumb it down to accuse one individual or a small group of individuals, while ignoring the root of the problem to begin with.

There’s no point in pointing fingers out of jealousy because his paycheck dwarfs yours. The fact of the matter is that this has been an issue looming for quite some time, well before he was ever in office.

squirbel's avatar

The paycheck is not the issue. Nor is anyone saying that one CEO is the sole culprit. We all know there are many who made these same choices – and we expect each to meet with consequences.

What the nation and public outcry is about is the fact that this one culprit is not being forced to meet the consequences of his choices.

There is an old proverb—“You reap what you sow.”

He is avoiding this timeless prophecy.

Bri_L's avatar

The company got the money due to its corrupt policies. Who determines those policies?

bodyhead's avatar

I’d like to see a link where it says that 0 taxpayer dollars will go to his salary. I can’t find anything on that. You make that claim. Back it up with a link.

When a plane crashes into a building due to the flight path, we generally blame the pilot.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

Back it up with a link that taxpayers will pay.

fireside's avatar

Where do you think the Treasury Department gets it money?

TheNakedHippie's avatar


Bri_L's avatar

Hehe. The treasury department gets their money from taxes we pay.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

Oh really? The treasury department gets its money from our taxes? Here’s a gold star and a cookie. Take your seat…

bodyhead's avatar

One of the reasons his company has no money is because he squandered it on executive bonuses while the company was failing as seen here.

We should replace that money?

bodyhead's avatar

Also here it shows the the CEO takes a hit under the bailout plan here which it is implied that he will be compensated based on the passing of the bailout plan.

Where are your links?

TheNakedHippie's avatar

The reason they went down is not because of the executive bonuses. They went down because they were heavy in sectors that were crunched.

squirbel's avatar

Government bailouts mean that the government is pulling from the treasury – and the treasury gets its money from the taxpayers. There is no private money in the government’s pot.



Must I continue?

bodyhead's avatar

Were are you getting your facts hippy? It sounds like someone who heard it from someone who listened to fox news filled you in on this.

bodyhead's avatar

Also of course they didn’t go down because of the bonuses. It just quickened the demise because he emptied out his funding with irresponsible bonuses and spending.

Maybe they would have asked for only 699 billion if he hand not done that. That 700 billion comes from the taxpayers.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

The fact is, nobody cared about the size of the severence packages several years ago. It’s only now that people want to complain about the fact that these packages weren’t regulated or capped in the past.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

I think we can agree that the root cause was not his paycheck.

bodyhead's avatar

We can agree the root cause wasn’t his paycheck but why would we want to reward him for irresponsible spending which is costing us money?

Two of my friends were downsized recently. They didn’t even do anything irresponsible. Do you mind sending them each a couple hundred dollars a week? Wait, you don’t want to do that? Well I don’t either. People loose their jobs all the time. Why is it now the taxpayers responsibility?

Bri_L's avatar

“The fact is, nobody cared about the size of the severence packages several years ago. It’s only now that people want to complain about the fact that these packages weren’t regulated or capped in the past.”


squirbel's avatar

No one believes that the paycheck is the problem that caused the meltdown – but the fact that they still received their paychecks when they FAILED is a problem.

In the real world, when you fock up you don’t get paid – you get FIRED.

As in, you suck at your job and making smart decisions, so no cookie for j00.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

@Bodyhead: He’s not being rewarded. He had a contract and it’s being fulfilled. If people had a problem with his contract, they should have addressed that when it was first written, not just after things have gone downhill.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

@Squirbel: Is the real world just the world that most people live in? Because in that case, you’re right.

MrItty's avatar

And he utterly failed to meet his side of the contract. Why should the other half be fulfilled with OUR money?

squirbel's avatar


No, the treasury department is bailing the company out of its isht-hole.

You seem to missing the major issue that the public outcry is about – it isn’t populist vs nobility. The issue is that the company made some stupid decisions, and was crotch-deep in the mortgage meltdown. They had more than just a single share in the culpability of this crisis.

They keep their houses, while the paupers cannot keep theirs…. and the paupers trusted them. This is the public outcry. The government is willing to bail the company out of bankruptcy. That means the government is using the taxpayers dollars to bail this company out of bankruptcy.

Read my words carefully – the taxpayers lost their homes – and are also paying to get the company that screwed them over out of trouble.

Read. My. Words. Very. Carefully.

You need to understand the issues at hand before arguing a point – you are making a fool of yourself.

bodyhead's avatar

If his contract had nothing to do with the way he ran the company in the ground then why wasn’t he out playing golf every day?

I didn’t sign that contract. Why do I have to pay his salary? Did you sign anything?

