Washington, D.C. - US executives representing several bailed out and troubled firms appeared before a joint session of Congress to protest caps on executive pay. The executives threatened that if they were denied such perks they would leave the private sector and supply their talent to the government.
The session was called after months of taxpayer frustration with bailed-out firms giving large bonuses to executives, despite poor performance from their employees. The executives, while openly admitting it was their own poor decisions that led to the recession, nonetheless held firm on the need for such high levels of pay.
"Talent like ours demands a high reward, either in pay or power. If we cannot pay a good wage our talent will leave, most likely to join the ranks of government," said Franklin Raines, former Fannie Mae CEO.
To show he was serious about the threat of business executives moving to government he held up a Carly Fiorina for Senate bumper sticker.
Prior to the session several members of Congress had addressed the media, vowing to hold the companies accountable to the taxpayers' interest. But by the end of the session, and under the threat of having executives of failed companies swarm the ranks of governments, the rhetoric was toned down and more conciliatory towards the executives demands.
"I originally planned to hold these guys to the fire for how they were handling the taxpayers' money, but I realized that the interest of maintaining a functioning government is more important. As bad as they have wrecked the economy in their own businesses, it'd be worst for them to bring their talent and experience to the government," said Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
Congress passed a joint resolution to avoid discussing caps on executive pay. Obama praised the decision as historic.
"Only a few times in our history has the United States come so close to utter collapse as it did today. By retaining executive bonuses and keeping CEOs out of government the Congress, like Lincoln, has kept this union together," Obama declared.