Now should Andrew Hall get his $100 million bonus? How does what he does help the larger world? (NYT)
Corporate pay has become a live grenade in the aftermath of the largest series of corporate bailouts in American history. In March, when American International Group, rescued at vast taxpayer expense, was to give out $165 million in bonuses, Congress moved to constrain the payouts, and protesters showed up at the homes of several executives.
As it happens, one can see some of those homes from Mr. Hall’s front lawn. But his case is more complex. Mr. Hall, raised in Britain and known for titanium nerves and a collection of very pricey art, is the standout performer at an operation that has netted Citigroup about $2 billion over the last five years. If Citigroup will not pay him the huge sums that he has long made, someone else probably will.
The added wrinkle is that Mr. Hall works in a corner of the trading world that appears headed for its own infamy. Regulators are pushing to curb the role of traders like Mr. Hall, whose speculation in the energy markets may have played a major role in the recent gyrations of oil prices.
That suggests that last summer, drivers paid more at the pump, at least in part, because of people like Andrew J. Hall. How do you hand $100 million to a guy who may have profited because gas hit $4 a gallon?Whatever the answer, the case of Mr. Hall highlights the hazards of mixing the public interest with capitalism at its most unbridled.
Source Simon Johnson Atlantic