Frank-ly Control Freaks: Congressional Committee Passes Bill Controlling ALL Pay at US-Involved Companies

ObamaAndGeithner0109Is it okay to call them socialists yet? (/sarc)

And to think we were "only" worried about having a known Tax Cheat overseeing everyone's taxes.

With Barney Frank's help, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is trying to expand his power (and by inference that of his Dear Leader boss) well beyond that. The "Pay for Performance Act," which has already gotten out of committee, would give him veto power over salaries at every company into which the government has inserted its intrusive claws.

Besides the utter outrageousness of the news itself, the story leads to the question of how the establishment media will handle it. Whitewash it? Minimize its significance? Ignore it? Given the fact that the news is over a week old, I vote for a continuation of Door Number Three.

Byron York reports the following in the DC Examiner:

Beyond AIG: A Bill to let Big Government Set Your Salary

..... 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."

The bill passed the Financial Services Committee last week, 38 to 22, on a nearly party-line vote. (All Democrats voted for it, and all Republicans, with the exception of Reps. Ed Royce of California and Walter Jones of North Carolina, voted against it.)

Geez, it wouldn't be much of a stretch to extend Geithner's reach to:

  • Any company with a Small Business Administration loan.
  • Any university with students who have borrowed money from the government to attend (i.e., almost every institution of higher learning in the US).
  • Any company whose employees use government services (i.e., an interstate highway or a subsidized mass-transit ride) to get to work.

That is, it's not a very far trip to controlling everyone's earnings.

Well, at least the self-employed won't be affected .... Don't count on that either. Tax Cheat Tim will probably want to control hourly rates and prices paid to vendors.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

 

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.