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G-20 Acting Against Excessive Pay

But how realistic is it?

In Michael Moore’s newest documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story, the controversial filmmaker arrives in front of Goldman Sachs carrying a white sack with a dollar sign on it. Moore demands he be allowed to collect the TARP funds the bank received from the government… When it comes to staging antics to garner early buzz for films, Michael Moore outdoes even Sacha Baron-Cohen. He wins over Borat and Bruno combined.

Moore should have waited for the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh – to learn the member countries have made seminal proposals that intend to curb excessive corporate compensation to top executives. BusinessWeek writes, “… Wrapping up a daylong meeting in Pittsburgh, the Group of 20 issued a lengthy statement that, in part, called on member countries and financial firms to end multiyear guaranteed bonuses; pay out ‘a significant portion’ of variable pay over time, tying it to performance and making it vulnerable to forfeit under various conditions; and disclose more information about corporate pay policies.

It also called on member countries to give regulators the ability to review pay at financial firms and impose higher capital requirements or other ‘corrective measures’ where compensation practices increase the risk to a firm or financial system. They should also be able to change pay practices when firms fail or the government must intervene.”

This sounds too ambitious. How can we even enforce such rules, when private enterprises have their innovative ways of circumventing? In fact, the last recommendation of changing pay practices seems very inapplicable to our condition. It’s possible to hear accusations of socialistic governance when the government reins on our free market.

Perhaps, Moore’s heading back to Wall Street to collect his share again.

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