New Prez Pleads for Common Sense

I like a president who pleads for common sense.

Here’s the story, headlined in the New York Times: “Obama Calls for ’Common Sense’ on Executive Pay.”

The president announced a salary cap for top executives working for companies garnering the greatest gobs of booty under the most recent federal bailout. The cap? Half a million bucks.

President Obama allayed a few qualms, right away. He said that “This is America, we don’t disparage wealth. . . .” And he said, “we certainly believe that success should be rewarded.”

But he does talk about the “height of irresponsibility” in Bush administration bailouts, with execs taking huge bonuses after running their companies into the ground. Who wasn’t sickened by this? Obama sees it as common sense to make sure we don’t reward massive failure with the usual rewards of success.

Still, America is also about respecting contracts. Those corporations had negotiated very explicit contracts with their execs regarding the big bucks. And — surprise, surprise — Congress wrote up the law on the gargantuan bailouts without requiring those contracts be renegotiated.

And consider: Do we really want our politicians setting non-government salaries?

This is all a side issue, though. Take the bailouts themselves. Where’s the common sense there? They do reward failure. They will not help the economy. If our leaders had acted according to common sense, the whole salary issue wouldn’t even have come up.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

-This column is cross posted from ThisIsCommonSense.com.