Poll: Majority Says Bonuses for Bailed Out CEOs Unfair to Taxpayers - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine January-March 2019 Issue

NEWS_PollOption4For the seven companies that received a government bailout, there will be a little less in their stockings this holiday. Kenneth Feinberg, President Barack Obama’s pay czar, began slashing salaries and eliminating year-end bonuses at the companies in October, but he made an exception for AIG on Monday, allowing a key executive to receive a base salary and bonus higher than agreed upon compensation limits.

The majority of the respondents to a BlackEnterprise.com poll might not be too happy about AIG’s seemingly special treatment. When asked if they would accept a year-end bonus had they worked as an executive on Wall Street, 55% of respondents said that they would not, because it is not fair to taxpayers. Twenty percent of respondents said they would take a bonus, but would have misgivings about taking the extra compensation. The remaining 25% said they would take the money without any reservations.

“I would prefer that the bonus money go to create more jobs,” commented respondent Alexis Johnson.

Bonuses are a key driver to competitive success, says Andrew Rauch, the CEO at ECI Companies, which advises community banks and businesses about developing executive compensation for their key people. He says that the bonuses are given as an incentive for the future and is not based on past performance.

“In recessionary times you want to motivate your employees to capture market share,” he says. Incentive pay is one of the key ways to help grow a business.”

However, Dedrick Muhammad, senior organizer and research associate at the Institute for Policy Studies, disagrees.  “These [Wall Street] CEO’s led their entire industry to over-leverage the entire economy on bad or unsustainable loans. It’s a culture of believing that they deserve profits and prizes no matter what their actions bring forward.”

The results are in:

If you were an executive at a Wall Street firm that received government bail-out money, would you accept a year-end bonus?

— Yes, without reservation 25%
— Yes, with misgivings 20%
— No, it’s not fair to taxpayers 55%

BlackEnterprise.com conducted the poll between Dec. 14 and Dec. 21.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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