Want to see what an IMF managing director’s contract looks like? Here. Put out on Monday to mark Christine Lagarde’s first day in the job. (The public circus starts with her first press conference, which comes on Wednesday.) In case you wondered: $467,940 after tax and an annual after-tax allowance of $83,760 “to maintain … a scale of living appropriate to your position as Managing Director,” for which readers are invited to make their own judgments.
Couple of notable changes from previous versions, including that of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. 1. Tighter rules on ethics, including attendance at internal IMF ethics training (not a course for the half-hearted, by the sound of it) 2. Ban on political activism including attending party meetings.
The US is down but not out in Bahrain. Back in March, the Obama administration was frustrated by the regime’s crackdown against a Shia uprising and the sudden arrival of Saudi troops in the kingdom in support of the Sunni monarchy. The Saudi message to the Americans at the time was this: stay out of Bahrain, the royal family and Iran’s attempts to exploit the Shia protests are red lines.
The protests were crushed, as had been expected, amid cries of widespread human rights abuses that further embarrassed the US, for whom Bahrain is a close ally and home of the Fifth Fleet.
In Washington they are arguing about a debt ceiling; in Brussels they are staring into a debt abyss. But the basic problem is the same. Both the US and the European Union have public finances that are out of control and political systems that are too dysfunctional to fix the problem. America and Europe are in the same sinking boat.