How A CEO Can Live On $500K A Year

The New York Times breaks down the annual expenses of your average Fancy Pants Executive Type who lives in Manhattan.

Private school: $32,000 a year per student. Mortgage: $96,000 a year. Co-op maintenance fee: $96,000 a year. Nanny: $45,000 a year. We are already at $269,000, and we haven’t even gotten to taxes yet.

As relatively poor people, we think we can help. Here’s the Times-supplied expenses and our suggestions on where to cut costs.

Annual Expenses

Our Suggestions

Private school (per student) $32,000 public school + “Gossip Girl” discs via Netflix $9 monthly subscription fee
Mortgage & Co-Op fees $192,000 Just move already. To a house with no co-op fees. $96,000
Nanny $45,000 This 500K income is brought in by only one spouse, right? The other one doesn’t have a day job? Do you see where we’re going with this? $0
Vacations (2: beach and skiing) $16,000 Six Flags Great Adventure, Rockaway Beach in Queens, Coney Island, and assorted zoos, gardens, events, and museums in the city $1500
Summer house $240,000 Find a summer share on CraigsList, or rely on invitations from former Hamptons neighbors $10,000
Chauffer $100,000 Did you know anyone can drive a car? It’s true! All you need is a license. $50 (NYC license fee)
Garage fees $700 Park below 65th St
or, park on the street
$500
or free, with occasional tickets
Personal trainer $12,000 Your memory. You paid attention during those earlier training sessions, right? If you still want some encouragement, consider a Wii Fit and/or re-runs of “The Biggest Loser.” $0-80
Party gowns for galas (3 per year) $35,000 You live in the same town as the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons. Find an ambitious student to nurture. $3,000 plus an investment in potential future fashion insiderness
Tutoring $3,750 “You’re not going to get through private school without tutoring a kid.” That’s not going to be a problem with public school, we assure you. You may still want a tutor though for supplemental education, so we suggest CraigsList $0-$1500
Groceries $15,000 Try the Grocery Game! Otherwise, we’re not going to mess with this one, other than to assume that you can probably shop smarter if you set yourself a lower budget—say, $200 a week instead of the $288 currently estimated $10,400
Frozen hot chocolates at Serendipity $8.50 each You know what goes on at Serendipity, right? $0

“You Try to Live on 500K in This Town” [New York Times]
(Photo: Matt Mordfin)

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. drb023 says:

    what are we in Cuba? You do whatever you want with your money… but I’ll make whatever I’m able to make and do what I want with it.

    • jhwnissan says:

      @drb023: Precisely.. freedom to make whatever and make choices to spend whatever.. even if it seems silly. Half those people give a TON of money to charity when times are good too. Look at Bill Gates.

      • TechnoDestructo says:

        @jhwnissan:

        Bill Gates is a terrible example in almost every situation in which people use him as an example. Learn the names of some other rich people.

    • XTC46 says:

      @drb023: I agree. I have no problem with Obama capping the salaries of people tax money is bailing out. I also dont expect to get a top level CEO to take the low of a salary, so expect this cap to lower costs but also get some poor quality executives in office.

      • Ingram81 says:

        @xtc46: Here’s the problem with that. No good CEO’s are going to be willing to take a job that only pays 500K. So that tax money you hope you would get back from a company that would get turned around by “good” leadership. Well the “good” part just left with the pay cap.

        • revmatty says:

          @Ingram81: What part of the morons who created the crisis is ‘good’. You could get some very competent MBA’s who lack the connections to become an upper executive to take the gig and they’d probably do MUCH better job that the current field of incompetents.

          • Ingram81 says:

            @revmatty: If you want someone who’s not a moron running the place, after you have fired the past moron, how do you propose you would attract them to a position that’s now basically a giant target in the middle of a PR shooting gallery with the public?

            Cause I mean hell, even for $500k a year I don’t wish to be one of them at this point.

        • XTC46 says:

          @Ingram81: Actually, I dont think the plan will be all that successful. I have no expectation of the money ever being paid back. No good CEO will work for 500k, not for a company that size anyway, so for the vast majority, they will fail completely, or the cap will be raised. there may be 1 or 2 where a new 500k CEO does a great job and that company will succeed, but it will be rare.

          This kind of plan really will ruin many companies and waste our money. I like Obama, but this is just trying to please people who think 500k is more money than anyone should ever make, and that is stupid.

          • Shadowman615 says:

            @xtc46: I agree that it’s probably not a good idea if you want to hire and keep a good CEO. But I think there’s a simple solution — don’t accept taxpayer bailout money, and then you can pay your execs whatever you want.

            This is sort of like how you can’t afford to live on a 750K house when you earn $30K a year. If you need government bailout money, then you can’t afford to pay your execs multi-million dollar salaries.

          • Ingram81 says:

            @xtc46: “This kind of plan really will ruin many companies and waste our money.” I know and agree. While I don’t agree with Obama I think his charisma makes him a good leader. The problem is, in order to satiate the slobbering hoard of morons in this country (who think no one should ever make $500k) he did it for political gain, not real $$$ gain.

          • Mike_Hawk says:

            @xtc46: I’m sorry, is a bank CEO more deserving of wealth than someone who treats children with cancer?

        • mariospants says:

          @Ingram81: Define “good”, because last time I checked, most of these execs couldn’t lead their ass out of a paper bag. Good riddance to them.

          • Josh_G says:

            @mariospants: Winner! I love how most of you assume a 500K salary wouldn’t equal good executives when a $40 million one obviously didn’t do much go either.

          • Ingram81 says:

            @mariospants: Will you agree that not all exec’s are mindless smack-tards? And if the company (say GM) happened to be one of the companies that took the bailout, and you kill the old exec who ruined the business (or he had an “accident”) how many GOOD execs do you think you will be able to attract to work at GM with only a $500k salary, when they could go somewhere else, without all the public scrutiny, and make easily double that.

            Look, if you want high caliber people, the kind that can turn a business from crap to gold, you have to be able to attract them. And that’s done with money.

        • Rachacha says:

          @Ingram81: While there may be a 500K cap on salary, there is no cap on the stock options that they can receive. If the stock does well (which presumably means that the company is profitable and the executive has done a good job), they will financially do well. If the Executives fail, the stock will tank and they probably didn’t deserve the 500K

          • ScottRose says:

            @Rachacha:

            Agreed. For most executives, salary is usually the smaller part of total comp. Stock options are the real honey pot. (Note I did not say all executives).

            But writing some new options now with the stock in the toilet is probably good incentive for the execs. to stay on long term. Most of these guys aren’t the “behind the music” types that forgot to save money — they can ride it out on 500K (+ options/bonus/etc) for quite a while longer than you or I could if we took a 90% pay cut.

          • snowburnt says:

            @Rachacha: This is exactly what we need execs to look at. Rather than an excessive guaranteed salary, get stock options. A successful executive will be rewarded. An unsuccessful one will not.

            • Skybolt says:

              @snowburnt: The problem with this is that what’s good for a CEO’s stock options isn’t always what is best for the company long-term. There are plenty of things you can do to bring up the price of the stock that weaken the company. These guys should get an annual salary and an annual raise like everybody else.

          • Ingram81 says:

            @Rachacha: Thank you for a logical sane and thought out response. We need more people like you on the internet.

        • UnicornMaster says:

          @Ingram81: Are you talking about the “good” part that gave these banks their biggest losses in history? These executives have all failed and they should be on the street like the two old guys at the end of Trading Places.

        • snowburnt says:

          @Ingram81: You mean like the “good CEOs” we have that ruin companies by either keeping with the status quo and act as a figure head or encourage short term growth and long term failure so that they can get fired after 5 years and collect their golden parachute?

          A real CEO with ambition and foresight would take a job for less than 500,000 knowing full well that when he gets the company out of the mess they’re in he’ll be raking it in. He can either renegotiate and make 10 times as much, go to another company and make 10 times as much or realize how important it is for morale and for the bottom line for the CEO to not have a multimillion dollar salary and to only make a bonus if they drive the company to success.

          How demoralizing is it for a CEO to get $10 million when the company posts record losses quarter after quarter?

        • ModernDemagogue says:

          @Ingram81: Yeah, and they just went to fiscally sound companies that don’t run ponzi schemes, create false markets, and charge inflated percentages and/or transactional fees, creating incentive to induce volatility.

          They just went to go lead innovative and productive companies. Or they just started their own small banks and brokerages to compete with the now-defunct monopoly called Wall Street. Man, that sucks.

          You’re really just not that smart.

          • Ingram81 says:

            @ModernDemagogue: Dude you are full of fail. Wall Street a monopoly? BWAH HAHA AHAHAHAHAA.

            Seriously do you have any idea how many different markets there are around the WORLD? Calling Wall Street a monopolistic market is like saying Coca Cola is a monopoly.

            Competent executives do exist, but think about it this way, why would you ever go from a job paying 1.5 mill a year with very little govt and public oversight, to a job that pays 1/3 and has all that added headache?

        • papahoth says:

          @Ingram81: There is no limit in stock options they can receive and cash once they paid the government back. Give me a break.

        • BlazerUnit says:

          @Ingram81: If you don’t think they’re aren’t good management people who’d overlook the $500k capped salary for a chance at running a big company, you’re crazy. If they can get the company back into profitability, they can probably set their own salary the next time its re-negotiated.

          Like the sports metaphor goes, sometimes the assistant coaches do have all the answers, and hold them back.

          • Ingram81 says:

            @BlazerUnit: If that was only the case than I could understand what you were saying. But there are other issues that come along with taking one of these capped jobs. Namely the amount of govt and public oversight. I can’t imagine having to please both your stock holders, the ignorant public, and the corrupt government, all at the same time, all for $500k, and even if you can do all that, people are still going to talk shit about you performance.

      • alstein says:

        @xtc46:
        As opposed to high cost, low quality executives?

        It’s a start.

      • DanielleTexodus says:

        @xtc46:

        It’s called “Globalization” hire a highly qualified CEO from a country where the average CEO only make 6 or 7 times that of the lowest paid full time employee, not 30 or more.

      • Gorphlog says:

        @xtc46:

        And the ones that were already in office werent poor quality? They drove their companies into the ground

    • Tallanvor says:

      @drb023: If they want the freedom to make whatever they want, they have it. They just have to decide not to take the government’s money.

    • ceez says:

      @drb023:
      let them suffer for a bit….they’re way over paid anyways.

      and no, we’re not in cuba, but dont abuse of the money being given to you by the government which is being taken out of tax payers….those tax payers that are suffering so you can go and buy a corporate yet.

      someone said that no good CEO will work for 500k for such large companies……errr….mr president works for 400k to take care of the entire country here and abroad…..seems fair to me.

