Ben Was Here

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A Limo Ride to the Soup Kitchen

CNN reported that the Big Three auto CEOs flew in private jets to ask beg the government for money. While this would normally be no big deal, today it is a symbol of the executive excess that has helped put us in our current state. This is not the only example of executive arrogance, however. There was the AIG golf and spa retreat days after the government gave them $120 billion. In both cases (and many like them), when confronted about it they say “we deserve it.”

What happened to leadership being responsible for their company? I know many small business owners who, if faced with less income and hard times, would go without pay in order to pay their employees. And these are not wealthy people, they are blue collar, like their employees. If you are willing to take the lion’s share in the good times, you should be willing to take some blame in the bad times.

Now it may not be possible to save GM or AIG simply by executive pay cuts, but it would be nice to see an executive make a symbolic gesture like taking a pay cut (or giving some back) or flying commercial when traveling to Washington to ask for money.

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