Free Enterprise: Not Dead Yet

Rasmussen samples public attitudes toward federal regulation of executive compensation, and finds what I consider a sensible consensus:

Sixty-one percent (61%) of adults say the government should regulate the level of pay and bonuses for executives of a company that receives government funding…. Twenty-seven percent (27%) disagree.

At the same time, just 23% of Americans believe the government should regulate executive pay and bonuses for banks and finance companies that do not receive government funding to continue operations. Sixty-four percent (64%) say that if not taxpayer money is involved, executive compensation is none of the government’s business.

Moving beyond the bank and finance industry, just 21% say the federal government should regulate the level of pay and bonuses for all publicly traded companies in every industry. Two-thirds (66%) reject this idea.

For the moment, at least, a healthy majority favors free enterprise. As for the 21 percent who want the government to regulate everyone’s salary, we don’t have to speculate about which of the seven deadly sins most afflicts that group.

An interesting sidelight:

Government workers are far more supportive of regulating executive pay and bonuses for companies that receive taxpayer monies than are those who work in the private sector. Those on the public payroll also are more sympathetic to regulation of companies that do not receive government funding than are those who work outside of government.

No surprise there. The government determines my salary, so why shouldn’t it fix everyone’s? Because not everyone works for the government–a subtle distinction, perhaps, for some.

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