Half a cheer for President Obama saying no-one in a semi nationalised US bank will earn more than $500,000. Where the bank is loss making and dependent on taxpayers dollars it is difficult to see why anyone is paid as much as $500,000.
Here in the UK I am blocked from asking questions about pay and bonuses at our state banks. Parliament is meant to follow public money wherever it is spent, yet I am told firmly by the House authorities that the government will answer no questions on bankers’ remuneration at RBS or Northern Rock. It is typical that the government wants to pay them too much, and then does not want to defend this provocative decision.
As RBS has announced it lost around £28 billion last year, and has therefore written off all the £20 billion of capital we so recently tipped in, I can see no case for paying a single bonus to any executive in that bank. The management should explain that saving more jobs at the bank requires restraint on pay. They should be grateful they still have jobs, given the lamentable performance. Anyone else working for a non bank that lost that sort of money would be worrying about getting the sack as the business fought to control the losses by cutting costs.
Many of my constituents are paid a lot less than these top bankers at RBS. Why should they have to work harder and pay more tax, just so those who presided over the business catastrophe at RBS and Northern Rock can still get a bonus for their record breaking losses last year?