- 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 Retirement

Get started early planning for your long term future.

View Course »

Introduction to Preferred Shares

Learn the difference between preferred and common shares.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

A Tax Guide for Solopreneurs: Self-Employed Tax Tips

Flying solo can be the ultimate business adventure. When you run your own business and you're the only employee, you truly hold all the cards and earn the freedom to achieve your ideal work-life balance. Working for yourself also brings tax advantages not available to those who work for others. It's important to understand the tax rules that apply to the self-employed to profit the most from these.

Can I Claim Medical Expenses on My Taxes?

Medical expenses can take a bite out of your budget, especially if you have unforeseen emergencies that are not fully covered by your insurance. The Internal Revenue Service allows taxpayers some relief, making some of these expenses partly tax-deductible. To take advantage of this tax deduction, you need to know what counts as a medical expense and how to claim the deduction.

What Is a 1099-G Tax Form?

The most common use of the 1099-G is to report unemployment compensation as well as any state or local income tax refunds you received that year.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum