Sunday, August 2, 2009

Reader Poll: Should the $100 million man get his due?

As many of you already are aware, Andrew J. Hall is set to receive a $100 million bonus from a unit of Citigroup--a company which would have gone bankrupt had they not been bailed out by the taxpayers to the tune of $45 billion.

To make matters worse, his impressively profitable performance derives from speculation in energy markets, which is a practice on which the government is considering placing heavy restrictions.

Andrew Hall is one of those guys who manipulates the price of crude oil/gasoline, irrespective of the effect his efforts may have on millions of consumers with far less money than he, purely in the name of profit.

But then again, Mr. Hall has a contract--and this is America. He made Citigroup billions of dollars and we want them to make money so they can pay us back, right?

Or do we ever really expect to be paid back? I certainly won't hold my breath, or even stand on one leg.

Technically speaking, Mr. Hall did nothing wrong--he performed his job within legal boundaries (one would assume, although you never know when oil is involved) and it's the system that's broken.

But how do you fix a system if you keep giving people financial incentives to be selfish pricks? Maybe denying him his exhorbitant bonus would be a good first step in "putting things right that once went wrong."

And so it is that, not for the first time, I wish we would have simply let all the selfish, stupid, speculative financial firms in trouble just go bankrupt, allowing the healthiest ones to feast on their remains and grow stronger--things might have been a lot hairier, maybe, but such is the cutthroat nature of capitalism and, in the end, decisions like these would have been so much easier:
"Sorry, Mr. Hall, I know you made us billions of dollars in profit from all those stupid commoners who have to buy gas from the oligopoly to get to their $6/hr jobs cleaning the shrimp you eat out of the mouths of blue-blood virgin debutantes every Friday afternoon at the closing bell, but we have no money to pay you! We fucked up! Now, do me a favor and go fuck off back to your German castle and jerk off on your Schnabels!"
Man, life would be so much easier...

Or would it? What do you think, world?


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