- 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

Introduction to Preferred Shares

Learn the difference between preferred and common shares.

View Course »

Managing your Portfolio

Keeping your portfolio and financial life fit!

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

A Tax Filing Factsheet for eBay Sellers

You can find almost anything for sale on eBay, from a piece of fine art to clippings of Justin Bieber?s hair. So it's no surprise that the IRS doesn't view all sellers alike in the online marketplace. You may not have to pay tax at all if you are essentially hosting an online garage sale, but if you run your eBay account more like a business, you should be reporting your sales to the IRS.

Tax Tips for Handymen and Odd Jobs

If you work as a handyman or do odd jobs around town for money, you are operating a business in the eyes of the IRS. Since you own your own business, you're likely a self-employed sole proprietor. This means you'll have lots of potential tax deductions to investigate.

Identity Theft: 7 Steps to Reclaiming Your Identity and Keeping it Safe

As more personal information continues to be stored online, the risk of identity theft also increases. In 2014 alone, the Bureau of Justice reported that 17.6 million U.S. residents experienced identity theft. If someone uses your personal data pretending to be you, it's a serious crime. With quick, decisive action, you can help discover the fraud, stop further damage and reclaim your identity. Here are six steps to get you on your way.

Need More Tax Time? File a Tax Extension

If you need more time to complete your taxes, file a tax extension, but don't miss out on your chance for a tax refund by not filing at all. Learn more about tax extensions from this 2012 infographic!

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum