Government Wants to Control Salaries of All Employees at TARP Companies

We are now entering the black hole of statism. Byron York at The Washington Examiner:

But now, in a little-noticed move, the House Financial Services Committee, led by chairman Barney Frank, has approved a measure that would, in some key ways, go beyond the most draconian features of the original AIG bill. The new legislation, the “Pay for Performance Act of 2009,” would impose government controls on the pay of all employees — not just top executives — of companies that have received a capital investment from the U.S. government. It would, like the tax measure, be retroactive, changing the terms of compensation agreements already in place. And it would give Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner extraordinary power to determine the pay of thousands of employees of American companies.

The purpose of the legislation is to “prohibit unreasonable and excessive compensation and compensation not based on performance standards,” according to the bill’s language. That includes regular pay, bonuses — everything — paid to employees of companies in whom the government has a capital stake, including those that have received funds through the Troubled Assets Relief Program, or TARP, as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The measure is not limited just to those firms that received the largest sums of money, or just to the top 25 or 50 executives of those companies. It applies to all employees of all companies involved, for as long as the government is invested. And it would not only apply going forward, but also retroactively to existing contracts and pay arrangements of institutions that have already received funds.

In addition, the bill gives Geithner the authority to decide what pay is “unreasonable” or “excessive.” And it directs the Treasury Department to come up with a method to evaluate “the performance of the individual executive or employee to whom the payment relates.”

This is insane. It’s not creeping socialism but a flat out sprint to it. On top of that, we’re talking about government bureaucrats making these decisions. Brad Jackson at the New Ledger remarks that this plan is worse than putting the two Bobs in charge:

In that cult classic movie “Office Space”, Bob Porter and Bob Slydell, two performance evaluation consultants come in to the office and begin determining who to fire, who to promote and how to pay them. “The Bobs” then remake the office in their vision firing some hard working employees and promoting Peter, the main character, even though he’s lazy and misses most of the workday playing Tetris at his desk, fishing or plotting to steal from the company.

Well, if you thought that was bad, now Democrat Congressman Barney Frank wants to give the US government control over the salaries of every employee in any company that takes any amount of federal bailout money. You heard me right. Barney wants Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to be a “Bob”.

It’s truly disgusting.

Dr. Sanity knows what performance standard will be used:

And you would be judged, not on ordinary performance standards, mind you; but on government standards. You know, the kind of really really high standards by which say, Post Office employees, or IRS employees; or, the stratospherically high standards by which members of Congress are judged.

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Wonderful World of Incompetence Rewarded! Because that’s what government “performance standards” always lead to. When I was at NASA we used to joke about “Performance Awards”–which were given out like candy every year to just about everyone (you see, all government agencies are highly invested in being exceptionally politically correct and multiculturally sensitive). As I recall, the saying used go that the Awards were like hemorrhoids…in the end, every a$$hole gets one.

She also quotes from Chapter 6 of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Go read it.

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Pay for Performance Act of 2009