Wednesday, April 1, 2009
In yet another ContractsProf Blog exclusive (this must be our lucky day!), we break news of bonuses paid to members of the executive branch during the Bush administration. It turns out, our first MBA President decided to follow the familiar business model. A well-advised executive will not let federal regulations on compensation narrow the potential talent pool. One can comply with such regulations and yet still compensate key employees appropriately through bonuses and deferred compensation. And that is what the Bush administration apparently did. Unfortunately, all information relating to the bonuses is classified and congressional investigators have thus far been unable to discover their extent.
Look, you are not going to lure people away from jobs that pay them seven or eight figures with jobs that pay them six figures and offer no downside protection. You push the wrong button in Washington, and you may never work again, if you know what I mean. So we had to sweeten a pie a bit for the Cheneys, the Gonzalezes, the Rumsfelds, the Addingtons, the Brownies, the Feiths. Those people don't come cheap, but we believe the American people certainly got their money's worth from this administration. In any case, for Congress now to seek to take back the money paid to these hard-working, dedicated public servants would be a slap in the face to all good citizens who give up comfortable lives and put their careers on hold in order to enter public service. To do so would also violate the sanctity of contracts.
But Congress is not backing down. Among other things, congressional leaders have pointed out that, according to former Vice President Dick Cheney, the Vice President's office is really part of the legislature and not part of the executive. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is believed to be working on a compromise. "If Cheney and his people got bonuses," she explained, "then all legislators should get bonuses as well. We're trying to make this into a win-win."