21 September 2008

The Big Bailout

So the US government is going to bail the banks out of the mess they created, and the taxpayer is going to pay. Well, maybe this is the only way to solve the current financial crisis. Obviously, the laissez-faire capitalism of the Bush-era has crashed and the bank CEOs and fund managers happily accept the help of the government, now that their risky strategies didn't work out. As long as they worked, of course, they thought the gains belong all to themselves and the state should not take anything away in the form of taxes.

I'm wondering: Will we learn something from this costly adventure? Will we just let the banks, hedge funds, stock markets, and their big-buck managers and traders continue as they did before? Or should something be changed to prevent more of these bubble - collapse cycles? And if so, what?

I think there is one basic thing that should be changed. I don't understand why anyone should earn millions, no matter how good the business goes that he or she happens to be doing. Crazy salaries let people lose their sense of reality. Those who earn that much, and even more those who think that anyone could possibly "deserve" to earn as much as hundreds of average workers are in desperate need of a reality check.

So, as in the end tax money is always going to pay the damage, why don't we make sure that we get the money from those who earn these insane salaries before the next crisis will force us all to pay for them?

My proposal: Take the salary of the US president (400,000$ per year) as a cap of what anyone can reasonably earn. There is hardly another job that carries more power and responsibility (even if the present incumbent is not quite up to the task). If things get really tough, multi-millionaire bankers are happy if a comparatively lousy paid president helps them out. So they should show a bit of humility in their pay checks.

How about taxing everything above the president's income level by 100 %? If this would be done worldwide, maybe the folly could be stopped...

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