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Bush Faces Tough Crowd At Caroline’s On Wall Street

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Yesterday we told you that the reason for the Dubya’s visit to Wall Street was two-fold: to create the illusion that he’s done something besides screw up in Iraq and post admirable poll ratings, and to inconvenience those of you in need of caffeine. Apparently there was another reason he hopped on the Acela from Washington Wednesday morning: to shame business leaders for shirking their responsibilities to dole out appropriate salaries and bonuses to C.E.O.s. Though there was no heckling (except from Nardelli, but he always heckles), Bushie’s instructions to “pay attention to the executive compensation packages that you approve” and to make salaries and bonuses commensurate with the “C.E.O.s…success at improving their companies and bringing value to their shareholders” was reportedly met with “silence.” (A point of contention: was the lack of laughter due to bitterness at the idea that the president might be leaving them penniless, or shock over having a guy who’s not yet mastered the riding of a bike or the swallowing of a pretzel, let alone the running of a country, give a lecture on earning one’s keep?) Though he took a shot at the Dems’ plans for legislation that would require shareholder votes on pay packages (saying he didn’t think the government should get involved), he made sure to praise the Securities and Exchange Commission, commenting, “I appreciate the fact that S.E.C. has issued new rules to ensure that there is transparency when it comes to executive pay packages…the print ought to be big and understandable.” Like, you know, the font size and reading level they might use in the Hardy Boys series, or maybe even them See Spot Run books.

Why Did Bush Step Into C.E.O. Pay Debate?