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I saw an interview with Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, & Co. He said his company responded to the public outrage about executive compensation by converting a greater percentage of executive pay from base salary into stock incentives.

It all sounded reasonable until I remembered that their current stock price is about half of its previous high. So depending how those stock options are priced, the executives stand to reap huge rewards for doing nothing but showing up for work while the overall economy rights itself. And the best part is that they're selling this concept as a sacrifice. It's all very Dogbertian.

This reminds me why my first career direction out of college was banking. I wanted to learn how to pat someone on the back and rifle through his wallet at the same time. Unfortunately my banking career ended when my boss called me in her office and explained that the media was giving our bank a hard time for having so few women or minorities in senior management. She explained that promoting me would just make things worse. So I jumped ship to work for the local phone company, and finished my MBA a night, only to get the identical message from my new boss. Once it became inescapably clear that my efforts and my rewards were not linked, I became a cartoonist. It was the only job I could imagine where absurdity was compensated.
 
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Apr 14, 2009
Hi,

The above thought is smart and doesn’t require any further addition. It’s perfect thought from my side.

Helen

<a href=http://www.drug-intervention.com/new-mexico-drug-intervention.html>Drug Intervention New Mexico</a>
 
 
Apr 12, 2009
Sunday strip:

Dogbert: It's simple. I take your money and then use math to turn it into my money while destroying the overall economy.

CEO: Is that legall?

Dogbert: More so than you'd think.

vs. Lautreamont's Maldoror (where the joke is the author is variously cast in the role of a wildly evil character and the reader as his innocent victim, while at the same time performing exactly that trick):

Maldoror (to child): ... If one of your playmates were to harm you, wouldn't you be happy to kill him?

Child: But that's forbidden.

Maldoror: Not as forbidden as you believe.

(see Lykiard translation p.45, eg.)
 
 
Apr 4, 2009
scott,

i'm sorry you have experienced affirmative action as a white male. i had no idea that leaders were so blind they would actually inform you that you were being discriminated against.

i think people understand affirmative action enough to walk on eggshells even if they aren't smart enough to recognize its institutionalized racism/sexism. i doubt (as many) managers would admit to bigotted reasons in today's world.
 
 
Apr 4, 2009
@humility rocks

you obviously took some time to think this thru, so i respect you for taking your position. i still disagree completely.

obama won the election for groups of reasons, not a single one. in my view, his skin color is the only reason he was considered by ANYBODY. he had no experience, and many skeletons in his closet. his is also an extremist. his politican views are more radical than all but about 10% of america.

during the election he moved to the center, as all candidates do. his 'charisma' is plain to see. these things don't make a good president, they win people over who are fascinated by shiny things.

the formula for winning elections has been discovered, and its not quality not correct governing ideas. hype makes america go 'round.

obama's race is as important a factor to his success as his 'charisma'. he had no accomplishments, experience, was a rookie senator, and said he was too inexperienced to run for pres in 2008. somehow he has the audacity to win.

the combination of trends to make him win were not about quality. much was driven by sheer hatred of bush. hope and change were not focused on any idea or action. it was just undirected raw emotionalism.

that cannot bode well for the next 4 years. now our govt is spending at an increased rate as we plunge further into a recession. wise leader or marxist?
 
 
Apr 4, 2009
Board members, shareholders, and compensation executives on the board have been mentioned several times on CNBC since President Obama gave his G20 press conference. My daughter who is an attorney was in a room full of executives in Mahattan a couple of weeks ago, hoping to support those who justify their compensation packages and bonuses in similar terms, that they deserve huge bonuses whether the company does well or not.

It never has been about rewarding shareholders, except that the largest non-institutional shareholders also happen to be board members. It takes more than guts, as Jim Cramer said, for the compensation executive to challenge the board.

Most of what is being said on this subject could have come out of Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged". There is no morality on the board. You can count on partisanship in Congress to pass laws that ensure that everyone is guilty of something, the party in power to enforce the law to their benefit, and the opposition party to keep the pressure on and make sure we know who the guilty are. As the President said, we all want to be rich.

