James Pethokoukis

The risk of a supertax on banker bonuses

December 11, 2009

U.S.-based bankers shouldn’t worry too much about their bonuses. Even though Wall Street remains wildly unpopular and Washington needs more revenue, it’s unlikely U.S. authorities will follow their UK counterparts with a giant windfall tax on banker payouts.

The UK banker bonus supertax

December 10, 2009

I don’t see this happening in the US.  I mean, the effort to raise taxes on private equity carried interest, while passing the House, is going nowhere in the Senate. And that is far less controversial and a less stupid idea. And remember how the 90 percent tax on AIG bonuses fell flat back in March.  The one caveat, as Dan Clifton notes in an earlier post,  here is that 2010 is an election year and the combo of big bonuses  and high unemployment could cause endangered Ds to play the populist card and try something

Why bankers should worry in 2010

December 10, 2009

Already, the crazy ideas are returning, such as mortgage cramdowns. But more could be on the way in 2010, says the great Dan Clifton of Strategas (bank bonus tax, American version?):

Wall Street pay continues to be the Great Distraction

October 27, 2009

Again, all this focus on Wall Street pay distracts from more important issues.  Gary Becker summarizes:

Wall Street pay is the Great Distraction of the Great Recession

October 22, 2009

If I made of list of factors contributing to the recession and financial crisis, Wall Street pay would come in around 6th, after 1) easy monetary policy; 2) TBTF; 3) US housing policy; 4) global savings glut/China labor shock; 5) Wall Street group think.  Yet pay is where so much energy is being directed at this issue thanks to its populist appeal. America hates TARP so Washington needs to make amends by hammering execs at TARP recipients.

The Fed’s dangerous plan to regulate Wall Street pay

September 18, 2009

The Obama administration wants the Federal Reserve to be the maximum regulator of the American financial system. As Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told the Senate Banking Committee, “The Federal Reserve is best positioned to play that role. It already supervises and regulates bank holding companies, including all major U.S. commercial and investment banks.”

Citigroup’s big pay hikes

June 24, 2009

Instead of big bonsuses, Citigroup is moving toward bigger salaries. Here is what the company should be doing:

Sentence of the day

June 8, 2009

From the NYTimes articles on a White House effort to control executive compensation in the financial industry: