Ben Was Here

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A Bonus? You Think You Deserve A Bonus?

Merrill Lynch CEO Jeff Thain thought he should get a bonus for 2008. A $10 million bonus. His reason – Merrill Lynch lost ONLY $11.67 BILLION dollars this year.

Thain has since withdrawn his request for a bonus, but the damage is done. He is the latest CEO to show how stupid he is and how stupid he thinks Americans are. He thought he  deserved this despite the sale of his company that will likely result in thousands of employees losing jobs. This is a prime example of the arrogance and greed that drove the world’s economy into its present state.

I think some of the $700 billion we put up to save these companies should be used to investigate the outrageous excesses taken by executives, current and former, of these banking giants and we should take some of that money back. Thain’s predecessor – who may have been more responsible for the fall of Merrill Lynch – left with over $160 million in stock options and retirement benefits (via Wikipedia).

This disgraceful trend of executives taking huge sums of money after failing miserably is not unique to the financial sector, however. Former heads of auto, airlines (an executive of Northwest Airlines got a severance package of over $20 million in 2007, after leading the company to bankrupcy), telecom and other industries should be giving some back too. That money will be put to better use heating someones home, or paying for an education than sitting in a bank account so a millionaire can count all the pretty zeros.

Alright, I’m off the soapbox… until another CEO does something stupid.

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