Just to show you I don’t just shovel this stuff into the paper…
You know the Nicholas Kristof column I bragged on, which calculated that Richard Fuld was making $17,000 an hour to run Lehman Brothers into the ground? Something started bugging me about the math when I was reading my proof, so I went to Mr. Kristof’s blog and posted the following:
I’m the editorial page editor of The State, the newspaper in Columbia, SC. I’m using your column on tomorrow’s op-ed page.
But I have a problem: How did you arrive at $17,000 an hour from compensation of $45 million? That would work if it were $35 million (assuming a 40-hour week, 52 weeks a year, and how else would you do it?), but at 45, you’d have to assume he was working 51 hours a week, which is an odd assumption to choose.
I need a quick answer. I’ve got to let this page go….
— Brad Warthen, Columbia, SC
That was at 4:34 p.m. At 5:12, I got this reply:
brad, thanks for your note, which was forwarded to me.
I used 50 hours a week and then rounded. Failing to round seemed to me to suggest a false precision when the whole effort is so rough….
So he was being generous and assuming Mr. Fuld was working better-than-banker’s hours (which is a pretty safe assumption, whatever else you say about the overpaid so-and-so). Ol’ Dick’s got no room to complain, then…
Makes sense to me. I pass this on in case you read the piece and wondered the same thing.