- Days left

Former Merrill Lynch CEO, John Thain, gave out up to $4 billion in bonuses before Bank of America took the company over. Normally, bonuses are paid in January, but they were rushed to beat the Jan. 1 takeover by Bank of America. This came as Bank of America was getting $20 billion more in federal funds in part due to the takeover. Thain, by the way, topped the 2007 list of highest-paid CEOs at $83 million last year.

Now what is wrong with this picture? New York Attorney General, Andrew Cuomo, is asking the same question. He is questioning the fiduciary duty of Thain and other executives.

Fiduciary duty? Who pays attention to that anymore? We have had a culture in financial circles of "every man for themselves" regardless of who gets hurt. Think of Madoff and Kenneth Lay. The people at the top scramble for the bucks while the little guys get busted.

The $4 billion in bonuses were given out quickly. How do you get a bonus for bungling? Very simple, get the taxpayers to give it to you. It is so easy to spend someone else's money when you don't have to be accountable.

I have owned and operated three business and a large hospital system -- I never got a bonus for bungling things. In every business I have been involved with, there were measurable accountabilities and money was paid for performance. If the business was not doing well -- no bonus. If my performance wasn't up to par, I heard about it.

Our culture has become one where overpaid executives, incompetent CEO's, and addictive greed are tolerated. I think it is time to reverse things. If a company is not doing well, like Merrill Lynch, the executives should pay back their salaries. If you bungle, you don't get a bonus. This would bring accountability and stop this crazy financial trainwreck. And the taxpayers could put their money into something that counts, like schools.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. Get a copy of her new book at: Marriage Tips and receive a FREE Couples Workbook for immediate download.


Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Intro to different retirement accounts

What does it mean to have a 401(k)? IRA?

View Course »

How to Avoid Financial Scams

Avoid getting duped by financial scams.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Ways To Increase Your Tax Refund You Never Thought About

Laying the groundwork for a tax refund requires some simple tax planning, a little research and some forethought. Reviewing your tax status, consulting your spouse when filling out your W-4s and taking advantage of several tax credits can help you increase your tax refund. TurboTax also can help decide which credits can get you the biggest refund.

What Extra Tax Deductions Should I Make Sure To Take?

The federal government offers tax deductions and credits to reduce taxable income under certain circumstances. There are several that are often overlooked, including deductions for job hunting, caregiver expenses for dependents and children while you work, a credit to reduce taxes for moderate- to low-income earners and the premium tax credit associated with the Affordable Care Act. TurboTax can help determine if you qualify for these credits and deductions.

8 Things You Think Are Tax Deductible That Aren't

There?s a fine line between looking to save money on your taxes and taking deductions that will raise eyebrows at the Internal Revenue Service. Some taxpayers are tripped up by expenses that they assume are tax deductions, but don?t qualify under IRS guidelines. Here are a dozen items that can lead to unpleasant surprises in case of an audit.

9 Things You Didn't Know Were Tax Deductions

Few realizations are more painful than realizing that you forgot to include a tax deduction that would have lowered your tax bill or increased your tax refund on your tax return. Here are some tax deductions that you shouldn't overlook.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum