Obama's Pay Czar Meets With Bailed-Out Firms

Must make tricky decision on how much top execs get paid
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 9, 2009 12:34 PM CDT
In this Aug. 15, 2007 file photo, Kenneth R. Feinberg speaks at his office in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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(Newser) – Kenneth Feinberg has one of the hardest jobs in America: Filling in the amount on the paychecks of top execs at the seven firms that received the biggest government bailouts, the Washington Post reports. Feinberg has the power to set the pay for the 125 most highly paid employees at AIG, Citigroup, Bank of America, GM, Chrysler, and the financing arms of those two automakers.

Feinberg has been in talks with executives at the firms for weeks ahead of a Thursday deadline for compensation proposals. "On the one hand, there's this populist outrage that is fanned every other day by somebody in Washington," says an industry expert. "But he can't just go in there with a hatchet and cut everything because the good people will leave. That's not in (taxpayers') best interest."