    • oneliketadow says:

      @drb023: Because it’s my frakking money, bitch!

    • bohemian says:

      @drb023: This is just pointing out that the CEO whining that they can’t live on $500k is total bullcrap. Private school and other insane luxuries are just that, luxuries. If you can’t afford them don’t buy them. These people are asking for US to subsidize their lifestyle. That is totally counter to the capitalism meme that you can do whatever you want with your money. Of course you can do whatever you want with your money but you do not get a taxpayer handout to support your hooker habit and your trophy wife’s botox.

      These clowns need to do what they are suddenly telling everyone else to do, live within their means.

    • RandomHookup says:

      @drb023: Heaven forbid people work in a system where the earnings are capped and employees are considered property of the organization. The talent is deliberated assigned through a lottery system to the poorest performing organizations. Employee rights are limited and they can be discarded at any time, but can only move to another job after achieving substantial seniority. Even then, the central authority controls how much they can be paid and possibly where they can move.

      Soviet Union or Cuba? No, the NBA and the NFL.

      • ModernDemagogue says:

        @RandomHookup: Clap. Clap. Clap.

        Nicely done sir.

      • IamNotToddDavis says:

        @RandomHookup: Heh, what’s the max salary of an NBA or NFL executive?

        I can safely estimate it is well above $500k.

        Hell, what’s the average salary of one of their workers?

        And this is relevant to normal jobs like manufacturing/finance/service how?

      • Ingram81 says:

        @RandomHookup: Yes actually please heaven forbid. Because someone/some team is sucking, they should automatically be given the best talent to help bring them up? PUHLeeez. All that means is that crappier teams get better while the better teams get crappier (age/depreciating assets) so we have the great communistic ideology of make everyone average. Because average makes everyone feel better about themselves.

    • Mike_Hawk says:

      @drb023: @xtc46: I’m sorry, remind me what how one identifies a “poor” CEO and how are they not the ones currently running the banks?

      I’m all for spending your money any way you want, but as soon as tax money is supplementing the income of these jack asses, I have a problem with it. Obviously they suck at business, maybe they should try a new line of work (also, please remind me again how these clowns are “good” at what they do?)

  2. geoffhazel says:

    Realize that when these people are spending $500,000 a year, it’s money going back into the economy, circulating around. And a lot of it goes to “low wage” earners, like the teachers at the private school, the janitors at the school — well, you get the idea.

    Let’s not let jealousy or envy cloud our minds to the positive effects of having someone rich spending money like crazy and stimulating the economy without any govt bailouts.

    • floraposte says:

      @geoffhazel: But it’s not without government bailouts–that’s the point. These are people from companies seeking and/or receiving bailouts. Which means they’re locking into a standard of living on taxpayer money, and as a taxpayer, I think my money would be much better spent on infrastructure than on $16,000 worth of vacations per year. I mean, I suspect the recession is hurting deBeers like crazy, too, but I’m not exactly crying in my soup over them.

      I like the article’s point that this is a class standard rather than a life necessity, but I think it’s interesting to contemplate how much such standards respond to style and trends–in other words, that this is follower, not leader spending. I wonder if some sharp financier/CEO will attempt to make a public virtue of personal austerity?

      • Chris Walters says:

        @floraposte: re. follower and leader spending, and making a public virtue of personal austerity — this is exactly what I was wondering as I wrote this post. Here’s a perfect time for a leader to demonstrate even more leadership through a more frugal public lifestyle.

      • wardawg says:

        @floraposte: Costco CEO Jim Senegal actually believes that making somewhere on the order of 1000 times more than front line employees is bad for employee morale… go figure… [www.forbes.com]

    • richcreamerybutter says:

      @geoffhazel: I’m confident that currently poor people can spend just as crazily as the rich, given the chance.

      • XTC46 says:

        @richcreamerybutter: Most “poor people” have no idea to manage a any large amount of money and would blow through it much faster than a prson who has been “rich” for a while.

        There is a reason the families that make money through hardwork and good business stay rich while lottery winners go broke. Hint: Its not luck.

        • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

          @xtc46: Sorry to disappoint, but if I won the lottery tomorrow, 100% of what I got would be going into some type of investment – a house, and the rest into a bank. period.

          • XTC46 says:

            @Oranges w/ Cheese: congrats, you arent “most poor people”

            But the fact is, most people are poor becasue they were never taugh proper money managment. This was realised by a lot of very wealthy families, and they realised that thir spoiled kids were going to lose their fortune their families had built, so now they educate their kids. There are summer camps dedicated to money mangement for wealthy children so they dont get overwhlemed and blow the money. This is why we need financial education as a requirment in school. So those who arent born welthy have a better shot of accumilating wealth, otherwise there will always be a huge gap between the ultra wealthy and the poor.

            • Dethzilla says:

              @xtc46: Here here… President O needs to include that in the bailout package. He can probably get Some ex child Actors to teach the classes too… of course 10% of their salary will go towards their agents, 80% to their parents who sued them, and another 50% to the drug dealer.

              wait…

              someone’s not getting paid.

          • Cyberxion101 says:

            @Oranges w/ Cheese: Same here.

        • mac-phisto says:

          @xtc46: i take offense to the idea that “all it takes is hard work to be rich”. that’s total tripe. a great many rich people in this country are trustifarians – living off generations of accumulated wealth.

          likewise, a great many people are hard working individuals/families that despite a solid work ethic & good education still struggle to make ends meet. & it’s not b/c they’re blowing all their money on lottery tickets. it’s b/c of an arcane belief that the worker is only worth what his hands can produce (or rather what his hands can produce in comparison to hands of similar worth) whereas the manager is worth the full measure of his potential to lead.

          the man behind the desk does not deserve to reap all the benefits of a company’s labor without paying for the consequences of his actions. a business owner deserves his fat cut – he risks his livelihood to peddle his wares. but a business manager? he is nothing but a steward! a maitre d! a butler! he risks nothing! & yet he manages to squirrel away an embarrassing piece of the company’s coffers – why?

          executive wages need some serious re-thinking in this nation – do i support a cap? no. but we should not be rewarding the head servant as if he is the lord of the manor. if he is that enterprising of an individual, let him build his own castle & lord over his own creation!

          • XTC46 says:

            @mac-phisto: Idiots don’t stay rich, that is all there is to it. If a kid inherits all of his money, and never learns to manage it, or at the very least pays someone to manage it, he is going to lose it to someone smarter. Generational wealth stays in place becasue families take the necessary steps to educate their kids and give them every advantage possible.

            Yea there are a lot of hard working people who cant seem to catch a break, but there are way more lazy people who claim they work hard. I grew up broke. My parents were split before I was born, my mom was in school when she had me. We caught the bus everywhere and lived in a studio until I was 6 (me, my mom and my sister). I went to a crappy public school while my mom worked her ass off to keep up alive. My mom eventually married an a guy from mexico, he busted his ass on construction sites from the day he got here. He got his citizenship, and now, becasue they worked hard, they own a small construction company.

            I worked 2 full time jobs to put my self through college, and now I work a great job in the IT field. I know a lot of kids who were much more well off than I was growing up who now flip burgers becasue daddy stopped cutting them checks.

            Hard work is what gets you places and hard work keeps you there.

            • mac-phisto says:

              @xtc46: i apologize…it appears i misread your post & thought it was commentary on the OP, which is entirely what my reply was about.

              incidentally, while we’re on the topic of generational wealth -> “Generational wealth stays in place becasue [sic] families take the necessary steps to educate their kids”

              …or lock them out of the decision-making process of the trust. being a connecticut resident (“the place where money & dreams come to die”), i’m surrounded by generational wealth & i have to say – many of these people resemble lottery winners more than the sons/daughters of american wealth. they live from trust fund check to trust fund check, blowing their money on impulse purchases & poor investments. many of them don’t even have the ambition to complete a 4-year degree program, or hold a steady job. it’s actually pretty pathetic.

              but i digress. generational wealth doesn’t bother me quite as much as this idea that executives are entitled to multi-million dollar paydays & lavish lifestyles despite their inability to perform.

    • U-235 says:

      @geoffhazel:
      Its not jelousy on my part. I’m hoping that a $500,000 a year cap for companies that have taken a chunck of my tax money will choke to death from an abundance on ineptitude generated by salary caps. That way they’ll die like they should have in the first place, allowing healthy banks to pick the meat off of their bloated carcasses.

    • veronykah says:

      @geoffhazel: Trickle down economics?
      A simple google search shows it doesn’t work.

      [www.nytimes.com]

    • What The Geek says:

      @geoffhazel: Here’s the thing – I don’t care if someone makes $500k or more a year through working their way to the top, running a company efficiently, and investing wisely. In those cases, they earned it, and they should spend it as they see fit. We’re talking about executives in failing companies. People who are doing a terrible job of running their companies, and asking for tax payer dollars to help ease their financial woes. These are the people responsible for the failing economy and their the ones taking millions and billions of bailout dollars to pay their salaries. Since it’s my money that’s paying their salary, I feel I have every right to pay attention to, and have a say in what they do with it. I’m loaning them money against my will, and as such, I’m going to complain about it as loudly and as often as I possibly can.

    • parad0x360 says:

      @geoffhazel: I;d be willing to bet most of their purchases are of a non American variety. Do they buy Ford’s or Ferrari’s? Do they buy clothes made in USA or Italy? See where I’m going here?

      Sure some of their money makes it to the average citizen but most doesnt.

    • MeOhMy says:

      @Ash78:

      This is very true…but when I see talk of a salary cap, I see it less as “punishing those responsible” and more “unfairly restricting those in charge of solving the problems”

      Good point, but at the same time I’ve never begrudged the CEO of any company I’ve worked at for earning the big bucks during the good times. What has bothered me is the reverse is not always true. Shouldn’t they be the first to take a hit in the bad times? Even if the bad times are due to circumstances completely beyond their control.

      Anyway, I personally see salary caps for execs as more of a deterrent than anything else. You like living your current cushy lifestyle? Stop playing Snood all day in your cushy office and start running your company.

    • bohemian says:

      @geoffhazel: Give 500k to one CEO and it might help one teacher, one driver etc. Use that 500k to do a public works project or extend unemployment for some people and you just helped hundreds or thousands. Trickle down economics doesn’t work.

    • sburnap42 says:

      @geoffhazel: In that case, please give me the part of the bailout that comes from my tax money so I can pay a nanny for my own kid.

  3. RandomHookup says:

    Well, you won’t have to feed the nanny or the chauffer, so that should cut down on groceries right there.

  4. jaydez says:

    Instead of living in the City, they could also move upstate or to CT and use Metro North like the rest of the Pee-ons. Oh, and the public schools are MUCH better outside the city.

