I attended a stimulating conference sponsored by Labaton Sucharow LLP.
"Pay Czar" Ken Feinberg spoke of the pressures of determining the specific compensation for the 25 top executives at the seven companies that received TARP funding, as well as the policies for compensating the next 75 top executives at each of the companies. He noted that this was the first time that the government was fixing the salaries of executives in the private sector, but also noted that since the tax payers are creditors to the companies, it makes some sense.
Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz spoke about how GDP measurements and the metrics used do not accurately reflect what the average person is experiencing or feeling. He pointed out how the GDP can go up while most people are actually worse off. His main concern seemed to be the cost of carbon emissions and the lack of sustainability of the USA economic model. He also pointed out that disability claims were up 23% which is not included in the unemployment numbers.
Mark Olson Co-Chairman of the Board Corporate Risk Advisors promised we will see legislation and the creation of a new agency to address and correct the problems with our financial system.
Diana Henriques Senior Financial Writer for The New York Times suggested that Madoff's clients were in the best position to know what was going on - and many did.
Dylan Ratigan of MSNBC and CNBC fame touched on many of the points of the previous speakers and suggested that we focus on updating outdated systems as opposed to just condemning failed systems.