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Getting a grip, at home and abroad

   Editorials in today's Buffalo News touch on a couple of news events that are relatively small, symbolic milestones on the way to what may be some real improvement.

   The lead, "CEOs earned pay cap," argues that the $500,000 limit placed on executive pay for companies that take federal bailouts in the future is not all that big a deal, but a useful statement about how Wall Street let itself go:

   If corporate boards and stockholders had been doing their jobs over the years, rewarding executives who built profitable corporations on strong foundations instead of attracting love ’em and leave ’em high flyers, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion at all.

   The second, "Iraq posts electoral progress," notes that while nobody won an overwhelming mandate in Almaliki the recent provincial elections in Iraq, the nationalist government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki [right] did well enough to consolidate its power and help American troops find their way out.

- The Economist [Motto: "Only the ink is dry"] on the pay limit: In the long run, the more significant change may be Mr Obama’s decision to give American shareholders a vote on executive compensation, through a “say on pay” resolution. A vote is certainly more sensible than a crude government limit—especially if it is extended to all public companies, not just those bailed out by Uncle Sam.
- In The New York Times, the CEO of Netflix argues against the salary limit, but for much higher taxes on giant incomes: Then, the next time a chief executive earns an eye-popping amount of money, we can cheer that half of it is going to pay for our soldiers, schools and security. Higher taxes on huge pay days can finance opportunity for the next generation of Americans.
The Toledo Blade [Ohio has the best names for newspapers]: He who pays the piper calls the tune. Now that the government has paid the pipers, the business executives have no complaint that Mr. Obama is making them face this music.
In The Baltimore Sun, a pair of academics points out that the nationalist outcome of the Iraqi elections shows how wrong so many supposedly smart people, including then-Sen. Joe Biden, were about how the country would never hold together.
The Wall Street Journal: The election is further evidence that President Bush and proponents of the 2007 surge were right on another point as well: to wit, that security would precede political reconciliation.

-- George Pyle/Editorial Writer  

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