    • aloe vera says:

      @jaydez: Please, don’t send any more of these jackasses to CT! We’re overrun by them as it is.

      • jaydez says:

        @aloe vera:

        I live in CT, I know… but I live near Hartford so we have fewer of them… oh wait… forgot about West Hartford. Okay, we have enough jackasses.

        Hey CEOs. I hear Westchester county is really nice! ;)

        • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

          @jaydez: I live in Stmaford, the more of them that come the higher our property values go, also it’s because of them that our local economy is still going strong.

          But on the otherhand if your a douche, please Westchester County is <<<<<——— that way.

          Oh and I drive into the city eveyday. $180 for metro north, plus metro card, plus metro-north parking.

          I’d rather have the hour drive and listen to NPR.

    • Trai_Dep says:

      @jaydez: Yeah, but ‘burb drugs are a LOT more expensive, so it sorta washes itself out.

      • mac-phisto says:

        @Trai_Dep: how so? my doctor gives me free samples of percocets & oxycodone every thursday after the drug rep stops by. ;)

        to the fellow nutmeggers: i think it’s time we built a wall.

        & when we’re done, i’m throwing jodi rell over it.

  5. nicemarmot617 says:

    Ummm…do you have any clue what you’re talking about? This populist crap is starting to annoy me. Not that having these kinds of expenses isn’t ridiculous. Of course it is. But you guys just don’t know what you’re talking about. This is Manhattan – everything is ridiculous here.

    As a non-rich resident of Manhattan I can say the following:

    -I would not send any child of mine to the public schools here, at least not for elementary school, unless I wanted them to learn nothing except for gang signs.
    -There is no such thing as a house in Manhattan with no co-op fees unless you own a townhouse, which has its own sets of fees. All apartments have co-op or condo fees.
    -Park below 65th street? Park where? In another garage? It will cost the same. There is no place to park in Manhattan unless you are willing to risk having your car badly damaged by parking it on the street – I’ve seen cars set on fire, jumped on, pissed on, etc etc – not to mention what that will do to your insurance costs.

    Please know what you are talking about before making posts like this. You’re basically saying “Leave Manhattan, assholes!” without actually coming out and saying it.

    • shoelace414 says:

      @nicemarmot617: There are quite a few people that live on Manhattan on less than $500,000

    • Pylon83 says:

      @nicemarmot617:
      You basically hit the nail on the head. As someone planning a move to NYC very soon, this doesn’t come as a surprise to me. It’s a very expensive city to live in, which is in part why the salaries are so high. This post is essentially saying “Your lifestyle is wrong, so change it”. Most of the guys making these big salaries have worked long and hard to get to where they are, and it’s wrong to judge the lifestyles they’ve come to lead like this. Some of the stuff may be a bit extravagant, but that’s not for us to judge. I think part of the point of the NYT article was to simply expose how much it costs to live in Manhattan. It’s a lifestyle choice and it comes with certain expenses. As Nicemarmot pointed out, you don’t buy a “house” in Manhattan, that is unless you’re just obscenely wealthy and own one of the few single-family homes. Co-op maintenance fees and condo association dues are just part of the gig, you can’t get away from them.

      • ModernDemagogue says:

        @Pylon83: Please do not move to my city. Stay away you prick.

        The post is saying their lifestyle is wrong, so change it, because, their lifestyle IS WRONG, and they SHOULD change it. This IS for use to judge. Most people in the world have worked long and hard to get where they are, no matter where they are or what they are doing. But of course, it makes sense that a corporate executive running a massive multinational that lost X billions last year would be entitled to just compensation for all of the risks he took, those long nights he put in ordering sushi and sitting in a $2000 leather chair in a climate controlled building. I’m sure pretty much everyone working in the third world has such accoutrements. Oh, wait, they’re not people, they’re just lazy mexicans who make your socks. Drug dealers work long hours and take huge risks, somehow I’m more okay with them keeping their money; after all, they could get shot. Not just put under house-arrest, or, even worse, given a multimillion dollar bonus for the work of a highly trained monkey (monkey’s have now been taught how to read and vocalize, pretty much all you need to do in order to manipulate financial markets). If bankers and financiers want huge paydays, let them take huge risks. Put something substantial on the line as collateral.

        The people who I love seeing in New York are the ones who come here for the civilization, the humanity of it all, the culture, the music, the art. The ones who make the city rich and vibrant, not in financial wealth, but in environmental and experiential wealth. As Kerouac said, the Mad Ones.

        You just made a tacit argument for coming here for the money, a slightly higher paying job, and a lifestyle that is objectively morally abhorrent. So in short, don’t. You will meet me or someone else in the street, get decked, and then complain to your friends at a terrible bar or dinner party. You may even write a shitty article in the Sunday Style section, that makes the rest of the country loathe us a city even more; when in fact, it’s a part of us we hate ourselves.

        • nicemarmot617 says:

          @ModernDemagogue: So basically, you’re willing to stereotype all wealthy people as lazy, useless, nepotistic pieces of crap, yet you object to being stereotyped as a lazy mexican who makes socks?

          • Ingram81 says:

            @nicemarmot617: He’s a troll and an idiot. He thinks that no one should be better off than himself and his retarded idea that everyone’s time is “equal” crap.

            “If bankers and financiers want huge paydays, let them take huge risks. Put something substantial on the line as collateral.” ~ they do you moron. It’s called their professional reputation. If they are responsible for sinking a corporation, how many companies do you think will be willing to touch them AT ALL? At least a crack dealer, if he goes bankrupt, can rob someone else, and go buy more crack to start selling again.

            • ModernDemagogue says:

              @Ingram81:

              “At least a crack dealer, if he goes bankrupt, can rob someone else, and go buy more crack to start selling again.” Are you trying to win my point? So can, and do, bankers and corporate executives. Plus, failure is so highly rewarded one never needs to work again. Professional reputation is not risk. Life and limb are risk. Madoff is really the only one I’ve seen in a long time who truly staked everything and risked his “network.”

              I’m actually very well off; I don’t care about people being more well off, I care about people being so poorly off they can barely even survive. That their struggle on a day to day basis is so vastly disproportionate to their reward and the level of happiness they might attain. That for some reason, because I am white, male, and went to the best schools in the country, I am somehow better, or “worth” more than most other people. This is wrong. I am not saying people have varying worth; I am saying that everyone has worth, yet so many are treated as though they don’t.

              Either you agree with me or you don’t. But if you don’t you are wrong, and a bad person.

              Anyway, if you want to debate, at least analyze my arguments correctly rather than taking these straw men you create to task. It’s pathetic.

              • Ingram81 says:

                @ModernDemagogue: “Professional reputation is not risk. Life and limb are risk.” In the business world, and especially at the executive level, your professional reputation is ABSOLUTELY everything. Imagine no one being willing to hire you and that’s just the start. You lose all your friends, associates, etc. Basically your world implodes.

                Yes I’m quite fine with the fact that I’m a bad person cause I don’t agree with you, and think that there are some people out there who aren’t worth the flesh and bones they are composed of. Rapist, child molesters, murderers, etc. So people do have varying worth and if you can’t see that then you truly are the one who deserves pity.

                I don’t know where race or gender came into this discussion but whatever. You can go cry about the homeless and their plight. Since you are well off as you say I suggest you invite several of them to come and live with you, or you could also sell all of your possessions and donate it to them so they can be better off. I mean hell I struggle every day too. I’ve got to do my own laundry, cut my own grass, and even fix my own food. If those people are so poorly off in the world, surely then they should be willing to cut my grass or wash my car for a few dollars. Oh what they aren’t? They think they should be entitled to make a good wage? Maybe they should be willing to work for whatever I’m willing to pay them, instead of the government forcing me to donate charity towards them. My point in saying that is that EVERYONE has their own “struggles” in life. Who are you to tell me that my struggles aren’t as tantamount as someone else?

            • alexcassidy says:

              @Ingram81: I dunno, Bob Nardelli of Chrysler seems to get chance after chance to run his companies into the ground

            • RvLeshrac says:

              @is Screen Name:

              All of them. The vast majority of CEOs at failed companies are, actually, transplants from other failed companies. They run one company into the ground, and then move on to another and another. That’s why most of us keep asking the question:

              If they companies they run keep failing, how do they keep getting jobs?

          • ModernDemagogue says:

            @nicemarmot617: I don’t see how that’s either here nor there.

            I am willing to unequivocally state that poverty is bad and should be fixed. All poor people should be able to eat and have healthcare and access to education.

            I am also willing to unequivocally state that no person on this earth needs more than $10 million USD, and any more than that any individual has could be used to help correct the inadequacies and suffering of the poor. If such an individual were to object to putting their excess wealth toward the greater good of humanity, I would view them most harshly, and hope society would come to share my opinion.

            I can not identify with someone who sits in such extreme wealth, comfort, and opulence, but then does little to aide his fellow man. I cannot identify that person as another human being; only a monster.

    • Chris Walters says:

      @nicemarmot617: I live in NYC too, in Brooklyn, but before that I lived on the Upper East Side, then in Astoria, Queens, then in Inwood, then between the East Village and Gramercy. So I know Manhattan.

      That’s the point about the house–move out of Manhattan and commute. If you’re living on a government handout, you can’t afford a coop building in Manhattan.

      Public schools are indeed subpar. That’s the snarky hidden commentary in that suggestion.

      I did a quick search for parking garage prices and saw that monthly fees seemed to drop if you started looking below about 64th street on either side of the park. Granted, this was a cursory look, but it led me to believe that if you were willing to do some research *and* park in a less popular part of the city, you could find a lower monthly fee. Failing that, you can try parking on the street. It’s hard work, but lots of poor people do it all the time.

      So yeah, I do know what I’m talking about. And I firmly support this woman and think the people bitching about her are complete idiots, so I’m not blindly populist. But the point here is you don’t *have* to live at any specific level; it’s a choice. I have trouble believing anyone is trapped at a certain level of spending.

      • nicemarmot617 says:

        @Chris Walters: If you’re only talking about the bailed out companies that’s one thing. But you don’t say that in your post. You in fact refer to the average fancy pants rich person. Surprisingly, that caused me to assume you intended this for all rich people. And yes, the assholes at the bailed out companies should move someplace cheaper – they should also lose their jobs. Then they’d be making even less than $500k!

      • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

        @Chris Walters: If you’re living on a government handout…

        But if I’m one of the executives in this shitty company that’s actually made money and part of the reason we havnt fully slipped under, well then they can take that $500K and shove it.

        Or you just fired your inept CEO, you want me to come in, work 20 hour days to save your company, which might not even be possible, in wich case my name is now tarnished with this poop-hole you call [insert company name here]…

        AND YOUR GOING TO PAY ME WHAT!!!?!?!?!?!