TheNakedHippie's avatar

You obviously don’t understand what the contract is. It has nothing to do with what he does or does not do, it has to do with the fact that he accepted the position. And by accepting the position, he accepted the possibility of a barrage of insults and accusations from people.

squirbel's avatar

If anyone responds past this point they are feeding a troll who does not read, or understand the public issues. Do not waste your time.

bodyhead's avatar

I don’t understand contracts. You’re right. I’m going to go back to work because I’m obviously the idiot in this thread.

MrItty's avatar

BWAHAHAHAH. Hippie, you’re hilarious. In your world, you can sign a contract to accept a position, then do absolutely nothing for the rest of your life, but because you signed the contract stating that you WOULD do the work correctly, they have to pay you? Really?

Ahhh. Thanks for the laugh. I needed that.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

@Squirbel: Listen, I agree that the government should not bail the company out. I’m not arguing that. But as for his contract, don’t bitch on Monday about the results of Sunday.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

HAHAHAHA, Go back to work? It sounds like you’ve gotten paid for the last hour of arguing with a hippie. But I guess you only make about ten bucks an hour, so who’s noticing anyway? ;]

Bri_L's avatar

How about this.

His contract including his salary which was composed of a base pay as well as benifits and STOCK OPTIONS and BONUSES depending on how well the company does under his guidance was fulfilled.

But that contract should be void as his company was not operating properly. His earning are directly tied to how the company does. He guides the company, wrongfully so. The majority of his earnings are from forms of earnings like stock and bonuses as a byproduct of missdealings.

Contract null and void.

see him at the soup line.

Malakai's avatar

Personal attacks are always the last resort of those who know they don’t have a leg to stand on…

This thread is ridiculous.

Bri_L's avatar

I understand her point to a point.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

If you read the thread from the beginning, you’d understand the attacks have been going on from the start from both sides.

Bri_L's avatar

It isn’t that i have a problem with rich. I am jealous. I can admit that.

but truth be told, I believe his riches came through a contract that was honored while overseeing a company that was predatorily run unjustly increasing that wealth. Now, we have to suffer and pay while he lives in that lifestyle.

That chaps my hide.

fireside's avatar

What bothers me is that they were handing out executive bonuses while at the same time asking the government to bail them out. Even though the government balked, their intent was that tax payers would foot the bill.

Now they just shrug and say, well, there isn’t enough money for everyone to get some.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

Bri_L: That’s the first good argument I’ve seen yet.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

In case anyone wants to voice their opinion elsewhere after this thread ends, I just stuck it in my blog in case any non-flutherers are being encouraged to send their anger to me. ;]

Bri_L's avatar

I have another one that involves elves.

I think I will quit now though.

marinelife's avatar

I was just talking about the issue of executive compensation in this country today. It has gotten insanely out of hand in terms of the multipliers of what CEOs and CFOs make compared to average employees.

You are incorrect that the outcry is only now. There has long been an awareness of this as a worsening problem. I am hoping that this financial crisis will be the leverage needed to make the changes that should have been made years ago.

Here is the thing. If you are compensating a CEO outlandishly as a way for him or her to participate in the upside, because you contend that they are primarily responsible for the company’s success, then the CEO’s compensation has to be, to some extent, performance-based. Probably it should be a base (plus a reasonable severance if the CEO is not fired for cause) with additional monies or stock dependent on performance. The way things are now, it seems like robbing the shareholders.

The obscenity of passing out executive bonuses as your poor investment decisions drove a more than 100-year-old company into the ground speaks for itself. If I were a sharholder, I would take those executives to court. I think there is every chance that money is recoverable. Beyond that, to do so, when you know you have destroyed the retirement resources of all of your employees is sickenly unethical and immoral and should be illegal.

I have to say, TNH, that I would not want to be on a boat or in a boardroom with you. Further, your support for every man or woman for themselves is so not what being a hippie was about.

TheNakedHippie's avatar

I completely agree with your approach to CEO pay, and though I don’t necessarily condone “every one for himself,” I don’t think we have a society that promotes the other. As for awareness of these issues in the past, awareness is only 10% of the solution. The rest is action.

You say that if you were a shareholder, you would bring these people to court. I say, become a shareholder of companies participating in unbalanced CEO compensation and take them to court. The fact that we’re complaining about events that were in the past just because now they hit our wallets, is the real issue that I see.

I don’t condone the activity, but I don’t agree with crucifying what is really the result of inactivity.

augustlan's avatar

After reading this entire thread, I must conclude that: Yes, you are the only one.

Malakai's avatar

@ hippie—Gee I never thought to actually “read the thread from the beginning.” Thanks for the tip.

If personal attacks were coming from both sides, why assume I was talking to you?

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