Compared to Europe, where countries are taxing half of all bankers' bonuses, the Americans are getting off easy: The Obama administration's pay czar, Kenneth Feinberg, is limiting bonuses for top executives at bailed-out companies—Citigroup, GMAC, American International Group, and General Motors—to $500,000. However, 12 senior employees were exempted from the cap because they were necessary for the companies to "thrive, be able compete, and not lose key people," Feinberg said. The new rules will only apply to the second half of December and will not affect what employees have already earned this year. Still, they will affect year-end bonuses and stock grants.
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