Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Boorish Pay to Play's Cretin Sibling, Pay to Perform

America's business and government leaders need to be "paid" to do their job. Salary and benefits don't qualify as pay, more juice is needed. It could be:

1. Incentive compensation (bonus, stock, etc.)
2. Golden parachute
3. Cushy consulting arrangement
4. A high paying job in an affiliated nonprofit or think tank
5. Seat on a corporate board (or two)

Extrinsic motivators caused America's financial sector to package and sell junk. Commissions compounded with securitization fees. They crescendoed into magnanimous CEO incentive compensation. But the system blew up.

Investing is dead. People don't trust financial products or the institutions that offer them. Financial statements can look fine, while lurking off balance sheet are credit derivatives, capable of destroying a company overnight.

Pay to play politics, the Red version, expressed as K Street. The Blue team finds the Illinois governor running a bidding war for a U.S. Senate seat. Soon politics will be in the same place as Wall Street.

Due to poor leadership, whole markets have been destroyed. With a lack of trust, people quit investing. When will they quit voting? When will the system give us leaders willing to do good work for a fair day's pay, and no more? That's when America has a chance to recover. Otherwise, welcome to Pottersville.

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