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Say On Pay: Video Roundup

The House of Representatives Wednesday will very likely vote on legislation giving shareholders more say in executive compensation at publicly traded companies.

And that House vote --scheduled for late this afternoon -- has rekindled the debate over the govenrnment's role in the matter and whether anything can and should be done about soaring CEO pay.

Sarah Anderson, a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, and Stephen Moore, a member of the "Wall Street Journal" editorial board, squared off on "Morning Call" and found little common ground.

Anderson says "there is a role for government", calling the potential passage of the Shareholder Vote on Executive Compensation Act, a "first step." Anderson also cited "Huge loopholes" in the tax code that "companies are taking advantage of," including the deductibility of salaries. Anderson advocates limiting deductibility, which might discourage corporate largesse.

"I don't think Congress should be intervening," counters Moore, saying the matter should be left to shareholders. Moore rejected any notion of extra taxes on CEO pay as "punitive."

CEO pay reflects market forces, says Moore -- echoing a popular school of thought -- and there is "a high premium on talent" in the global economy.

He also likened CEO pay to that of star athletes, saying there's been no government efforts to regullate that.

The level of CEO is often linked to the performance of a company's stock. Studies have come to opposite conclusionsas to whether highl paid executives perform better than others, lifting company fortunes and stock prices.

Down in Fort Worth, Texas, there's nothing theoretical about pay and performance at AMR, the parent company of American Airlines. Union members have been staging protests over an estimated $200 million in stock bonus pay, which is expected to be doled out to nine senior managers later today.

AMR''s bottom line and stock performance have improved vastly since the company teetered on chapter 11 bankruptcy protection about four years ago. Unions at the time agreed to $1.8 billion in wage and benefit concessions, a move they contend has been critical to the company's improved fortunes.

As Mary Thompson reports, the unions say the "share the pain and gain" philosophy of the that time is not being honored years later; management should share some of the bonus money with the airlines' 50,000-odd union members, many of whom are still earning 2002 wages.

What's more, the union says the stock bonuses -- which have also created acrimony in the past -- will be a contract issue when talks begin next year.