Henry Ford said, "It is well enough that people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be a revolution before tomorrow morning."
 
 
Apr 2, 2009
Here is a moron detector for you. Find someone who uses the phrases "Reverse Discrimination" and "Reverse Racism".

WTF with that "reverse" modifier? That's not insulting nor unfair?
 
 
Apr 1, 2009
So, I'm not sure exactly what your point is, Scott, but what I read doesn't hang together. You, who are politically correct to a fault, are actually complaining because you were discriminated against in the job market? And at the same time, you say that executives whose job it is to drive business to reward their shareholders and their fellow employees should be ashamed when they are paid incentive pay, which they have been promised contractually, denied to them because you or others of your ilk think they shouldn't have it?

What's wrong with being paid for the work you do? You !$%*! about having had to pick a job (cartooning) where you can get paid based upon the perceived value of what you do, but tell others they shouldn't get the same thing within a corporate environment? Your inconsistencies are staggering.

Who are you, or anyone outside of the businesses, boards and stockholders, to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't get paid? And you whine that stock based compensation is somehow bad, because when the economy recovers, they'll get money for doing "nothing" other than their jobs? Did you, on your way to receiving your degree in economics, ever have to analyze the performance of the stock market? Did you not notice that not every stock goes up when the general market goes up? Or that companies go out of business even in a bull market?

What Mr. Dimon was saying is that he's changing his executives' incentive compensation from compensating individuals on their performance to compensating them based on the performance of the company as a whole. And you have a problem with that, why? Your compensation is based on the performance of your cartoon series and the number of newspapers that run it. Would you think its fairer if the government came in and said that your compensation would now be based on the overall performance of the United Feature Syndicate? Or if president Obama decided that, after he bailed out UFS, that he would now set every cartoonist's pay at $25,000 per year? After all, cartooning isn't a "green" job, since it's published in newspapers that destroy trees to print their daily editions!

What kind of incentive would you have then, Scott, to do your best work, if it didn't matter whether Dilbert sucked or not to how much you earn? You closet socialists are always pretending that what's OK for others should never be applied to you. It's like the government and universal health care - you think those politicians are going to wait in line for two years to get a hip replacement, only to have it done by a hack doctor whose degree came from the Medical School of the Bahamas, because they're the only ones who will work for what the government will pay? Hell, no, the politicians are going to Walter Reed, where they'll get the best medical care in the world.

It's all well and good when you're telling someone else how they should live or how much they should get paid. But when it happens to you, it somehow doesn't seem as fair, does it?

It's time for you to rejoin the real world, and start thinking before you start writing.
 
 
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Mar 31, 2009
"my efforts and my rewards were not linked"

That is so true.

I once single-handedly saved a multi-million-dollar radar system upgrade project, but my work was not recognized. Instead, I was labeled as a worthless do-nothing because I have boobies. I had to fight twice as hard for my doctorate because I have boobies. My last boss thought he could low-ball me in salary and leave because I have boobies. For this job, I posted my resume using my initials only, forcing potential employers to judge me on my merits rather than my sex. I now have a great job working for fellow women who "get it."

I think perhaps that, for the first time in my 20 career as an electrical engineer, my efforts and my rewards may indeed be linked.

 
 
Mar 31, 2009
Bankers, shmankers. Don't you have anything to say about the finale of Battlestar Galactica?!?!??
 
 
Mar 31, 2009
Politician is the other.
 
 
Mar 31, 2009
Instead of quitting to become a cartoonist, you should have blacked-up and dressed in drag. It may not have improved your career prospects, but it would have made a wonderful premise for an appallingly offensive and misjudged “Big Momma Doubtfire" style screwball comedy.
 