      • bohemian says:

        @Chris Walters: You made a good point about certain public schools. Maybe these CEOs should do what all of us regular people do. Move somewhere that the school district isn’t crap. Or they could help start a charter school so their kids can get a functional public school education.

    • veronykah says:

      @nicemarmot617: Hm, I lived in Manhattan and never made $100,000.
      I have a friend who just BOUGHT an apartment, I can surely wager that as a bartender she doesn’t make anywhere near $500,000. She also has a vehicle that she, PARKS on the STREET!!!
      I have an other set of friends who are married who OWN their own apartment and also have a vehicle, they park on the street too.
      The husband works for sanitation, guess he isn’t making 500k. Oh, their daughter? Yeah, she goes to public school in the East Village.
      Its kind of amazing isn’t it?

      • Beerad says:

        @veronykah: Actually, sanitation workers in NYC have a pretty good pay scale: $67,141 after 5 1/2 years. I’m also going to go out on a limb and guess that your friend the bartender doesn’t live in Manhattan, or if she does doesn’t have a family to share a tiny space with. Or maybe she has a trust fund. I know plenty of NYC bartenders, and ain’t none of them own their own place.

        • veronykah says:

          @Beerad: $67,000 still isn’t anywhere near $500k…
          And yes, my friend the bartender DOES live in Manhattan. She has a 1 br that is actually quite spacious. No trust fund.

    • ModernDemagogue says:

      @nicemarmot617: Hey Marmot- STFU.

      This populist crap is great. As another non-rich resident of Manhattan I would like to say, get off my boat.

      1) Hunter. PS6. Perfectly good public schools, elementary. I went to private school, but those are perfectly acceptable options.

      2) Co-op and condo fees that equal your mortgage payment are purely ludicrous. A perfectly acceptable $2 million 3 bedroom would have roughly $2-3k/month in co-op or condo fees, tops.

      3) If you don’t buy a $200k car, you don’t give a shit if it gets beat up. This is why you have a city car thats for moving around (if you have kids) such as a Toyota. And an Aston Martin for driving around in the Hamptons. Also, if you don’t have kids, take the fucking subway like everyone else, or, flag a cab, it will still cost you less than an hour of parking.

      4) I’m coming out and saying leave manhattan, asshole. I’ve lived here my entire life, a family can live on $1 million income and have a wonderful life. I find it completely appalling that the New York Times would see it fit to publish such a piece of shit with my high school’s picture plastered across the top. I’m mortified. It’s a disgrace. That anyone working at any of these companies involved in trashing our financial system would think compensation greater than this amount justified is absolutely absurd.

      Lets keep bailing out the superclass. And lets watch our beautiful city burn when the masses find out what has been done to them in the name of their precious retirement funds.

      • Notsewfast says:

        @Pylon83:

        “Some of the stuff may be a bit extravagant, but that’s not for us to judge.”

        They are being paid with loans from the US taxpayers, so I’d say that it is our job to judge how much they are paid. If they’d like to make more, they will be able to as soon as their employers pay the taxpayers back.

        As others have said, I don’t weep for these people. They made tens of millions in the past few years, I seriously doubt any executives are living paycheck-to paycheck.

      • Nunya B says:

        @ModernDemagogue: Since my only issue with this entire post is the suggestion that public education replace private- Hunter College HS is just as hard to get into as the hardest prep school in the city. Parents throw money after tutors and whatever else they can find to try to get their kids to ace the entrance exams.

    • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

      @nicemarmot617: “You’re basically saying ‘Leave Manhattan, assholes!’ without actually coming out and saying it.”

      Um, ok. Leave Manhattan, assholes! ;)

    • Anonymous says:

      @nicemarmot617: Umm, no. There is plenty of street parking, if, gasp, you want to live a bit further away from midtown. The previous poster was wrong, but so are you. OMG! You might have to get on the subway with the scum. OMG!

      As far as co-op and condo fees, again, stop living in the HEART OF THE CITY. MIDTOWN. IS. EXPENSIVE. I’m sure all the young professionals living on the UES or the working families up in Washington Heights don’t pay stupid condo association or co-op fees. You’re just being an elitist.

      And NYC public schools are fairly awesome. Have you ever heard of Manhattan Center for Math and Science? No? Look it up. You might be surprised.

      Essentially, your defense of these idiots complaining about a $500,000 salary cap is completely retarded. You pose that you’re not rich, but you sure talk like it. There is PLENTY of parking in Manhattan… I drive a land-yacht(Suburban) and sure can find parking all the time. Mind you, I don’t venture much further south than 90th street when I drive, so keep that in mind. Manhattan’s a pretty big place, it doesn’t just include places with views of Central Park and Columbus Square.

    • exconsumer9 says:

      @nicemarmot617: I flat out don’t understand the entitlement issues here. If you’re making less than or around 500k . . . I’m not sure why you think the suggestions of these articles are the product of jealousy. It’s true, if you can’t afford something, I tend to think you shouldn’t buy it. There’s no class warfare waged on the upper class in thinking that.

      As for why the banks that take the bailout money should take a pay cut (which I think is the issue) I think it’s obvious: They don’t have the money. I have my own business, but I can’t pay myself 27 million . . . because I don’t actually have that much. If I were to show a business plan that included that income for myslef, they would laugh at me, and show me the door. Similarly, these banks were in financial trouble, and took out a loan, an emergency loan at that . . . and then spent it on themselves instead of restructuring their business. The actual profits made by the bank can’t support the salaries they are currently paying, and they are so daft that they don’t really understand that. I’d love to just let them fail, be we can’t do that: so the hammer had to come down.

      I’m not asking them to live on $500 K because it makes me feel better, I’m asking them because their bank will fail under the weight of compensation that’s totally unconnected to company performance.

    • lannister80 says:

      @nicemarmot617: These douche executives are lucky we don’t fucking hang them for what they’ve done to our country. And they expect to live like kings on *our* dime? After causing MILLIONS of people to lose their jobs? Eat shit and die buddy.

    • Anonymous says:

      @nicemarmot617: @nicemarmot617:

      “I would not send any child of mine to the public schools here, at least not for elementary school, unless I wanted them to learn nothing except for gang signs.”

      What an ignorant thing to say. I’m a product of the NYC Public School education system, and there are plenty of great schools out there. Stuyvesant, Bronx Science, Hunter, Brooklyn Tech for starters.

      Most of my friends ended up in Ivy league schools from attending public schools.

      “There is no such thing as a house in Manhattan with no co-op fees unless you own a townhouse, which has its own sets of fees. All apartments have co-op or condo fees.”

      First of all, townhomes generally won’t have co-op fees because most of them are individually owned. Secondly, common charges for condominiums are far usually cheaper than co-op fees.

      And if you live in a new construction, chances are you’ll have a 10-year tax abatement.

      I’m really annoyed by your comment about public schools. You clearly don’t know anything about what it means to live in New York City by that comment alone.

  6. shoelace414 says:

    This is up there for the number one post on consumerist. Congratulations!

  7. North of 49 says:

    I find equating “the other spouse” with the nanny service insulting.
    Who says “the other spouse” isn’t also working? And if they aren’t, what gives you the right to say what they should or shouldn’t be doing? That their value is less because their spouse makes a high wage? Or a low one for that matter?
    I could rant further, but I’m just too… mad.

    • teh says:

      @North of 49: Well, if the other spouse is working, then that should add enough money to the household budget to afford that nanny.

    • Chris Walters says:

      @North of 49: The argument being made is this family can’t live on one spouse’s $500K annual salary. If both are working, they have more than $500K a year, and they can add the nanny fee back in.

      Motherhood, fatherhood, parenting — none of these is a disrespectful path in life. You’re looking for an insult where none exists.

    • craptastico says:

      @North of 49: i think you’re off base a little here. they do jump to assume the other spouse isn’t working, but that generally is the case for this social class. he merely says if the mother (or father, the author never specifies gender)isn’t working that it’s unnecesarry to get a nanny. i don’t see how you can disagree with that. if one parent isn’t working they should raise the kid, unless you’d rather them be raised by a stranger, in which case you probably shouldn’t be having kids.

    • trellis23 says:

      @North of 49:
      Wow. Can you say calm down? The point was, that if the article is talking about surviving on JUST $500,000, then the assumption is that there is no other income. Which means the spouse isn’t working. And in that case, why is there a nanny? So they can go shopping? Or book clubs or whatever? I don’t think that anyone was suggesting that anyone quit their job. But if they do have a job, their income needs to be included in the “But we can’t survive on just $???,???” game.

    • HFC says:

      @North of 49: Are you saying that a stay-at-home caregiver’s value is less than their working partner? That’s what it looks like. Some would argue that the one raising the children is more valuable than the one making money.

    • Ingram81 says:

      @North of 49: Stating 1.) The other spouse is working, and that their income does not match the $500,000 income of the other spouse does mean that their time is not as valuable. By that I mean even salaried employees can translate their salary into hourly income wage, and if you make 2x as much as a guy working at McDonalds, then yes your time is more valuable.
      2.)If the other spouse is not working, then why do they need to hire a nanny?

    • soundreasoning says:

      @North of 49: Let’s see, if they are living off 500K then the other spouse must not be working since that 500k is equal to one spouse’s pay. If that spouse did work then the household income would be higher than 500K and they would not have to find a way to live off of 500K but whatever the combined income is. let’s use our deductive reasoning, eh?
      PS if both are indeed working a nanny might still not be necessary. Believe it or not, less affluent families where all of the “heads of the family” work somehow manage without nannies everyday. I know it’s shocking.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @soundreasoning: It’s called daycare, and it costs money as well. With nannies, you’re generally not charged per child, and with daycares, you are. A friend of mine was adding up the cost of daycare for two kids, versus a nanny for them because both she and her husband work. A nanny was cheaper for them because they weren’t going to be charged per child, and the children can be at home.

    • exconsumer9 says:

      @North of 49: Again, we’re talking affordability here. If you can’t afford something . . . well . . . you can’t afford it. If one spouse staying home while the other works a traditional job would bring down expenses to a workable level . . well, then I think you should consider it. It’s got nothing to do with who should or shouldn’t work.

  8. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    The problem is that the logical end to the above could be a similar list, explaining to middle-class people why they’re so wasteful and should be living like the lower classes. It never ends, and its not our place to decide all the threshholds.

    I’m for executive pay caps for bailout money, but we need more scientific, less arbitrary. This is the country that brought you the most complex tax code in the modern world–surely we can do better than “durr, half million dollars!”

