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What You Should Hate / August 16, 2009
By Bobby Bittman


How-ahhh-yah?! Bwah-heh-heh! It’s great to be back here at Exiled Online tonight. You’re a lovely audience, and I mean that in all seriousness. Except for the guy in the front row there, who let the cat drag him in, ah? Bwah-heh-heh!

You know what I hate, folks? Have you ever had that guy, that loser friend or loser-uncle, who screws everything up and comes to you promising he’ll change, if you just give him a second chance. So you help him out, give him a second chance, and whadda think he does? He goes right back to makin’ the same mistake all over again. Well, that’s America. Bwah-ha-hah!

No really, it’s true. America is that lowlife alcoholic bum who keeps promisin’ he’ll change things if you just bail him out one more time. You know how they said it’s all because the bosses of these companies have a pay incentive-thing that actually makes them destroy companies to pocket all the money? Well, after the bailout, it turns out, the pay system is not only still here, but it’s even worse. Bwah-hah-hah! Yeah, Americans really are that drunk cocaine loser you can’t shake, totally incapable of reforming himself in spite of all the big talk. Just look at how the New York Times reports it today:

WITH outsized and corrupting corporate pay packages under scrutiny, you might think that companies would be rushing to tamp down their compensation plans. Making sure that pay actually rewards long-term performance, for example, seems a fairly obvious way to allay shareholder fears that managers are lining their pockets rather than safeguarding their companies.

Uh-oh folks, I smell a “but” paragraph. Hey, didja get that? “I. Smell. A but.” Bwah-hah-hah! That was totally unscripted, folks, but that comes from years as a professional comedian. Thank-you, thank-you. Okay, so getting back to my routine here, folks:

But a study of changes made in pay practices by 191 of the nation’s largest companies this year shows that where pay is concerned, enlightenment remains a long way off. In other words, meet the new pay, same as the old.

The biggest shock? Instead of seeing a greater reliance on long-term incentive programs, the Reda report found that changes in these companies’ plans made short-term incentive pay a bigger part of the compensation pie. Let me say that again: The plans — despite the calamities that short-term profiteering has visited on our economy — made short-term incentives a bigger component of compensation.

Bwah-hah-hah! Yeah, those Americans really learn their lesson, didn’t they. Yeah, and Bobby Bittman is an open-mike-night newbie. Bwah-hah-hah!

But seriously folks, in all serious, as a comedic professional, I want to say something here. It really hurts me, and moves me, thinking about how difficult it is for America–such a proud country after all–that they are struggling with their problems. And in all seriousness, as a comedian and a professional in this business, I want to tell you that it’s not easy to kick your habits.

But it sure can be funny! Bwah-hah-hah! Like this guy, getta loada him:

“If you were going to encourage long-term thinking and behavior, you would reduce short-term pay, but companies have in fact reduced the long-term programs,” Mr. Reda said. “This is counter to the direction suggested by the United States Treasury, academics and other expert advisers regarding ways to mitigate risk.”

Another troubling finding in the Reda study was an increased use of restricted stock awards that are not performance-based. The awards simply vest over time.

Finally, the study found no significant decline in the use of so-called tax gross-up deals, a shareholder-unfriendly arrangement under which companies foot the bill on taxes that executives owe on their munificent pay packages.

Come hell, high water, financial crisis or stock market collapse, the executive pay grab goes on. Clearly, if shareholders thought the economic downturn would result in more sensible pay packages, they’ve got another think coming.

Hey, I oughtta be an American CEO! Bwah-hah-hah! I can take anything I want anytime, and all I gotta say is, “How-ah-ya!” Bwah-hah-hah!
Bobby Bittman performs on every American’s face every waking minute of their declining lives.

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Add your own

  • 1. rick  |  August 17th, 2009 at 8:16 am

    Executive compensation is based on Ponziesque shareholder value. Everybody working “in the company’s interests”–everybody–gets fucking employed/paid at exorbitant levels, in the short term. Why should they give a fuck? Drive the stock price up, sell. Even giving CEOs stock is worthless, since they’ll dump at the peak. Everybody knows it’s a Ponzi farce now. The jig is up.

  • 2. trip  |  August 18th, 2009 at 4:26 am

    spent the whole day dealing with auditors. so far so good! then a meeting with a CEO of a huge conglomerate in about an hour. wish me luck!

  • 3. Jess  |  August 18th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    How can this be surprising? These companies should be bankrupt right now. If we had anything remotely approaching “capitalism” in this country, the companies would be bankrupt and these execs would be struggling to keep their remaining vacation homes out of shareholder-suit settlements. Oh yeah, and the recession would be over by now too.

    But we don’t have capitalism. We have BushObama corporatism, and there is no crime so brazen that a Treasury Secretary wouldn’t get away with it. If you supported TARP or any of the other bailouts, _this_ is the inevitable result of that colossal fuck-up. These pay raises are the only logical reaction; any board that doesn’t vote for them simply won’t be able to ravage the public purse as much as their more opportunistic peers.

  • 4. az  |  August 18th, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Jess, what we have is the most capitalist capitalism of all capitalisms. I mean what kind of capitalist state wouldn’t be based on an individual’s quest for capital and profit? Honestly, anything else claiming to be capitalism is just fascism of local variety that considers the state above all via worshipping the constitution as opposed to bureaucrat-kings like the case was in Germany or something.

  • 5. Jess  |  August 18th, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Uhh, yeah, if this is going to be a discussion of definitions, I’ll have to demur. Statements like “Soviet Russia wasn’t REAL socialism” and “value is the product of labor” make for an undignified spectacle.

  • 6. az  |  August 19th, 2009 at 6:17 am

    Discussion of definitions? I pointed out a flaw in your reasoning that would only hold up if there was a vast and powerful conspiracy that decided to create all our problems for some weird reason that doesn’t really benefit them. Besides, you’re the one saying that this isn’t “REAL capitalism” just like Victorian Britain, the German Empire, Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany, etc. apparently wasn’t. Same with “value appears and disappears at random because you know.” Very few people say the two phrases you mentioned anyway though unless they are social democrats or people who never read the first chapter of Capital but consider themselves leftist.

  • 7. wengler  |  August 19th, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    It’s somewhat disconcerting to consider that even if we lived in a world with infinite resources the economic theory of capitalism would still do a poor job of distributing them among the entire population.

    Giving people that create NEGATIVE value a huge chunk of the fat of the land is looting pure and simple.

  • 8. Brian McDonald  |  August 20th, 2009 at 10:49 am

    minor point but you do know bittman is a
    canadian? think the comic who created
    was eugene levy.

  • 9. az  |  August 20th, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    Wengler man the issue is not the resources but rather the rate at which we can extract them. It would get increasingly expensive to get more resources whether they are infinite or not.

  • 10. Doom  |  August 21st, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I love Bobby Bittman and SCTV.

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