Stock Options, Politics and Bully Pulpits

Alright, we need to talk about this bailout stuff.

Again.

In speaking to someone whose political views I greatly respect (ok, ok- it was my daddy), I learned that perhaps President Obama knew exactly what he was doing  when he recently announced that the regulations he plans to put in place on what’s left of the $700 billion bailout funds would not apply to executive salaries.

When I originally heard that Obama had no plans to restrict the irresponsible spending of the executive recipients of the bailout money, I blew a gasket, as evidenced here.

Now I’m beginning to wonder… things are not always as they seem, right?

Perhaps Obama knew exactly what he was doing… maybe it’s all part of  a plan, something entirely different than what I originally assumed.

The more I think about this situation (and keep in mind that I am no financial analyst), the more I wonder if it would even be possible to truly restrict- through legislation- the reckless spending on Wall Street.

On its surface, it seems that yes, this would be more than possible… simple, even… to accomplish…

… But then I look back on all those finance and accounting classes from college and begin to wonder if doing so would actually be downright impossible.

Yes, one can legislate things like salary increases and salary caps- say, for example, that no employee of any recipient of government bailouts can make more than (fill in the blank) dollars per year.

Unfortunately, however, that would only restrict a tiny portion of what actually goes into these folks’ pockets. How do you legislate such things as stock options, warrants (similar to stock options, warrants give a person the option- but does not obligate them- to buy an underlying security at a certain price and quantity at a future time), and countless other perks?

A good accountant- any CPA worth their salt- could easily find loopholes around the legislation… therefore allowing these bigwigs to continue taking home millions upon millions of dollars- while never once breaking the law.

I am reminded of the Big 3 auto makers, and their offer to congress last year to accept a salary of $1 per year in exchange for bailout funds for their companies. What they didn’t tell us was that they would still make 90% of the money they always made because stock options and bonuses are not part of one’s flat salary… but they do often comprise the bulk of an executive’s take-home pay.

Next, I began thinking about Missouri Representative Claire McCaskill, and her recent- very public- comments, directed at the irresponsible jackasses on Wall Street.

For those who don’t recall, McCaskill went on record calling them all a bunch of idiots.

Were those comments merely the spur-of-the-moment rantings of a politician losing her temper?

Or were they very orchestrated comments, planned meticulously by the Obama administration, as a means to fully utilize the bully pulpit?

A bully pulpit, for those unaware, was originally perfected by Theodore Roosevelt, and simply means that high-ranking officials can use the platform of the White House as a means to advance one’s agenda. Simply put, politicians make use of a bully pulpit to put a bug in the public’s ear… it’s a great way to put an idea in the general public’s mind without having to go through a bunch of b.s. redtape in the process.

The way I see it, Obama knows he cannot successfully reign in the spending of Wall Street bigwigs by simply using a political platform. He can’t sign an executive order, or pass a bill in Congress to accomplish this goal because there are too many loopholes that people would be able use to continue their fatcat ways.

So he is instead turning the entire issue over to the court of public opinion- the little people like you and me- knowing full well that as the reality of the financial sector’s shenanigans begin to really sink in, we are going to get PISSED.

I know I got mad as hell… as did millions of others…

It was all part of the plan.

We, as consumers, as regular ol’ citizens of this country, possess way more power in this situation than Congress ever had.

Not only can we take such action as boycotting Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, CitiGroup and all the others… but we can make it known to these CEOs that we are watching them, and we are not happy about what we’re seeing.

With that in mind, these bigwig jerks, knowing we are paying extremely close attention to their every move, will have no choice but to watch their step and curb their behavior… if they want to stay in business, that is.

Obama, I have learned, does nothing by accident.

I believe he knows damn good and well what he’s doing here, and quite frankly, the more I think about it, the more I realize…

This man is a genius.

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5 thoughts on “Stock Options, Politics and Bully Pulpits

  1. Nice job. I love it how you’re able to take a thought, make connections with a number of other sources and develop into a complete argument.
    PS I fully agree — #44 is a genius!

  2. Here’s an interesting ‘political philosophy’ that Cantor & Boehner can’t blame on Obama and their Democratic colleagues. Pray this, you fundy Christians!

    The bread that you possess belongs to the hungry. The clothes that you store in boxes, belong to the naked. The shoes rotting by you, belong to the bare-foot. The money that you hide belongs to anyone in need.

    – Saint Basil,
    fourth century theologian and monastic

  3. I agree that you should help those in need. You are quoting a 4th century theologian as if that gives the government the authority to decide what you need. In that case, give me your car, give me all but 2 sets of your cloths, give me your washer and dryer, give me your radio and television, give me your house and all the extra food in your pantry. You are waisting your money, I’ll keep your paycheck and leave enough to buy food and the basics that I determine you need. I will give you what you need.
    Here is a new job for you. It is close so you don’t need your car. You don’t need all those cloths, you’ll wear one set and wash the other, we issued you work cloths to wear. You waisted money on a washer and dryer, since you only have 2 sets, you can wash them by hand. I’ll give it to someone who needs it. Radio and television is a waist of your pay check, you will get a paper with everything you need to know. You don’t need such a large apartment or house, here is a smaller one and I will put a larger family in yours. Why do you have so much food in your pantry, I’ll give you exactly what you need and give the rest to those in need.
    It is the right thing to do to help others. Taxes are to keep the Government operating efficiently not to take and give to others. The government’s role is to protect you from enemies who wish you harm, not protect you from life and God’s will.
    So he said to them, “Then give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
    We established this government with limitations to establish what is the Governments and what is ours. Only you the people have the authority to grant the Government more than what is theirs. If you do this, know that the government will take all that you grant. Don’t think that the Government will look at your case individually and determine what you need out of fairness. Once the door is open you have no say. As a Christian it is your obligation to help those in need. If you give the Government the authority to take from others to give to those in need, the gov will take not only from those that you think are not giving, it will take from you even if you have given everything you can. If God ask you to give up everything in your life for his purpose, you should be able to do this. I must warn you of the danger in giving the Government this power. The Government will not ask you to give up everything, you have no choice. You will give up everything the government ask for and you will have no say.

  4. Spiritually as a Christian I feel it is my duty to help those in need. If I fail to do this I feel I will be judged for this. I also understand that my capacity to help others in material matters is related to my success and gains in those same manners. Bill Gates has given more money to charities than any other human alive today. Could he give more? We could take everything from him in one day and give it all away, after that day he won’t be able to give any more. It will help a lot of people, or we can let him give of his own free will for the rest of his life and he will help thousands more than if we took it all from him.

    The key to giving is exactly that one word, giving. Taking from one to give to another only helps in the short term. Have companies been greedy? You bet they have and they are paying for it today. Or should I say we are. People have also been greedy in living beyond their means, we are paying for that to.

    Part of this housing crises was caused by people feeling that they are entitled to a house. Not everyone can afford a house, this is life.

    Once a Democratic State realizes they can vote themselves the treasury , the Government will fall. Those days are here now.

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