Wednesday, December 16, 2009

When Will The Pay Czar Step Up?

I have been asking myself this question as I put together a column for this weekend's Toledo Free Press. The more I thought about it, the more I got to wondering:
Why is the Pay Czar not stepping up to do his job?

Oh sure, we have the President meeting with banking executives to scold them over their salary and bonus programs, something which the government believes that it has the right to do because taxpayer money is involved. Where however, is the President and his adviser when it comes to acting as a watchdog for other citizen funded businesses?
  • Professional sports sees some rather large salaries being doled out in football, baseball, and basketball (hockey doesn't seem to rate such largess); while playing in stadiums and arenas funded by taxpayer dollars.
  • University presidents manage pretty lucrative salary packages for running"publicly funded" educational facilities, as do many of the coaches who guide their sports programs.
  • According to a USA Today article, employees paid by taxpayers in the Federal government making more than $100,000 per year has gone up from less than 2,000 to more than 10,000 in the period from 2007 to 2009.
  • Federal legislators in the House and the Senate receive lavish salaries and benefits, and a retirement program second to none; all taken from money extorted from the citizens of this country.
So where is the government when it comes to all of this? Is Kenneth Feinberg shirking his responsibilities as Pay Czar? Is the moralizing over salaries and bonuses only to be enforced on those organizations receiving TARP money, ignoring all other forms of taxpayer support? Can it be that "fat-cat bankers on Wall Street" as President Obama recently called them on '60 Minutes' are the only target in the sights of the Federal Government? 

While I disagree with the principle of a government regulating the contractual agreement between an employer and an employee, I disagree even more with such unjustified power being used arbitrarily. While I find no provision in the Constitution that allows the government to determine the salaries and bonuses of anyone, I find it disingenuous to apply it to 'fat-cat bankers' and not 'fat-cat athletes'; and I am especially upset that the Pay Czar ignores 'fat-cat' government bureaucrats. While I see this as abusing a fundamental principle of property (and therefore liberty), I wonder what standard is being used to decide who's compensation gets controlled. 

So while I deplore the very position that Kenneth Feinberg holds as one that is Unconstitutional in concept, I can't help but wonder when the Pay Czar will step up to address the rest of these rampantly abusive compensation packages for anyone working in areas funded in some part by taxpayer dollars.

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