Monday, February 23, 2009

Salary caps - good for the goose, good for the gander

"Good for the goose, good for the gander" is a saying I heard often from my mom & dad. I've been thinking a lot about the idea of salary caps and I have to say it bothers me.

The idea is that companies that take bail-out money (banks, auto companies, etc) would cap salaries of their CEO's etc at $500,000. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to admit that I would NOT be affected by this cap and probably won't be affected for at least the next 2-3 years.

But I got to wondering, if this is good for bank and auto CEO's, why not for other people? I saw this article that writes about two college presidents that make $900,000 and $1.4million. Seems like those colleges take scholarships handed out on the federal level, shouldn't they be capped also? (I'm ignoring the football coaches, as that will start a different argument).

More importantly, how about politicians? Well, the president is typically the highest-paid official, his salary is only $400,000. But if you tack on his expense account, travel account and entertainment account, he's over the cap at $569,000. Reckon President Obama can afford a $69,000 pay cut?

And how about past politicians? Remember, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. According to an April 2008 article, the Clintons made about $20million in 2007. Now since there's two of them, they would be capped at $500,00 each, so they get a cool $1million. Shouldn't they give $19million back to the government (in fairness, they did pay about $5.1million in taxes and typically gave around 10% to charity - that means they are only $12million away from this cap).

Let's not stop with education, business and politics. What about sports? Seems that Tiger Woods makes about $227million, LeBron James $40m and A-Rod $35m just to name a few. (thanks to Sports Illustrated for the reference). And if we look at the left coast (Hollywood), George Clooney rakes in $15m (paltry compared to Tom Cruise's $25m) according to

Once we dictate what CEO's can make, why not stop there? Why not establish salaries up and down the line? We're already dictating the minimum wage. It's the middle class that's left out of the picture.

Ok, my opinion should be clear, but just to be sure: I'm against salary caps.


4simpsons said...

The salary cap legislation is a wasteful joke. Companies know how to get around it, and politicians know the companies know how to get around it. It is just a bureaucratic show to try to get people to think the politicians are actually accomplishing something.

Brooke said...

Salary caps never work; a clever businessman can find a way around them and the common dude suffers.

I'm not holding my breath for politicians to take a pay cut... ;)

WomanHonorThyself said...

agreed!..hello my friend..and the beat goes on eh!...:) what will the future bring?:)

Randy said...

Neil, the sad thing is that the clanging gong sounds so good. Everyone wants to jump on then bandwagon and cap the salaries, when it will do absolutely no good. And the folks who promote it (who will still get their millions) are creating a class warfare.

I guess everyone needs an enemy. It should be a crime to try to create one.

I'm a little surprised that I didn't get some comments from my left-leaning friends.