 
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Mar 31, 2009
Unemployment is a growing concern and for good reason. The unemployment rate has hit levels not seen in decades, and a lot of people can't even get an installment loan to keep them afloat until they can gain new employment. Growing contingents of economists are predicting 10% unemployment by the end of this economic crisis; several states are already there. California, Michigan, Rhode Island and South Carolina have all hit 10% thus far in the recession, with Oregon and North Carolina about to cross that threshold. (Wyoming has it good – the sole state under 4 %.) Many companies struggle, and more people file for benefits every day. Let's hope the the good predictions are correct we'll see a drop in <a rev="vote for" title="Can an Installment Loan Help a Struggling Company?" href="http://personalmoneystore.com/moneyblog/2009/03/25/installment-loan-struggling-company/">unemployment</a> in 2010.
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 30, 2009
Scott said, "It (cartoonist) was the only job I could imagine where absurdity was compensated."

How things have changed, Scott. You would have so many more choices today. Here is a tiny sample ...

Insurance Broker: Make vast amounts of money selling a product, one that nobody understands, to people who would rather be eviscerated with a rusty butter knife than speak to an insurance salesperson, let alone actually buy insurance. But we have to speak to insurance salespersons, and buy their incomprehensible products, because the bank requires evidence of insurance -- as a completely ineffective backstop for their ill conceived (and largely incomprehensible) loan underwriting practices.

Commodity Broker: Make vast amounts of money speculating on the future price of things like potash, thereby altering the future price of potash and driving another round of price speculation on potash. All of this without having the slightest idea of what in hell potash might be or whether it should be smoked or added to your mother's favourite chocolate brownie recipe.

Plastic Surgeon: Make vast amounts of money turning big noses into little noses, little breasts into big breasts, big chins into little chins, thin lips into fat lips and, if you can stomach it, carving thousands pounds of hideous blubber off from the loins of hideously fat people ... all within the hope that these 'patients' will one day graduate to other, more expense forms of recreational surgery ... such as having their genitals removed (or rebuilt for some other purpose).

Proctologist: Need I say more? ;-)

Webster
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 30, 2009
The problem with stock options is there is no downside. How about a stock option where the holder has to pay money back if the company does poorly?
 
 
0 Rank Up Rank Down
Mar 30, 2009
"I remembered that their current stock price is about half of its previous high. So depending how those stock options are priced, the executives stand to reap huge rewards for doing nothing but showing up for work while the overall economy rights itself"

So how should executives be compensated then?
1.) Given a base salary which they will receive regardless of how well (or poorly) they, or the company, performs?
2.)Or paid in stock options (or stock) in which they only do well if the marketplace has deemed them successful and pushed up their stock price?
3.) ?
 
 
Mar 30, 2009
For a senior in high school who is having difficulty deciding what to major in and what career to pursue, I find this inspiring.
 
 
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Mar 30, 2009
Would it be such a bad thing if executive compensation was tied to the overall AND long-term profitability of a company? Seems to me it would be incentive for CEOs and other top-level types to play it straight, rather than be the first, richest rat off a sinking ship they may have had a hand in scuttling.
 
 
Mar 30, 2009
Reverse discrimination is still alive and well, especially in large companies, government institutions and agencies. Sign in window might as well read....... NO OLD, WHITE, CONSERVATIVE MALES NEED APPLY.
 
 
Mar 30, 2009
Here's how compensation for top level executives should work, but never will. The day that they are hired they are given a bunch of stock in the company, in addition to that they receive a modest salary similar to the mid to upper level management in the company. They receive no further stock options in the company, just what they got when they took the job. They are also not allowed to cash out their stocks until after they quit/retire/are fired, basically when they leave the company. This gives them the incentive to keep the company in good standing where the stock prices continue to climb. If the stock tanks and they are fired as a result they end up with next to nothing, but if the company does really well and they retire or change jobs then they get a nice large payout in reward for their services.
 
 
Mar 30, 2009
I had a similar problem when I starting looking for a career, all of the jobs that I was qualified for, in the field that I wanted to be in, I was told that since I was a white male, I had no chance in hell due to the forced hiring of women, minorities, and the disabled. This caused me to switch my focus, and look outside the box for the job opportunities that men would not normally try for. I am now in an office of 80 people, where women, minorities and the disabled make up 85% of the staff, making the same money and probably just as happy as I would have been in those other places. The fringe benefits should start paying off in about 3 years, and I should be able to retire in 20, so far things are working out. It feels good to be the minority.
 
 
 
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