    • teh says:

      @Ash78: Most people in the middle-class are wasteful. Why do you think they had to go into debt? The point of this post is not “you should complain about making only $500K per year,” but “live within your means.” I don’t care if you make $500K or $50K, if you can’t afford it, it should be cut.

    • B says:

      @Ash78: We’ve seen those lists a hundred times before, all the lists about cutting spending that recommend not eating out as much and not going to Starbucks, for example. As for a scientific way to determine how much people get paid, we already have that, it’s called the free market. If these bank execs want to get paid more, they’re free to find a job that will pay them.

      • Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

        @B: And those people will probably find other employment.

        So how will these companies (esp. banks) attract any good talent at all? Especially in NYC, Boston, SF, or any of the other prohibitively costly banking cities.

    • hypnotik_jello says:

      @Ash78: The middle class isn’t taking bailout monies. End of fucking story.

      • Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

        @hypnotik_jello: Sure they are. That’s the bulk of the people who work at the companies taking bailout money.

        So are we going to start taking issue with EVERY employee at a bailed out firm?

        What if the $500k CEO is underpaid compared to an overpaid $150k database administrator? Who’s to decide at that level?

        • hypnotik_jello says:

          @Ash78: Hmmm, I see your point. But I’d argue that the database administrator isn’t making crucial business decisions which affect how the business is run.

          • Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

            @hypnotik_jello: This is very true…but when I see talk of a salary cap, I see it less as “punishing those responsible” and more “unfairly restricting those in charge of solving the problems”

            I might be a little shortsighted, but I have work with execs at a couple of banks and usually the guys who create problems are gone (usually through “resignation”). Most of the people still around are working hard to right the ship.

      • ElizabethD says:

        @hypnotik_jello:

        This.

      • XTC46 says:

        @hypnotik_jello: the bailout money is going to pay the middle class.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Ash78: The fact that I can be counted as part of the middle class means I can afford certain luxuries, such as better quality food. Just because you can live close to the edge of poverty, doesn’t mean you should. If we could all survive living like the “lower class,” it wouldn’t be considered such a bad thing to be part of the “lower class.” The fact is, we all want to get ourselves up the ladder. I would be perfectly fine making the kind of income that would make me upper class. It doesn’t mean a damn thing to me other than I can afford certain things, and have financial security for my family, and that it means I can give more to the community. But let’s not pretend that the middle class is a bad thing.

  9. artieb says:

    I dig the snark and the options presented, especially the Netflix subscription. However, I didn’t have a fancy private education, I went to ‘gasp’ public, so I can’t tally the difference presented. Could you do it for me?

    • LuluStarPony says:

      @artieb: NOOOOOO! NOT FRACTIONS! My public school education did not equip me for this!

    • ZekeSulastin says:

      @artieb: Depending on the district, public or private may be better, depending on the monies involved and ESPECIALLY the will to learn and will to teach present in those there.

      I’ve been to a public school whose students held themselves to such standards that when I transferred into what was honestly a mediocre-at-best school people thought I went to a private school, despite ostensibly having more money. It’s about the learning culture inside.

      Of course, feel free to snark away on here :)

  10. Its The Beer Talking says:

    “You’re not going to get through private school without tutoring a kid”

    Somebody’s gonna need to explain this one to me.

    I can understand reluctance to send your kid to a public school, but imparting good study habits to your kid shouldn’t cost money.

    SAT tutors are about $250 an hour

    I rocked the ACT (32) and it cost me $20 for a prep book from Kaplan. They don’t give you a more difficult standardized test based on where you live or how much money your dad makes. That’s why it’s called a STANDARDIZED test.

    • XTC46 says:

      @Its The Beer Talking: Good, you were able to learn from a book on your own. I didnt get a study guide and I did well on my ACT and SATs, I know people who spent weeks going to study sessions for the exams that did worse than me, I also know people who studied and did better than me.

      The point is, differnt people lear differnt ways. Some cant just buy a book and learn on their own, not efficiently anyway.

    • quail says:

      @Its The Beer Talking:

      Agreed. But remember, it’s at those prep schools and at those SAT/ACT study seminars that those kids develop their fast networked buddy system. The system that doesn’t work on meritocracy but on who you know. That’s the real reason parents pay crazy prices for that stuff for their kids.

    • lannister80 says:

      @Its The Beer Talking: Woot! A fellow 32-er. And I got a 26 on the math portion, my other scores must have been awesome to average to 32.

      Of course, that was more than a decade ago and I’m sure college killed half my brain cells.

    • varro says:

      @Its The Beer Talking: SAT tutors?

      The less-intelligent children of the executives should heed the words of the immortal Judge Smails: “The world needs ditchdiggers too.”

  11. B says:

    Frozen hot chocolate? Here in real America, we call them fudgcicles. $.50 each

  12. ModernDemagogue says:

    And when our society is even more economically unjust, me with my $32k/year private school education, will lead the masses in destroying you for your greed, lack of compassion, and general crimes against humanity. So,

    1) You’re a selfish ****. If you honestly believe you as a human being are worth more than a single digit multiplier more than any other human being on this planet, you should be taken out behind a power station. You’re worth is not your value to a corporation.

    2) Remember our constitution, one vote one person? Except for blacks who are 3/5ths. Since you’re worth as much as you can make, apparently so much more than another person, who are our modern day 3/5ths? I hope the get your children when they come for you.

    3) Repent. Because, while there is no god, the poor might be merciful. Just like you might consent to returning your marginal tax rate to the pre-Reagan figures of ~70%.

    • Ingram81 says:

      @ModernDemagogue:
      Jesus Christ, I hate the internet because there is no test that bars smack-tards like yourself to post on it.

      1.)Yes some people are worth more than other people. If you cure cancer, yes you are worth more than the guy sleeping in the streets. Moron.

      2.)Really? Really? You dumb ‘uck we have a black president. A BLACK PRESIDENT. Seriously, stfu.

      3.)Yes that seems fair. Predatory taxation on successful people. Basically you want anyone successful to A.)Leave the US B.) Exploit loop holes in tax law/bribe government officials. C.)Teach the children of this country not to work hard cause the tax man will take away anything you’ve actually earned.

      You sir, have made the internet a dumber place, and may God have mercy on your soul.

      • ModernDemagogue says:

        @Ingram81: Haha – Tea, kettle, black.

        1) I did not say everyone was equal. I said no one person was more than 9x more valuable than another person. Now in terms of metaphysical worth that may not be true, but in terms of financial compensation, some multiplier between 10 and 40 probably makes sense. That you think you might be worth more than a plane full of people, automatically means youre not.

        2) So we have a black president, does that mean slavery didn’t happen? Does that mean the phrase in the constitution I referenced was never written. Just because we’re working towards correcting past injustices, doesn’t mean we ignore present ones.

        3) People are successful for many reasons, but mainly because society allows them to become successful. Therefore they have a much greater debt to society. However, the amount of the world’s resources any one individual should be allowed to consume most certainly has an upper bound on it, one that probably should be approached with some sort of logarithmic asymptotic approach, sort of like time dilation when approaching the speed of light. Sure, leave the US and have your money absconded with by a banana republic dictator. Have your children shot in their sleep by the rebellious members of tribal coup. Go ahead, fine with me. Children can be compelled to work hard and be successful by the idea that they can become titans of industry and very wealthy, even with marginal tax rates in excess of 90%. The Rockafellers did it. The more successful (and by the way it seems you’re speaking, more money you have, you’re measuring success in money, not me) you are, the more you owe to society and the civilization you live in for allowing you the preconditions and opportunity for that success and fortune, therefore you an even greater percentage of each further dollar earned, to be used to perpetuate and further the civilization which has benefited you so greatly.

        I’d suggest you reconsider arguing with me; you’re sort of outclassed.

        • Cyberxion101 says:

          @ModernDemagogue: Not that I want to enter this particular debate, but FYI, being able to use fancy words and speak reasonably well doesn’t mean that you’re saying anything of value. So, you know, drop the pretence and the ego kiddo.

        • Ingram81 says:

          @ModernDemagogue: Outclassed? I think the only thing you outclass in terms of intelligence is the crap I took this morning.

          1.) If you are referring to human worth in terms of financial income, then yes some people are worth more in the hourly rate than others. If you are talking about human worth in terms of the value of human life, there are some people worth more than others. I dare say you show me one average person in a grave yard that accomplished more in his life than say Ghandi.

          2.) Of course it doesn’t mean slavery never happened. So what? Do you think black people were the only ones ever to get screwed over in the history of the world? What present injustices are you even referring to? Oh blacks statistically make less? Well duh. As long as they put more importance on things like spinners and plasma tvs, over say education, that statistic is going to stay that way. Some of the best engineers Ive had the privileged of working with have been black, and do you know why? Because they recognized that to make it in this world you need a good education and that you need to be good at what you do. I’m not saying that they didn’t necessarily face some hurdles, but so did I. Our hurdles may have just been different.

          3.) You point out the Rockafellers. The guy that created Standard Oil. Which I’m certain as an educated individual, you recognize the value of things, say monopolies, in the market. Rockafeller made his money being shrewd, screwing people over, and all in all doing illegal business deals. All those oil companies today, BP, Exxon, Phillips, etc. they all came from him. And I’m sure you absolutely love those companies.
          People are successful because they work hard and apply themselves. My father grew up as the son of a broke ass share cropper in rural Alabama. He worked the field in the morning before school, and after school. And school in rural Alabama in the 50’s might as well not existed. He recognized that if he wanted something better for himself he was going to have to work hard to get it. So he went on 2 tours in Nam, got back to the states, took his GI bill, and went to college, and proceeded to make a decent life for himself. So yeah you can make something out of yourself with enough hard work. But I will be damned when you can take my hard work and say that I should give it back to society. Where was society for my father working out in the fields? No where, he had to go get shot at and see his friends die before society would give him crap. So to say that he should now give back 70% or more of what he has rightfully earned so a bunch of whiney lazy ass punk bitches its completely offensive to me.

      • soundreasoning says:

        @Ingram81: I concur with your first sentence, but like in many things we hold mirrors to ourselves through our words and actions.

        1. Ah curing cancer, a great deed but one that relies on many other great and small deeds in order to be accomplished. Without those little things, joe doctor can’t cure cancer anyway, so i guess the mother who raised him, the teachers who educated him, and the guy on the street who bought into the social order and didn’t kill him should be rewarded too. How much should they get? well how much is your life worth to you?

        2. A black President’s existence does not negate the fact of discrimination. Are you really that daft? anyway the original point was who is being marginalized now? Not a commentary on racism. Jesus subtlety is lost…

        3. Predatory taxation on rich people works. Go look at European countries. the recession is a little less pressure filled there…

        See my first statement. except who said you have a soul anyway?

