21 September 2012

Bonuses for Poor Performance

Like a lot of people, my reading of political news gets increasingly voracious as Election Day nears.  This morning I was struck by this article from the New York Times, which discusses the surprising fact that the Romney campaign is hurting for money.

This is surprising because for a long time we've been hearing about how Republican supporters have been pouring money into this campaign, particularly the very rich.  But PAC money is not campaign money, and the fact that most of Romney's money comes from the wealthy turns out to be a bit of a problem--only a fraction of their contributions become campaign funds; the rest goes to the Republican National Committee.

What particularly struck me, though, was where some of Romney's campaign money has gone: bonuses.

The day after accepting the Republican nomination, Mr. Romney gave what appeared to be $192,440 in bonuses to senior campaign staff members. At least nine aides received payments...
I am not sure whether such bonuses are common practice for campaigns, but I suspect not, since the reporter notes that they are "likely to draw grumbles from Mr. Romney’s allies."  Even if bonuses for outstanding performance are common, what performance is being rewarded in this case?  Making it through a terrific convention? Really?  Does anybody remember anything about it except the Clint Eastwood weirdness?

No.  So these folks are getting bonuses in spite of poor performance, and in an organization that's hurting for cash.

Really? That's what the "businessman candidate" does?

I can't say I'm surprised; that's how a lot of financial companies do it, as we all learned during the last crash. We also learned how well that worked: rewarding risk-takers for losing bets, even rewarding them for winning some bets when most of the organization's bets are being lost--it's not a strategy for stability, growth, or even survival.

It's a strategy for fail.

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