According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, nearly bankrupt banks who received the multi-billion dollar taxpayer funded bailout rewarded their top executives with nearly $1.6 billion in salaries, bonuses and other benefits in 2007. Personal use of company planes, private drivers, company funded financial planners and country club memberships were just a few of the perks offered by bankers who received bailout money. Although many banks have made an effort to trim executive costs, most executives are still making way more than the average American worker can ever dream of.

Goldman’s top executives are forgoing bonuses but still earn $600,000 a year in base salary. Not only that, but Goldman is actually fighting to keep the $255,000 chauffeurs and personal financial planners for their executives. Did I miss something? Didn’t these bankers come to the edge (or over the edge) of bankruptcy? Didn’t they come with their hat in hand to the American taxpayer, many of whom are bankrupt themselves, for a bailout? What about the autoworkers who are being laid off, where are their personal financial planners? They’re going to need one to try to figure out how to pay their mortgages, healthcare and save for retirement with NO income. There is nothing wrong with executives making large salaries. But there is something wrong with executives making large salaries after failing to keep their companies afloat financially whereby needing to depend on taxpayers for a bailout.

Although the bailout guidelines restricted executive compensation, it did not limit salaries or bonuses unless it would “encourage excessive risk” to the financial institutions. It seems to me, that the only people taking excessive risks are the American taxpayers.