        • Ingram81 says:

          @soundreasoning:

          1.) How much should the guy on the street get for not killing me? Seriously? I don’t even know how to respond to that. The fact that he’s not going to be taken out, and hung in the city square should be more than enough payment for not killing an individual. All of those things, are called personal responsibility. You refer to the mother raising the child. That’s her responsibility. Do you think you should be paid or rewarded for taking care of your personal responsibilities? The teachers do get compensated for their work. I don’t think teachers get paid enough and that as a society we took away their ability to control their classroom.

          2.) Yes I know. I get discriminated against ever day. I’m a white male with a good education and some hard earned money. Between affirmative craption, democratic socialization, and the general idiocy and self entitlement in this country, god I feel discriminated against.

          3.) Yes look at them. Woot for them. Ever been to Germany? Did you know that a portion of their taxes goes and actually pays the homeless per dog that they have? So seeing a homeless person with 5 dogs is quite a common sight in the cities. That Britain is falling to shambles, they lack of control over their own children, and their economy is in the crapper as well.
          The only reasons Id EVER consider moving to Europe would be to milk the social programs, the public transportation, and the food is better tasting.

  13. ModernDemagogue says:

    That was @drb023.

  14. Bladefist says:

    So these people who have highly stressful jobs, that make decisions everyday that keep thousands of people employed and moreover, the world running, should live like one of us who has not 1/1000th of the responsibility?

    Awesome. Let me know how that works out.

    • sonneillon says:

      @Bladefist: Who are they to have to get paid as well as the leader of the free world when they do not have 1/1000th of the responsibility?

    • XTC46 says:

      @Bladefist: Bingo. People dont seem to grasp how much knowledge is needed to run a large company and the ramifications of failing at that job. These arent some stupid lemonade stands, or even a subway franchise, these are multi billion dollar businesses employing thousands of people, and in some cases keeping entire towns alive. If they need to pay a guy 15 Mil to make the right calls, and properly guid a huge company, then give the guy the 15 Mil, its worth it.

      • athmsVT says:

        @xtc46: That or the populist are not so loopy as to believe these CEOs are worth 15 million. A better analysis would be to say they took all the money and ran. Yet we have to pick up the pieces. I wish I could get away with stealing lots of money and call it a job.

        • XTC46 says:

          @athmsVT: You are talking about a very small percentage of CEOs who “took the money and ran” there are hundreds of CEOs who make well over a million a year, a few make mistakes and are destroyed in the press becasue they work for high profile companies. Its not like they get hired, get paid, and run as a constant thing, as if they enjoy failing at their job.

      • parad0x360 says:

        @xtc46: Yes and the fact that these people need to be bailed out by the tax payers means they dont grasp it either and therefore dont deserve all that bankroll.

        • XTC46 says:

          @parad0x360: No it means they made a few very bad decisions. Your bad decisions dont matter becasue your opion doesnt matter on a large scale, When you control 3 billion dollars in assets, small decisions have a huge impact.

          • jfpbookworm says:

            @xtc46: Wait, is it that they need those high salaries because they make important decisions and we need the people who won’t screw up, or that their bad decisions don’t matter because a few bad decisions can have a huge impact?

            You can’t say that they deserve exorbitant pay for getting important decisions right if they didn’t get those decisions right.

          • Cyberxion101 says:

            @xtc46: And your point is…what, exactly? The nature of thier fuck-up doesn’t matter. As you’ve so expertely dodged, they’re now playing with our money, and they got that money by virtue of the fact that they fucked up. So yeah, cap away!

      • Cyberxion101 says:

        @xtc46: Yeah, because it’s totally been worth it leading up to all this nonsense, right? Right?

    • athmsVT says:

      @Bladefist: Any architect or engineer deals with this everyday. Its funny your bridge collapses, you some how never get any more commissions. Your company fails, BOA hires you, you buy your old company, BOA starts to fail… You got big bonuses along the way, you some how will get another job.

      You have a job, you have responsibilities, you make choices, you are most likely stressed. Its cool though, 1/1000 does not extend to your home, you don’t have to raise your own child (nanny), drive (chauffeur), or even cook/clean (butler). Yeah so much tougher.

      POTUS for 500k FTW

    • Its The Beer Talking says:

      @Bladefist: Yes, because they did such a bang-up job of decision-making in the first place. Remind me again why we’re in this mess?

    • Wormfather is Wormfather says:

      @Bladefist: Pft, my wife is a nanny and she makes more twice that and if they let her go tomorrow there’d be three families cutting their eachother’s throats to hire her.

      My point is some of the executives in these companies have been shining stars while their company has been hitting the shits, ie, the executive who’s division made 4billion while the other excutive’s division was losing money like water down a drain.

      You bump the succesful CEOs salary down to $500K then what’s to stop him from heading down to greenwich to a nice hedge fund, I mean he probably already lives in fairfield/westchester county to begini with. So now we have a situation where we’re giving tax dollars to companies who’s best tallent are leaving because they’re being salary capped.

      Salary caps only work where there’s only one game in town (MLB, NFL, ETC). Try that shit with compitition ie, wall street, British Preier League (as opposed to the other legues in europe) and watch what happens.

    • sapere_aude says:

      @Bladefist: You seem to be glossing over the fact that these executives failed at doing their jobs. If they made the right decisions their companies wouldn’t need bailout money and they wouldn’t be affected by pay restrictions. In case you haven’t noticed, lots of people are losing their jobs and the world economy isn’t running quite smoothly.

      • Bladefist says:

        @sapere_aude: If the CEO fails, then he needs to be fired? If he takes the company down with him, the company needs to shut down?

        These are pretty simple principles that we have been using for over a hundred years. The bailouts is what f#$#ed it all up. Because now, they are using our money.

        Before the bailouts, it was none of our businesses what they got paid, and if they were horrible, their were consequences.

        • papahoth says:

          @Bladefist: If you still are thinking that we should have let the Wall Street financial system collapse Blade, you are pretty much alone. Time to join the Libertarians or the Anarchists I guess. Do you not understand that just letting Lehmann go has made things much worse? No capital markets means no business. Perhaps you need to start at the basics. Read Cheraw’s bio of Alexander Hamilton.

          • Bladefist says:

            @papahoth: The CEOs did not cause the mortgage market to fail. The government did. Educate yourself on that.

            • papahoth says:

              @Bladefist: True, no regulation of the market, derivatives, their “insured” bundles of mortgages, letting banks and the bond raters hide the real garbage they owned. Never the less, we don’t let the financial markets collapse out of spite.

            • varro says:

              @Bladefist: “The government” didn’t tell mortgage lenders to not examine borrowers’ tax returns and pay stubs before granting credit, or to allow investment bankers to rebrand NINJA loans as AAA paper.

    • What The Geek says:

      @Bladefist: If you’re running yoru company well, and handling all that big scary responsibility well, then you’re probably not asking for a bailout right now, and as such, I don’t care what you make, or what you do with it. You earned it, go spend it.

      If, on the other hand, you’ve mismanaged your company so completely that you need the taxpayers to bail you out of your financial woes, your salary and spending habits have become my business, as I’m now helping to pay that salary. these amazing and responsible people you speak of are the reason the economy is failing right now. Banks and automobile manufacturers are failing due to poor decision making. They have two choices: Liquidate the company and start over, or ask for a bailout. If they choose to liquidate, good luck to them, and I hope they do better next time. If they ask for a bailout, I’m now lending money against my will to a failing company, and the executives of that company, who I’m sure all qualify as failures as human beings. I don’t want that. I’m pretty sure most middle class people don’t want their tax dollars going there, but against the will of the people that’s what’s happening. If you’re going to take money from the people against their will, deal with the consequences. They don’t HAVE to take bailout money – it’s just an option available to them. If they want the fancy salaries, and upper class lifestyles, then they should come up with a plan for staying afloat that doesn’t involve tax payer dollars.

    • akuma_x says:

      @Bladefist: Funny that CEOs in Britain make on average 14 times more than the lowest paid employee in the company, and who assume the same responsibilities as American CEOs, can manage just fine. If the total is $500,000 a year that means the lowest paid employee makes $35,000 a year which seems about right. Only in America do the CEOs only seem to able to survive making 1000s more than the lowest paid employee in the company. Like listed before if you don’t want the limited pay, don’t take the bailout money.

      By the way, the British CEOs and their companies “work out” just fine.

    • MeOhMy says:

      @Bladefist: They were doing such a wonderful job. As Peter Sagal joked on this week’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me,” the real danger is that these salary caps will cause these top notch execs to get jobs at companies in other industries which they can destroy.

    • lannister80 says:

      @Bladefist: They make decisions that cause millions of people to lose their jobs. How’s that responsibility taste now?

  15. hypnotik_jello says:

    @undefined: @Chris Walters: Hey! I live in Manhattan too. Funny, I live on the UES make far less than $500k and yet have no problems with my living arrangements and if I for some reason couldn’t afford it, you know what I would do? I’d move to a cheaper place. These people need a reality adjustment, if they want to maintain the income level, then they should switch jobs to a firm without an income cap or adapt their lifestyle to economize.

    It’s insulting to people like myself who bust our asses for every dollar we earn and we surely don’t make any complaints about things being too expensive or not earning enough. It’s called life and we deal.

    This woman just smacks of self-entitlement and it pisses me off.

  16. rpm773 says:

    I’m afraid the New York Times may be shitting where it eats on this one.

  17. SadSam says:

    There are a lot of people in this country, besides CEOs and Wall Street wonder kids, who are having to make do with less. CEO compensation has gotten out of hand and if companies need bail out money (my money) to survive than the CEOs are going to have to do with less.

    But, NYC is expensive and once you are wedded to a certain life style it is hard to disengage. If you are locked into a mortgage and fees on a condo it is hard to walk away.

    • RandomHookup says:

      @SadSam: Then maybe they should have invested their previous years’ millions in a hedge fund or mutual fund. I’ll bet they didn’t spend all of it (or lose it all with Madoff).

    • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

      @SadSam: “But, NYC is expensive and once you are wedded to a certain life style it is hard to disengage. If you are locked into a mortgage and fees on a condo it is hard to walk away.”

      I get that, and I have some sympathy for it, except … these people made millions of dollars a year and were too stupid to save and invest for a future possible loss of income? They have no investment income after making millions upon millions? They are totally reliant on a non-stop stream of salary from a single source (their job) and cannot handle a loss or reduction in that?

      WHY ARE THESE IDIOTS RUNNING BANKS????? When apparently the basics of personal finance when on an absurdly generous salary are completely beyond them.

      If they were running, I don’t know, tech companies, I might have more sympathy for the whole “Oh no, now I have no money!” thing.

