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[Washington Babylon]

Performance Bonus? Top Officials at Bailed out Fannie and Freddie Rake in Millions

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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.”

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