But the foundation tells Reuters that Goldman informed it that it would ask the SEC to block the proposal from appearing on the proxy ballot sent to shareholders -- effecting stopping the plan dead in its tracks.
Given how modest the proposal really is -- it wouldn't produce any changes in the way executives are paid: just a report -- it's puzzling that the company is looking to the SEC to allow it to block it from appearing on the ballot.
In an op-ed piece in today's Wall Street Journal, Yale Law School professor Jonathan Macey decries governmental efforts to curb pay at banks: "We should continue to let shareholders pay their managers whatever and however they want."
But the banks can't have it both ways. They can't fight their shareholders' right to have their ideas presented to other shareholders and simultaneously insist that the government stay out of it because shareholders are on top of it. Shareholder democracy in America is a joke, and the "let shareholders take care of it" argument fails to recognize that.
The solution is for the government to stay out of the executive compensation business: but rigorously enforce the right of activist shareholders to stay in it. Blocking Goldman's effort to remove the Cummings Foundation's proposal from the proxy would be a great place for the SEC to start.