  18. athmsVT says:

    I would hardly qualify this post as being clouded by jealously or envy. It is merely a joke suggesting how they trim the fat, but your support for their stimulus is off base.

    These are the people that caused the lose of trillions of dollars in capital. Much of it out of peoples’ retirements. All while getting kickbacks, bonuses, and ridiculous salaries. They even have tons of tax right offs the average person does not have access to.

    You can argue that it is there entrepreneurial skill, but you might want to take a quick look at the system favors the really rich. Since the 1970’s the bottom 90% is no richer than it was. With this last down turn you might even argue it is poorer. The Top 10% is much better off. But hey apparently if you are rich it does not matter if you pay your taxes or what you do. Who knew, Tom and Madoff.

    This post is not a cry for a cap on salary. It is about questioning why we have been paying them so much for so long, yet they have continued to swindle away our investments. I am not going to take that pill any longer. I still believe in capitalism, but not all regulation infringes on free trade, regardless of what they say. Some of it standardizes it so they can no longer hide their crocked ways.

    • FredTheGreat says:

      @athmsVT: Agreed. And may I say that it just seems to me that the main problem here is people not seeing the difference between needs and wants. I live without all that stuff not just because I can’t afford them but also because they are unnecessary. The people who complain about it being an “expensive city”, I have a brilliant solution to not being able to afford things where you live, move. The salaries in big cities need to be higher to offset the high costs of living associated with living in a city where everyone has high salaries and can afford over priced items. But that is how it is everywhere; the salaries in Kansas City are as such to match the costs of Kansas City and the salaries in Chicago try to match the costs of Chicago. The same goes for Houston, Miami, LA, Seattle, Buffalo, and Omaha and on and on. The main thing everyone can take from this is, as I see it, that the cost of living is out of control everywhere. The situation of the CEOs and such in New York just highlights that people all over the country are having trouble making ends meet and maintaining the lifestyle they are used to, no matter the salary. It is just a bigger deal when five hundred thousand dollars a year isn’t quite enough any more. But I’m sure people acted the same way when one thousand dollars a year was no longer enough (I didn’t make that up. There was a time when people made a little over twenty dollars a month! And they still lived to the height of extravagance for that time.). Maybe people may have to, dare I say it….Make sacrifices!?!!? Now I know that is not the “‘Merican” way we are all used to but hey think of it as an adventure. Other wise the de-valuing of or currency will drag us down faster than a double bird strike.

  19. kwsventures says:

    Reminds me of the NBA strike years ago, when Patrick Ewing said “we make a lot of money, but we spend a lot, too.” I guess I am supposed to say, “I feel bad for them.” Sorry, I won’t say that. You take the job, the money and the power and deal with it. Or quit and do something else.

  20. Shadowman615 says:

    My wife uses Comcast On Demand fitness shows as her personal trainer.

  21. quail says:

    In the early 1990’s after the commercial real estate and oil busts, when the economy was in the toilet, there was a book that came out called “How to survive on $200,000.00 a year.” Or something similar to that. The audience of course was for millionaires who found themselves on a fixed income.

    For companies taking the bailout and are forced to do away with perks, a book like that should be pass around.

  22. mariospants says:

    Great, simple advice and I’m wondering how this will impact the local real estate and low-wage labor market.

  23. sonneillon says:

    If you don’t want to get paid 500k a year don’t accept the governments money. They can say no.

  24. Anonymous says:

    I was going to add my $0.02 (or, according to the author, I could do it for 1/10th of a penny), but “Bladefist” and “nicemarmot617″ said it all beautifully.

    $500K is a perfectly reasonable wage for a CEO – and, I would wager, one that has no option but to live in the city because of corporate commitments. Also, having to spend so much time involved in his/her business, yes – services are required, not a luxury.

    And I second the comment about co-op fees: go ahead, find a place to purchase in the city that doesn’t have co-op fees. You’ll spend more than $192,000 just driving around trying to locate one…

  25. t-r0y says:

    This is getting ridiculous! Do all CEO deserver all they pay and bonuses they get? Maybe not. It should be left up to the shareholders — and the government should NOT be a shareholder!

    When the referee takes a position on one of the teams, you can’t count on the rest of the officials to officiate the game fairly. Keep the government out of private enterprise!

  26. LeahReindeer says:

    A $96,000 house? More realistically, these execs will make changes that don’t show to others as much, so that they will appear to be maintaining their lifestyles. The nanny could be made part-time, allowing the stay-at-home spouse to ‘spend time’ with the kids. The trainer could be let go in favor of a cheaper at-home workout on probably existing exercise equipment. Instead of retaining the full-time chauffeur, the exec could get a car service when a driver is needed for appearances’ sake. The vacations are tricky, but it should be possible to stay with friends or family or perhaps go to an entirely new and relatively inexpensive place, and without all the competition for status that they’re used to at their vacation digs, perhaps they could actually relax.

  27. WBrink says:

    To be fair, living in NYC on 500,000 a year isn’t that much. I have desk-jockey lawyer friends who make more than that.

  28. ceez says:

    let them suffer for a bit….they’re way over paid anyways.

    and no, we’re not in cuba, but dont abuse of the money being given to you by the government which is being taken out of tax payers….those tax payers that are suffering so you can go and buy a corporate yet.

    someone said that no good CEO will work for 500k for such large companies……errr….mr president works for 400k to take care of the entire country here and abroad…..seems fair to me.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I do not feel sorry for these people. They’re the ones who decided to live in such a way that “only a seven-figure income can stretch to cover.” (from the original article) Just because they’ve always taken 2 vacations doesn’t mean they need to continue doing that. And so on. Their businesses are struggling, so why should they expect to maintain the same lifestyle and paycheck?

  30. HeyApples says:

    It’s really hard to have sympathy for anyone in this situation when you can live like a king on $500k/yr. in many other areas of the country.

  31. tinmanx says:

    What is wrong with public schools in NYC? Both my sister and I went to public school and we turned out fine (along with millions of others). School is what you make of it.

    You should see all the private school kids in my neighborhood hanging out at a corner near their school smoking and making trouble.

  32. portishead69 says:

    We all need to make sacrifices… I don’t care how you are currently living, but $500k is a lot of money. There are millions of people living in NYC making much less than $500k. Do you really think CEOs or executives of companies that lost billions last year deserve million dollar salaries/bonuses?

  33. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    The one problem I see with the “pay them stock options” argument is that the stock market has been less than rational for the last couple years. Companies that are doing pretty well–especially in the financial sector–have been beaten all to hell by things like sector funds. Yes, sadly most banks are at the whims of institutional investors and the occasional hedge fund.

    So until/unless stock price can reflect the real value of a company, I don’t think it’s a great compensation tool. What we have now is like the opposite of the tech bubble–every bank is vilified, every bank stock depressed.

  34. cf27 says:

    Sorry, but “Send your kids to NYC public schools” is not a real option. I don’t care how much you pay me — if I have to send my kids into that hell-hole, it’s not enough money.

    That said, I see no reason why these banks should get *anything*. There are plenty of banks in good financial shape that don’t need the bailout.

    • MarleneMops says:

      @cf27: Our household income is ‘only’ half of the argued. I will, however, do everything in my power to send my children to private schools, no matter where I live. As an educator, I understand the population who walk through those front doors and sit in the seats around your children in the public educational institutions.

  35. chargernj says:

    Good article about this issue, let them walk if they don’t like the salary [www.usnews.com]

  36. puddleglum411 says:

    But then the Nanny will be out of work!

  37. HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

    “But in the neighborhoods of New York City and its suburban enclaves where successful bankers live, half a million a year can go very fast.”

    Ah, see, there’s the problem. If they were successful bankers, their companies wouldn’t have to take bailout money in the first place.

  38. bearymore says:

    I’m a little non-plused at the defense of CEO pay. At over 240 times the median wage as of 2004 and possibly over 400 today, it is out of control. As late as 1988, that ratio was only 71 and in 1980 it was only 35. During the boom period of the 60’s the ratio of CEO pay to the median wage was only in the 20’s. Between 2002 and 2004 alone the ratio doubled and it’s doubled again since. And that huge increase brought us what?? Today’s wonderful economy??

    I agree, though, that the $500,000 cap is poor policy – if only because it will be ineffectual. If the administration really wants to influence CEO compensation, they should raise upper bracket income taxes to levels comparable to those in effect prior to Reagan and restore progressivity to the tax system.

    Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, made that argument in the NY Times far better than I could. Read it and be educated:

    [www.nytimes.com]

  39. Owen Yun says:

    Why would I want to go to Rockaway Beach? Six Flags, maybe. Rockaway Beach, no.

  40. Silversmok3 says:

    As a college student trying to fund his education without being in debt for life, this list of ‘expenses’ is insulting.
    Forget starving kids or familes 90 days away from the street-when an average joe gets hit with a layoff, he cant call the times and complain about his mortgage bill.

    When Susan Salarywoman gets the axe after 20 years, she cant call NBC and complain that $0 annual income isn’t ‘enough’.

    When Edward Student cant finish his degree because the bank that couldnt wait to lend him $2000 on a charge card last year pulled its loans this year , he cant call CNN to complain about paying rent AND tuition on $7.50 an hour.

    I dont say all this to suggest we convert to communism, but these bailed out complanies shouldnt exist anymore, all things left alone.That means these execs should have an income of $0 like any other business leader who runs his company into bankruptcy.That they have the nerve to mismanage their firm and demand that their salaries arent high enough-well, theres low, and then theres that level.

  41. bwilliams18 says:

    Going to private school as well as having a tutor I can substantiate that both add extreme value to your future life, making it much easier to get into colleges and having one of the best networks possible for the rest o your life.

    • SoundSystem says:

      @bwilliams18: Must be nice to be privileged. Not everyone has those abilities at hand.

    • MrEvil says:

      @bwilliams18: I attended K-4th grade at a private school, worst experience of my life (but character building). It wasn’t until my folks put me in public schools that I actually enjoyed my school day.

      Heck if you’re a savvy entrepreneur with guts and vision your story becomes more interesting by the fact you didn’t go to Harvard or private primary schools. Does anybody really remember who started Burger King? I’ll bet most of us remember who Dave Thomas was and not just from his Wendy’s commercials.

      It seems to me a very good number of the most successful Americans are the ones that didn’t go to private schools, that didn’t have nannies, and didn’t go to Harvard or Yale. I don’t blame parents with the means to want the best for their kids. But really spending 30 grand a year on private primary or secondary school isn’t going to guarantee your child is going to become the next great Entrepreneur.

