Times Radiates Optimism on Regulation of Executive Pay
By Don Feder
Monday March 23, 2009

When it comes to forging new frontiers of statism and savaging the free market, The New York Times has a ho-hum, what’s-the-big-deal attitude.

A story in yesterday’s Times treats the possibility that the Obama administration will tell companies how much they can pay executives as another promising proposal to counter the current financial crisis, instead of as the radical move toward socialism it is.

“The administration has been considering increased oversight of executive pay for some time,” the paper nonchalantly reports. Also: “One proposal could impose greater requirements on company boards to tie executive compensation more closely to corporate performance.”

As the story makes clear, the administration is considering regulating all corporate salaries, and not just those of companies that have accepted bailouts.

If Washington can control executive compensation, why not the pay of workers as well? Perhaps their performance is sub-standard and contributes to corporate malaise. Maybe the feds should also oversee product development and pricing, and marketing campaigns too. Heck, let’s just abolish private ownership and let the geniuses in DC run the whole show — an approach that’s worked well in Cuba, North Korea and the former Soviet Union.

Perhaps the principle of tying executive compensation to performance should be applied more broadly. Since Congress got us into this mess — by encouraging mortgage lending to deadbeats — shouldn’t Congressmen take a pay cut?

The New York Times has been losing money and subscribers for years. This past November, The Times slashed its quarterly dividend to 6 cents, compared to 23 cents for the same quarter in 2007.

This pathetic performance is due in part to the decisions of editors and corporate executives. In fairness to Times shareholders, isn’t it time to regulate their salaries too?

Something tells me this is where The Times’ socialist cheerleaders would draw the line.

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