A declaration of good intent is simply a license to steal; at least in this hyper-charged political environment. Someone tell me where in the Constitution it says government has the right to arbitrarily decide private company pay, and to take it away if deemed excessive (16th Amendment doesn’t cut it, so don’t even try). Bank executives were told — ? la Luca Brasi and Vito Corleone — it will be their brains or their signature on the bailout paperwork. Didn’t matter if they didn’t want it. If the execs didn’t sign, their banks would have been fully nationalized anyway. But their bonuses were still based on performance, according to the contract that Treasury drew up, a contract Treasury now says it didn’t understand (even though it was their own contract — can’t make this stuff up).