Tales from the Trail

The First Draft: Executive pay crackdown

For a quiet day, there was surprising consensus among editors about the top news — big-time bankers who got government bailout money are going to get their paychecks slashed.

The coverage was fairly straight, but there was a certain glee about the way the story made its way to the top spot in most newspapers.

“Pay slashed at bailout firms,” the Wall Street Journal headlined its story.

FINANCIAL-BAILOUT/“U.S. will order pay cuts at firms with bailout aid,” The New York Times  said.

“Obama ‘pay tsar’ to order deep cuts,” the Financial Times reported.

Wall Street high-fliers, where are they going to go?

President Barack Obama announced that any Wall Street firm taking a taxpayer handout must cap compensation for its executives at $500,000, which for most Americans doesn’t sound like such a bad salary.

But that raised the ire of (surprise, surprise) Wall Streeters who immediately cried gloom and doom, like there isn’t enough of that in the business right now, saying firms need their best performers and warning that many will flee for the land of more money.

Just trying to figure out where that promised land may be. OBAMA/

Wall Street firms have been laying off by the thousands, banks are devouring each other, and the market is so far off its highs that no one wants to look at their 401k’s.

First Draft: rough patch

The first presidential apology — “I screwed up”  — making the rounds today.

Apparently President Barack Obama does not subscribe to the rules of Gibbs in the TV drama NCIS (not to be confused with the White House spokesman also named Gibbs) who drills into his minions that saying you’re sorry is a sign of weakness.

The Daschle drama is over and there appears to be a certain sense of relief that the former health secretary nominee’s tax tribulations are not going to dominate the news for much longer.