The New York Post has a story about NBC/Universal chief Jeff Zucker's pay: "Zucker is paid a base salary of $6.3 million with a minimum bonus of $1.5 million and a possible performance bonus of between $2 million and $4.5 million." Only a corporate tax lawyer could explain how "a base salary of $6.3 million with a minimum bonus of $1.5 million" is different from what a non-tax-lawyer would call "a base salary of $7.8 million." The Post article doesn't even try. In the middle of the financial crisis, GE, remember, got approval from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's Temporary Liquidity Guaranty Program to issue up to $139 billion in debt backed by a government guaranty.
I tend to think Mr. Zucker is worth every penny, and I haven't read his employment contract. It's hard to fault him for negotiating the best deal he can for himself. But the disconnect between the non-elite Americans who are trying to pay their bills and the big companies with federal backing who are paying employees "a minimum bonus of $1.5 million" is the sort of thing that creates political heat.