April 2003 Archives

Executive Excess

Daniel Gross at Slate has a good article about the bonuses and pension benefits American Airlines planned to pay its executives while asking the employee unions for pay cuts.

His question, "Why are airlines paying 'retention' bonuses to executives no one else would hire?", was similar to mine: "Why is AA paying retention bonuses to executives who have run the company to the brink of Chapter 11? Shouldn't these guys be fired instead?"

Another example of this is Pacific Gas & Electric, the utility company for northern and central California. (It is my utility company.) They are currently in Chapter 11 and paid almost $60 million in bonuses to managers and other non-union employees last month (details here).

Daniel makes a good point at the end of his article I hadn't thought of:

The most troubling aspect of the retention bonuses is psychological rather than financial. American's executives presume that unionized pilots, flight attendants, and baggage handlers will work with the same attention to detail and concern for security as they did when their wages and benefits were 25 percent higher. But the unspoken assumption of retention bonuses and benefits for top bosses is that senior managers simply can't be relied upon to work as hard if their salaries are cut, or if their options are underwater. Isn't it time we stopped applying the soft bigotry of low expectations to senior executives?

Yes, we should stop having such low expectations of senior executives. It would be even better if those executives stopped setting low expectations for themselves.

Essential Ingredients of Success

Bill Whittle's essay "Victory" contains a profound truth:

This unmatched leap in human productivity - intellectual, economic, artistic - requires a few essential ingredients.

It requires mutual trust. And it requires hard work. [Emphasis mine.]

That's about it. Not such a big deal, really.

That sentence floored me when I read it. I saw how the truth of that statement applies to the success of governments, societies, businesses, even individuals. It's something I need to remember often for my own benefit.

Filthy Lies

1. Glenn Reynolds (InstaPundit) puts puppies into blenders and drinks them for a quick pick-me-up.

2. Glenn Reynolds also murders hobos and worships Satan in his spare time (or is that the other way around?).

Nobody could make up outrageous lies like these - they must be true!


My fiancée says I'm a coconut head. Me thinks she's probably right.

First Post

My first post to my first blog. It's about damn time!!