- 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

How much house can I afford

Home buying 101, evaluating one of your most important financial decisions.

View Course »

How to Avoid Financial Scams

Avoid getting duped by financial scams.

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Employer Sponsored Health Coverage Explained

The Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is simpler than some people may give it credit for. The basic rule to remember is that everyone must carry Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) or pay a penalty. Employers with 50 full-time employees or more are obligated to sponsor plans for their workers to help them meet this requirement.

How to Report RSUs or Stock Grants on Your Tax Return

Restricted stock units (RSUs) and stock grants are often used by companies to reward their employees with an investment in the company rather than with cash. As the name implies, RSUs have rules as to when they can be sold. Stock grants often carry restrictions as well. How your stock grant is delivered to you, and whether or not it is vested, are the key factors when determining tax treatment.

What is a Schedule Q Form?

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has two very different forms that go by the name Schedule Q. One of them is for people who participate in certain real estate investments; this is known as a Form 1066 Schedule Q. The other Schedule Q deals with employer benefit plans. It?s not something an individual taxpayer would normally have to deal with, though a small business owner might need it.

Incentive Stock Options

Some employers use Incentive Stock Options (ISOs) as a way to attract and retain employees. While ISOs can offer a valuable opportunity to participate in your company's growth and profits, there are tax implications you should be aware of. We'll help you understand ISOs and fill you in on important timetables that affect your tax liability, so you can optimize the value of your ISOs.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum