Aaargh NUMBERS ARE CONFUSING. This morning we have two (2) bits of information regarding what will happen to America’s fabulously wealthy Wall Street executives if and when the stimulus bill becomes a law. But it is sort of complicated, and who knows, these provisions seem to change by the hour, so do not be shocked if the stimulus bill comes out of committee with a brand-new stipulation that bank CEOs get a $15,000 tax credit for their first dozen concubines as long as those concubines are returned in original condition by December 31. Otherwise, everyone gets executed by Dick Cheney.
(You know what? Just give up. Just go look at this wonderful YouTube of an Australian fireman giving a koala some water instead. It will make your heart melt and it will spontaneously impregnate you with a brood of koala/pirate hybrids, tax-free.)
So here are two provisions that work to seemingly opposite ends:
- A bonus clawback that would require companies that already received bailout funds and who paid their executives more than $100,000 each in bonuses to either return the amounts in excess of $100,000 or pay a 35% excise tax on those amounts. Eat the rich!
- A rumored removal of executive pay caps from the stimulus bill. Stay with us here: the idea is that, if executives don’t make tens of millions of dollars a year, the Treasury will be deprived of a projected $10.8 billion in tax revenues over the next decade. We have to give them more money so that we can get more out of them. So far Harry Reid and Max Baucus, the chairman of the Senate finance committee, haven’t come out and vehemently denied that pay caps might be done away with, so we can just conclude that this is a done deal. Feed the rich!
In sum, it sounds like all those poor bastards who can’t get by on $500,000 a year won’t have to. All they will have to do is restructure their compensation packages so that they get all their old bonus money rolled into regular salaries, and settle for a wee $99,999 of walking around money at the end of the year.