Time to set rules for banks

American President Barack Obama yesterday announced that executives of financial firms accepting US government bailouts would have their annual salaries limited to $500,000, a move aimed at protecting taxpayer interests. He also said that companies receiving a bailout must adopt a company-wide policy on any expenditures «related to aviation services, office and facility renovations, entertainment and holiday parties, and conferences and events.» Obama’s move came as the administration moved toward revamping guidelines on a massive $700 billion rescue plan aimed at stabilizing the financial sector. When you see something like this taking place across the Atlantic, you can only wonder why it is not happening here in Greece as well. Why didn’t the Finance Ministry think of adopting such a measure when it was drawing up its 28-billion-euro rescue package for the country’s banks? Now, following the Cabinet reshuffle that has put new people at the helm of the ministry, the government must impose limits on bonuses, wages and dividends earned by the top executives at banks that have benefited from the state-funded rescue package and in doing so protect the Greek taxpayer.