Why Tom Hanks isn't overpaid like those greedy CEOs.

A mostly political Weblog.
July 15 2002 2:58 PM

Why Tom Hanks Isn't Overpaid Like Those Greedy CEOs

Plus bilingualism, miscegenation, adultery and Dick Gephardt!

The Bush administration has made it official: Over the weekend, Secretary of Education Rod Paige defended bilingual education (as a valid choice for local school boards)and came out against  the anti-bilingual-ed, English-immersion ballot initiative in Colorado. Isn't there any dissatisfaction on the right with Bush's Rove-driven endorsement of a discredited Carter-era ethnic-porkbarrelling educational fad? Just asking! ... 11:30 A.M.

During the Flytrap scandal, didn't Bill Clinton's defenders argue that the U.S. should be more like Europe, where they allegedly have a more sophisticated and tolerant attitude toward things like extramarital affairs? How, then, to explain this story, of the Swiss ambassador to Germany driven from his job when a tabloid published an apparently erroneous report (for which it has now apologized) that he ... cheated on his wife! 10:45 A.M.

Good Sebastian Mallaby column on stock options and how they facilitate out-of control CEO pay, which he tellingly contrasts with movie star pay, which is not out of control but rather negotiated at arm's-length with shrewd producers and studio execs. Unlike Ken Lay, Tom Hanks really is worth all those millions. (He can "open" a grim picture  like Road to Perdition.) ... Mallaby's only solution, however, is a vague, ambitious restructuring of corporate rules to insure that "the chief selectors of company directors are not the bosses but the shareholders." Shareholders formally choose directors now, don't they? What would Mallaby do differently? ... Meanwhile, has anyone commented on the obvious perverse consequence of Sen. John McCain's signature proposal  that

Top executives should be precluded from selling their own holdings of company stock while serving in that company. Executives should be allowed to exercise their options, but their net gain after tax should be held in company stock until 90 days after they leave the company.

Doesn't this create a highly undesirable incentive for competent executives who've actually improved their companies, and hence their companies' stock prices, to immediately quit in order to exercise their options? ...Yes, we want to discourage greedy CEOs from cashing in on temporary upward blips -- but that can be accomplished by simply requiring that options be held for a long time. ...P.S.: Would all President McCain's policy proposals be as half-baked as this one? ... 1:35 A.M.

 

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"Even if Democrats win back the House this fall, Gephardt is a virtual lock to run for president, his advisers say." -- buried in page A-15 Washington Post story. 11:00 P.M.

Those Pakistani madrassas are still in business, reports WaPo. ... And why do we think that encouraging the Islamic schools to "modernize" -- by offering "computer classes" and making "the Internet available" to students -- will produce fewer potential Islamic terrrorists as opposed to potentially more effective, modernized Islamic terrorists, at least in the short run? 11:15 A.M.

Miscegenation -- an official trend: The Atlanta Journal Constitution has a seemingly important taboo-busting story on the increase in black women dating white men. The evidence of this trend is not only anecdotal -- AJC's John Blake says

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of black female/white male marriages remained relatively static between 1960 and 1980, increasing from 26,000 to 27,000. But by 2000, the number had jumped to 80,000.

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