On occasion I've been known to be somewhat opinionated inthis space - as well as in our print edition - on trends and policies along theBeltway.

In fact, I've received a number of letters from readerswho in no uncertain terms stated they are not interested in my politicalopinions and would prefer I stick to writing about tax and audit issues.

My feeling is that you can read about those subjects inyour local state society publications ad nauseum, but where else do you seesocial commentary fused with profession-centric issues?

But I digress.

To the consternation of some, I will once again address apolicy issue of the current administration and this one involves dictatingexecutive pay.

Two weeks ago, Kenneth Feinberg, the pay czar for thecurrent administration (one of 32 such czars in the Obama administration Ishould point out), unveiled his decisions on the pay plans for the top 25employees at some seven companies that received the most government bailoutmoney.

Feinberg assured reporters that his goal was to ensurethat the bailed-out companies would be able to repay the investments (readtaxpayer-funded bailouts) made on their behalf.

I'm really of two minds here.

I've often written in support of executive compensationpackages that actually reflect performance, tiring of CEOs reaping the benefitsof obscene salaries and benefits while their companies and shareholders wind upin what my great-grandmother used to call the "pishadoo."

Add to that my taxpayer dollars going to bail out anumber of said firms and you'll get precious little argument from me on thesubject of restricting the pay of C-suite executives who held their palms upand out for a government handout.

But here's where the pipeline issue comes front andcenter.

What happens when say, a rising young star at one ofthose troubled companies sees that the government is setting the ceiling on payand decides to leave? If the CEO gets ousted, the company loses its pastleadership, and in some of these cases that's not necessarily a bad thing.

But when young talent is discouraged, a company has lostits future direction. Ditto for any potential poaching of executives at a rivalfirm, any of whom may have the skills and acumen to help turn a troubledcompany around.

What sane person would join a company where Uncle Samessentially dictates your paycheck?

To be fair it should be noted that none of the sevencompanies have so far protested Feinberg's decision, nor doI have a feeling any of them are likelyto do so.

In December, Feinberg will rule on the compensationstructures at the seven's next 75 highest-paid employees. It would beinteresting to see a year from now how many are still there, or how many newones have come aboard.

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