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In the midst of a massive bailout by the government, one might assume Wall Street wouldn't be paying out bonuses. Well, think again. President Obama was among those criticizing $18 billion in bonuses while the crumbling financial sector received a bailout from taxpayers. Wichita State University labor economist Jodi Pelkowski explains why the issue isn't easily resolved.
Announcer: If you think it's hard to fathom why the financial industry and others are benefitting from a government bailout costing billions of dollars, how difficult is it for the public to understand why Wall Street corporate executives are receiving billions of dollars in bonuses? Wichita State University labor economist Jodi Pelkowski says there's more to it than meets the eye.
Pelkowski: "On the surface it's easy to argue that it shouldn't be happening, but from a free market perspective, the market dictates that if we don't pay them, somebody else will."
Announcer: However, perceptions do matter. And Pelkowski says it's hard for the average laborer to understand how executives are getting bonuses while they are trying to keep their job and make ends meet. From a public relations perspective, Pelkowski says it might be wise for management to delay those bonuses until a time when the economy is better.
This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.
Sound bite #1
Pelkowski looks at the main issue involving bonuses and the bailout. The sound bite is 5 seconds and the outcue is "a bailout."
Pelkowski: "Plenty of controversy about the bailouts going to executives when companies are getting a bailout."
Sound bite #2
Pelkowski says it's hard to pinpoint the blame for the economic hardship facing some companies. The sound bite is 13 seconds and the outcue is "cutting back."
Pelkowski: "It's hard to distinguish whether it was bad decisions or bad luck in getting caught in an economic crisis. It isn't necessarily the air manufacturer's fault that demand for their product has fallen, given the banking crisis and businesses cutting back."
Sound bite #3
Pelkowski says it's hard for average laborers to understand how executives get bonuses in the midst of massive bailouts. The sound bite is 11 seconds and the outcue is "getting paid more."
Pelkowski: "Really, perceptions do matter. People want to be treated fairly. It's hard for the average laborer to see so many of them being laid off and having trouble making their mortgage payments while well-paid executives are getting paid more."
Sound bite #4
Pelkowski says management is in a catch 22. The sound bite is 15 seconds and the outcue is "where it's better."
Pelkowski: "Management is really in a catch 22. They need the money to stay solvent. They want to keep their executive skills and experience. But from a PR perspective they're taking a beating in the public eye, so it might be helpful for management to delay those bonuses until a time where it's better."