Opinion

The Great Debate

from Ask...:

Bailout bonuses: Does the public have a right to know?

Is it anybody's business how much money you make?

When it comes to Wall Street and the meltdown that whacked financial markets and emptied investors' pockets, the normal rules of etiquette don't seem to apply.

Wall Street salaries seem to be everybody's business lately. Nevertheless, the Obama administration's pay czar may try to keep a large portion of the compensation plans he is reviewing under wraps.

It's Kenneth Feinberg's job to review salaries at the biggest corporate recipients of government bailout funds.

How much of his report will become public is the multimillion dollar question.

Privacy laws and fears that highly compensated executives will become targets for an angry public argue for limiting disclosure.

"One of my clients makes $25 million a year and drives a Honda," said Steven Eckhaus, of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP. "He tries to lead a fairly modest life and he would be horrified if what he makes appeared in the paper. Not only would his neighbors know, but his kids would know, and it would affect his ability to raise his kids. These are people, not a circus sideshow."

Goldman needs to lose Gekko image

jon_ford

– Jonathan Ford is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

So, Goldman Sachs has a “Gordon Gekko feel to it” according to an executive at Brand Asset Consulting. In a survey of leading U.S. brands, the market research firm has reached the conclusion that the investment bank’s stature has been diminished in the eyes of the public by recent events.

Somehow, this fails to do justice to the emotions the name Goldman stirs in the breast of the average American.

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