Barack Obama has ordered that top executives at banks who receive exceptional assistance from the U.S. Treasury be limited to half a million bucks per year in compensation.
We the people are meant to be comforted by this. Our country's resources have been funneled down the sinks of failed businesses, but fear not. Those who manage the absolute worst of the worst will have salary caps.
At present, this edict would apply to 15 people at three institutions: AIG, Bank of America, and Citigroup.
It's been almost a year now since the Federal Reserve signed us all up to lend $29 billion to JP Morgan Chase against the worst collateral in the history of lending. That ominous beginning to the government takeover of the financial industry has mushroomed into a debacle that gets worse every day.
And we are to believe that the Fed's actions last March were not "exceptional."
Nor have bailouts of failed automakers been exceptional.
Nor have uncollateralized loans of 10 and 25 billion dollars been exceptional.
This most recent action is mostly meaningless. On Monday Obama will trot his treasury chief out to tell us that more must be done. Still greater resources must be thrown at failed banks. There is no other choice. We must suck it up.
When we complain and express disgust that they are taking from the relatively poor masses to give to the rich, not just any rich but those particular rich who have put their incompetence on display for all to see, they'll tell us it's okay because Ken Lewis is only getting $500,000.
This act is just the latest in a long series of reactions by people who have no clue what they are doing. They offer poison for food, then give poison as the antidote.
When Monday's "comprehensive" plan meets inevitable failure, they'll react again. Perhaps the next bailout will be called The Exceptional Bailout.
You get what you vote for.