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Is executive pay the government's business?

"Pay, no matter what job it is for, is and should be determined by the company policy makers. Our wonderful gov't should keep its long arms off." -- Randy S., Iowa

"Executive pay should become government business when business can dictate government pay! This seems more like a matter of bureaucrats being jealous of the benefits of 'private' enterprise." -- Rob, California

"Congress brought us the Alternative Minimum Tax, believed there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and acted surprised when subprime lending blew up. Why would anyone want them involved in setting anyone's pay??" -- Mitch H.

"Absolutely not! A person is worth whatever he makes and the government has no right to limit that person’s salary, compensation and other benefits." -- Bill G.

"Ideally, the government should not be involved, BUT if business will not control an executive's pay, someone should. The executive's salary is not out of control, typically in the 1-2 million per year. Bonuses and stock option grants have spiraled out of control. The grants are too large, occur too often and vest too soon." -- Dave E., Michigan

"Who exactly is supposed to keep their hands out of the cookie jar? As a shareholder (owner) I have no say. They seem to hand pick the Board, who are pretty well all old buddies as far as I can see. Judging from the outrageous amounts of compensation most of the CEO's are getting the sky is the limit. Yes the government should step in!!" -- Ronald R.

"Executive pay is not the governments business, period!" -- Todd, Virginia

"If the CEO is employed by private firm it should not be the government's business how much they make because the IRS already taxes them on their income. However, if the CEO is a government employee using tax payer dollars, there should be some kind of cap on salaries." -- Angela L., Iowa

"Because the CEOs are draining corporate America of investor’s assets with their massive perks, then government must step in and help stabilize the run-away greed." -- Joe W., Texas

more responses...

"Yes, if unemployment rates are a concern to the government, then when jobs or wages are cut while upper management gets a pay raise it should raise a red flag. We don't want a nation of 'haves' and 'havenots.' That creates strife, frustration and perpetuates 'welfare generations.' What's the point of putting many loyal years into a company, only to have your pay reduced or your job cut altogether while the CEO gets another million or two. It's truly absurd." -- Christina, Texas

"The government should answer to American's. Executives should be held accountable by the shareholders (if shareholders ever get enough guts to make a stand). A CEO with a $20 million pay package with your stock going down doesn't make any sense at all. WAKE UP!!!" -- Randy R., Kentucky

"It can be if stockholders are left out of the loop and the pay is based on a network of boards scratching each others back, or the mediation process is corrupted by giving generous offerings to make themselves attractive. In the worst case boards can become a sophisticated labor union." --
Ron L., Ohio

"Executive pay is only the government's business if the government is socialist. It's a good thing this country is capitalist ... or is it? It's hard to tell with liberals running Congress." -- David F., Wisconsin

"No, executive pay of private companies is not the government’s business; pay of government bureaucrats is the government’s business. Government should however keep track of the massive executive pay packages and tax their pay appropriately. On the flip side, I believe some of the executive pay packages for public companies is given with the implicit understanding that the executives who collect the huge payouts use their income to launder company campaign contributions - ditto for non-profits and foundations, which I believe need even more oversight. I wonder how many executive pay packages would be cut if their political donations were cut." -- Steve S.

"No, because if it is, then the company’s performance should also be the government’s business which means the end of free market capitalism and, and….." -- Peter D., South Carolina

"No it is not! Maybe the government's pay should be the executives business." -- Christopher W.

More Comments

"We are in the age of the imperial CEO. They have forgotten they are merely employees. The reward for doing a good job, should be that they get to keep their job, not a gigantic chunk of shareholder equity. Government definitely should put an end to deferred pay and excess benefit plans - tax breaks are definitely government business. Government should also decide which perks and compensation are, or are not, deductible. When top management help themselves to a sizable percentage of profits, or makes decisions that mainly benefit their own compensation packages, you can't call it capitalism. They are endangering the capitalistic economic system. Government can help correct a compensation system totally out of whack by requiring honest disclosure - including deferred pay, excess benefit plans, and perks - and by requiring that the owners of the companies - the shareholders - have some real say in corporate governance. And by making corporate top managers pay their fair share of taxes." -- Dorothy M.

"Executive pay is the government's business when it is a reflection of the days of the "Robber Barons." Many executives are getting excessive pay or exit packages when the workers at the same companies are getting laid off, losing health benefits or pensions, and not sharing in the benefits of their labor. It has always been amusing to me to see a host gushing over some executive, like his or her efforts alone turned a company around. Without the commitment, execution and long hours spent by the employees, the executives would be worthless. Their pay is disproportionate to their contribution. After all, aren't they given a salary reflective of their position? Why the other tens - or hundreds - of millions of dollars of bonus? If anyone believes they could not attract a first rate CEO with $10 million, and have to offer $100 million, they are crazy." -- Raymond M., North Carolina