  42. consumerd says:

    I would like to know who can drive anywhere for just the cost of a license? Most of the continental U.S. requires you to have some sort of insurance or “statement of financial standings”

  43. Anonymous says:

    Remember how we all swapped horror stories about welfare queens who spent outrageously … ? They bought sugary cookies for their kids, owned tvs, etc? The government now has restrictions on buying say, junk food, with WIC. Nothing new here. No $3 potato chips on Gov’t assistance … no $10,000+ gowns with Gov’t assistance.

    As far as the theoretical question of ‘Could they live on only 500k,’ well, we settled that too. The very wealthy have long maintained that raising a family on 11k a year is possible. It’s called minimum wage.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Given that the stimulus packages are meant to save jobs and companies from going under, what exactly does every think they’re going to accomplish by making their executive pay less competitive than the lucky or brave companies that can still lure high performing talent to work for them? If you were doing this in sports it would be like kicking all your superstars off the team for losing a game, building a huge stadium at taxpayer expense, and then making sure you only got the lame, worthless sort of players who couldn’t compete for the jobs where they’d actually make the sort of money they want to. Are you going to win games and fill your stadium that way? No, your franchise goes under, you’re suck with a bill, and somewhere else they’re all laughing at you.

    I understand everyone’s impotent rage, but the proles hanging the bourgeoisie is the sort of classic mistake the mob makes. Yes, the rich are bleeding your dry and they’re not always nice people. Yes, I know you do quite well on much less. Capping advancement though? That’s worked so well everywhere else. Since we’re wasting money entirely now, why don’t we just write India and China and the EU a nice big check while we’re at it?

  45. lakecountrydave says:

    First off we must insist on a complete change of upper management for any company that accepts the government bailout money. These guys are not “good” at their jobs. They need to be fired just like anyone else who is incompetent. We should really be looking at a way to cut the cord on their golden parachutes. We also need to look into criminal charges against them. They have done more to compromise our national security than Bin Laden and Hussein every could have dreamed of. I feel that we need to look at treason as a possible charge. Also, we are at war (3X).

    The next task that we need to accomplish is the break up of these companies. We need to put some teeth back into our anti-trust laws. Any company that is “too big to fail” is also to big to exist. This is a matter of national security as well. What if a person comes to control one of these giant corporations that does not have the United State’s best interest at heart? Wait, I think that we just learned about economic collapse. What if we go to war with the nation whose patriot controls one or more of these companies?

  46. meechybee says:

    This article drove me crazy for oh so many reasons. We get it — no matter how much you make in NYC, $5k or $5 million, it’s pretty easy to find a way to spend it.

    What’s is not said is that the same families usually have multiple properties. Just moving to a satellite house full-time, and putting the kids in (horrors) public school would save huge amounts of money. No one is putting a gun to your head to send the kids to pricey private school when there are excellent schools in places where they’re already paying taxes.

    I wish we all had such options.

  47. th1nwhiteduke says:

    @drb023: I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT.

    Christ.

  48. Barbara Jean Walsh says:

    Didn’t Tom Wolfe already cover this in Bonfire of the Vanities?

  49. grapedog says:

    If they want bailout money, work within the cap.

    I personally would rather have just seen all these companies fail in the first place and let new businesses form in their place.

    the market can correct it’s own mistakes…it doesn’t need our help.

  50. bishophicks says:

    I do not understand why there is even argument over this. These bank executives took ridiculous risks and drove the entire financial system to the edge of ruin. Now they are on welfare. As long as the taxpayers are propping them up they do not deserve multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses.

    I don’t understand why anyone is defending these people, and I don’t understand why there are newspaper articles and discussion forum postings saying, “It’s not enough! They’ve got expenses! What are they supposed to do?” They’re supposed to do what ALL OF US. They’re supposed to do what these very people and their defenders have been telling US what WE should do in similar situations:

    Cut your expenses – if you can’t afford your home then move. If you can’t afford private school, your tax dollars pay for public school. If your local public school sucks because people like you fought to keep local taxes as low as possible (what do you care – you’re kids go to private school), then too effing bad.

    Dip into your emergency fund – you were responsible and set aside some of your money for a rainy day right? Anyone who was paid tens of millions of dollars or more over the past several years ought to have some money in the bank. Do people understand the scale of how much money these guys made? If they put aside 20% of their pay and then lost 90% of it as the market tanked, they still have more money than most people could save in a lifetime. Got that? They were paid so much in the process of destroying our economy, even if they lose most of it, they’re still very rich.

    Move in with family – honestly, you should be able to afford a home on half a mill, but it’s an option a lot of other people are considering these days. Of course, everyone in your family probably hates you right now.

    Quit – That’s what “regular” people are told all the time: “If you don’t like your job, then quit.” If you’re so smart and such an awesome employee that you deserve a job with a multi million dollar paycheck then go find one.

    These people and their supporters are the kind of people who bitch and moan about seeing someone on foodstamps buy a candy bar for a crying child. These bank executives are ON WELFARE. Do you support giving $5,000/month to families on welfare? No? Then why is giving $42,000/month to these guys not enough?

  51. dognose says:

    I laugh at how all the comments here take this so seriously. It’s a very good post on how the rest of us live.

    I think the real problem is that everyone is upset about the stimulus, or at least, should be. The companies that need government support obviously have been very badly mismanaged. They didn’t save up enough cash from the last 2 booming decades. The CEO salaries are the LEAST of the problems with these companies (but most obvious to ousiders). The government can not go in and micromanage the companies and make sure they don’t screw it up again. The whole setting the CEO salary cap is a slippery slope to nationalizing the company. They’ve already started in on /where/ they companies can hold conferences (not Vegas!) and which forms of transportation they can use (not Private Jets) and soon they will have to specify what type of ink they use in their printers (just refill the damn things!) It’s a slippery slope and we’re already sliding down it.

    • P_Smith says:

      @dognose: If CEO salaries and bonuses aren’t tied to short-term thinking that cause long-term problems, is that going to cause more or less problems and stability in the companies?

  52. vladthepaler says:

    $500,000 is a pretty good rate of pay considering these peoples’ level of incompetance. If a supermarket cashier screwed up so badly that the entire country spun into a depression, he would probably be fired, not be paid $500,000/year to keep doing the same thing he was doing before.

  53. P_Smith says:

    “I can’t live on $44,000 a month!”

    – Joanna Carson, on her divorce settlement from Johnny Carson

    Anyone who wants sympathy from me for a $500,000 salary cap should look between shirt (to keep this PG) and syphilis in the dictionary.

    Japanese CEOs don’t make more than 20-30 times their lowest paid employees and they don’t have a problem with it. They also don’t feel any resentment from their employees, even taking the culture into account.

  54. tinyhands says:

    Are they trying to tell me that an executive making $32M a year has thus far been living paycheck-to-paycheck? Rule 1 is to have an emergency fund covering 3-6 months of expenses. :)

  55. Anonymous says:

    someone made the comment in defense of these over-compensated divas that they’re responsible for multi-billion dollar companies, thousands of employees, etc, and they deserve these rock star salaries.

    my counterpoint is that, clearly, with the economy in the toilet, the companies have huge debts, instead of huge asset reserves, and are already laying off tens of thousands, and the companies are standing there with their hands out to those of us who managed to live within our means for huge bailouts: You did it wrong, and you’re not deserving of what you’ve already been paid, in any sense of a meritocracy. You’ve proven that you CAN’T do it. Why the hell should taxpayers subsidize their continued pampering when many of the same taxpayers are struggling with the fallout from the mess these self-absorbed nit-wits created?

    Perhaps companies should realize that manhattan is an expensive place to live and work and do business. We live in a world that has teleconferencing and computer networks. There is nothing to justify doing business in manhattan, other than the desires of the CEOs and upper management to be in the manhattan fun club.

    for those businesses in manhattan who depend on the largess of CEOs with no restraint – I’d realize the golden goose is clutching it’s chest, and you have no more right to other people’s money than anyone else. I don’t care how many CEO/Diva service businesses fail – you don’t produce anything but overpriced crap and presonallized butt wiping services for entitlement queens that look down on the rest of us, anyway. Your continued existance as someone who walks dogs in the most expensive place in north america is not high on any (genuinely) working stiff’s list of priorities.

    NYC needs to get over it’s self-importance. The rest of us in “flyover country” think you’re a bunch of snobs and thugs, anyway.

    Yeah, “ladies”, just because you’re married to an ex-stockbroker who used to be worth gazillions, doesn’t mean you’re worth as much, no matter how special your own brats might seem. Try taking care of your own damn kids, instead of delegating the job to “little people”

    I say this as single, custodial dad who somehow manages a house, 2 kids and a job without any federal, state or local subsidies, and certainly without the help of some suburban princess.

    Proof of the disconnect lies in the fact that it didn’t occur to the CEO’s of the big 3 that flying to washington for a handout in 3 separate private jets just *might* piss people off.

    Think of the “welfare reform” and all of the screaming when it was suggested, however gently, that some people on the public dole get off their fat butts and get a damn job. Same here. Do without for a while. Sell a few mansions. There’s more than just a housing bubble, there’s an executive compensation bubble, too.

  56. NTIV10 says:

    “You’re not going to get through private school without tutoring a kid,”

    That’s interesting, my brother and I both made it through private school with honors and never saw a tutor in our lives. I don’t believe anyone should be restricted in what they spend their money on, but they should not be allowed to make their children hopelessly and endlessly dependent on someone else in order to make it through school (then business, then life?).

  57. Anonymous says:

    the folliwing was sent.

    Hello William Rhodes:

    I’ve lost a lot of money investing in Citibank and you’re proposing raises for your people. That money was for my retirement, and my health prevents me from getting any kind of work. Giving raises is very nice of you, but why not have it come from those people that cause this problem. You had to take money from the tax payers to stay afloat and your giving raises.

    My wife has not had a raise in 3 years from her company, because of what you and your kind did. As part owner in Citibank I don’t want you to give or get anymore raises until you show a profit and have paid back to the tax payers the money they loaned Citibank and then just a token raise for the next 10 years, also wait for my wife to get a raise.

    You and your kind suck being officers in any corporation. I never made $96,000 a year and you can’t pay for your co-op, should I fell sorry for you? You could buy a cheaper home, and you’re off springs can go to a state school, there’s a lot of them out their. Let the bank give you one of the home it owns, it would be cheaper for all of us. Why do you need a 20,000 foot house that cost $30,000,000?

    No raises for anybody!

    Orrin Adler

    • The New York Times breaks down the annual expenses of your average Fancy Pants Executive Type who lives in Manhattan.
    Private school: $32,000 a year per student. Mortgage: $96,000 a year. Co-op maintenance fee: $96,000 a year. Nanny: $45,000 a year. We are already at $269,000, and we haven’t even gotten to taxes yet.