February 18th, 2009


Ask the Bankers

Today I got this interesting message from Illinois PIRG. It suggests asking Wall Street bankers some tough questions about what they did with the money -- my money, your money, our money that we paid the government for needful things. Let's say those bankers and I have a different definition of "needful." What about you?

Last week, thousands of you called on Congress to hold Wall Street banks accountable, and we delivered that message in face-to-face meetings with dozens of senators and representatives.
Last Wednesday, Congress finally started to ask the tough questions, grilling bank CEOs on Capitol Hill.
But if you're like me, you still have a lot of questions you'd like to ask those Wall Street CEOs being hauled up to testify before Congress.
Here's your chance: Click here to submit your question.
We'll compile the best submissions and ask you to pick the top five. Then we'll work one-on-one with supportive members of Congress to make sure these questions get asked when Wall Street CEOs return to Capitol Hill.
The sky's the limit.
You can ask them about the bonuses, the retreats, the corporate jets, why they focused on swallowing up other banks instead of freeing up cash to lend, or even how soon the banks expect to pay the government back.
In short, it's your chance to ask Wall Street CEOs what they did (and are still doing) with your money.
Thanks again for making it all possible.

Brian ImusState Director
Illinois PIRG

These were my questions:

How much is your annual salary? How much is the salary (or total of hourly wages) for the lowest-paid person working for your company? What is the ratio of those two numbers; i.e. are you getting paid 100 times as much, or what? Now, what exactly are you doing that is so extraordinarily difficult that it justifies that ratio of payment; i.e. what makes your job so hard that your labor is worth that much money? Do you believe that salary should be connected in any way with competent job performance? And if so, then why, despite the current economic plunge -- caused by poor decisions made by persons in positions of economic power, such as yours -- should your performance be considered competent and thus worthy of high payment including bonus money?

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