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Today the Washington Post published its annual survey of executive compensation, and reported that while the Washington, D.C., area’s
“growing financial sector was one of the first to feel the effects of the year-long slide that grew out of the mortgage mess… [and] most financial firms saw their stocks wither, the industry’s top executives continue to be among the best paid in the region.”
Ten of the 100 top-paid executives came from Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, including the chairman of the latter, Richard F. Syron, who took in $14.5 million in 2007, including a $2.2 million performance bonus. Meanwhile, Freddie Mac’s stock “dropped by about half in 2007, destroying billions in shareholder value.”
The Post quoted a speech on the House floor last week by Congressman Sam Johnson, a Texas Republican, who said, “Why should taxpayers foot the bill to prop up those former giants when the company CEOs rake in a bundle and continue to do so? It’s privatized profits and socialized risk…. Everyone knows I’m a strong supporter of freedom and free enterprise, but this is ridiculous. The lack of accountability and responsibility is astounding.”
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”