Last week executives took a big hit to their wallets when pay czar Kenneth Feinberg announced sharp cuts in compensation for companies that received government bailout money—but populists can cut their celebrations short, because it turns out Feinberg gave them a leg up in one key area: regular salaries. A Wall Street Journal analysis reveals that while total compensation was cut in half, base salaries increased. When banks complained about their lowered salaries, Feinberg boosted them in some cases by hundreds of thousands of dollars. On average, base salaries rose to $437,896 a year, a 14 percent increase from previous years. Feinberg, who was tasked with ensuring that companies didn't experience a brain drain as a result of the cuts, did reject some requests for increases, including one from Bank of America that sought a $950,000 base salary for some employees. In the end, more than half of the employees under Feinberg's purview had their base salaries increased.