Right-wing reactionaries (see, for example, Greta van Susteren and Byron York last night on Fox) are trying to paint Alan Grayson's bill as the government setting your salary-- as if you were a policeman or a teacher or a member of the Obama cabinet. But Grayson's "Pay for Performance Act of 2009" sailed right through the House Financial Services Committee, 38-22, with the backing of every single Democrat including a whole pack of Blue Dogs and two conservative Republicans. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC). The bill, which gives the government power to determine compensation for employees of companies taking government bailouts, is likely to meet stiff resistance in the House next week.
It may get some impetus from revelations that Merrill Lynch gave away 35% of the $10 billion in taxpayer funds it got as bonuses to the 6 and 7-figure management insiders who caused the company to collapse. Grayson is adamant that "you should not get rich off public money, and you should not get rich off of abject failure."
"This bill will show which Republicans are so much on the take from the financial services industry that they're willing to actually bless compensation that has no bearing on performance and is excessive and unreasonable," Grayson said. "We'll find out who are the people who understand that the public's money needs to be protected, and who are the people who simply want to suck up to their patrons on Wall Street."
Grayson has gotten less campaign donations from the financial services industry than anyone else on the Financial Services Committee and, in fact, less than any other member of Congress. The main opponents to his legislation have taken immense amounts of bribes from the banksters, especially ranking Republican Spencer Bachus (R-AL- $3,789,474), Scott Garrett (R-NJ- $1,156,599), GOP House whip Eric Cantor (R-VA- $3,121,188), GOP minority leader John Boehner (R-OH- $3,045,809), GOP lunatic fringe caucus head Jeb Hensarling (R-TX- $2,111,371), Jim Gerlach (R-PA- $1,578,152), Paul Ryan (R-WI- $1,555,321), and Michele Bachmann (R-MN- $756,740, a cheap date for any lobbyist representing extremist ideas).
You can certainly understand why banksters are uncomfortable with Grayson-- and why ordinary working families see a real champion in him:
He blogged about the bill over at HuffPo today. "...[N]owhere is change more desperately needed than on Wall Street, which is apparently the only place in the world where you can steal from the taxpayers and then bill them for services rendered. So far, taxpayers have spent over $500 billion in direct cash infusions into banks and financial institutions, with guarantees of trillions more. Yet, these companies are still paying their executives lavish sums for driving their companies (and the entire economy) into the ground."
[Cross-posted at Down With Tyranny]