Companies hire lawyers who make the disclosures in legal mumbo jumbo. “There is no such thing as full disclosure,” scoffs Baxamusa. “Nobody tells us what goes on in the backrooms of these corporations. Government needs a stick with tools and power to enforce the law.”
Crystal says the government does have one really effective tool: the Internal Revenue Service. “The IRS has the ability to deny tax deductions in individual cases,” he says. The agency can declare that a really smelly pay package — say, $300 million — is not deductible. “This could have a chilling effect and spread outright fear” among companies and their consultants.
Concerned that politicians will listen to an enraged public, some companies could go straight. Don’t count on it.