Will Wall Street slashers impress Main Street ?
Top executive pay slashed! By 90%! None of us in the media can resist a headline that includes the word "slashed" and it arrived at just the right time: coincidentally in time for our Ten O'clock News but also judged to catch the eye of the American networks' main evening bulletins. The Associated Press, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times revealed, at almost the same time, that the "pay czar" Kenneth Feinberg planned these dramatic cuts in pay and benefits at seven companies that got billions from the Government.
With a growing sense of anger at the distance between Wall Street and Main Street, and a sense of unfairness that the bosses who'd helped fuel the crisis were getting rewarded for it, the administration obviously felt it had to act.
The timing is interesting. Today in Congress there are a trio of important economic encounters (at 1400 UK time). The chair of the White House's economic advisors Christina Romer will speak to the Joint Economic Committee, the assistant secretary for financial stability will talk about bail outs to the committee set up to examine them and yet another group of congressmen will hear evidence on the federal bail-out of Merrill Lynch.
It's exile on Main Street the administration fears most, but maybe this one was aimed at the kings of the hill.