Friday, April 20, 2012

Thanks Conservative Republicans For an Economy That Rewards The Wealthy at The Expense of Workers

Both charts show economic growth during Obama administration.

Thanks Conservative Republican For an Economy That Rewards The Wealthy at The Expense of Workers

The AFL-CIO has released its CEO Paywatch with 2011 data. So how do CEOs stack up against ordinary workers? Well, the average CEO of a company on the S&P 500 Index earned 380 times the average American worker's wage, with average CEO pay having increased 13.9 percent in 2011.

The highest-paid CEO in the country was Apple's Timothy Cook, whose total compensation was nearly $378 million. That's more than 11,000 times the average worker's income of $34,053. The 100th highest-paid CEO, Heinz's W.R. Johnson, had total compensation of more than $18 million, 543 times the average worker's income.

What we can't know is how much CEOs make compared with the workers in their own companies; however, that's something the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill will soon require companies to disclose. And it turns out it might well be good for companies if transparency pushed them to bring CEO pay a little more in line with average worker pay:

    High CEO-to-worker pay ratios can reduce the performance of companies. Academic research has found that steep pay disparities hurt employee morale and productivity. Extreme disparities between CEO and employee pay also have been shown to result in a significant deterioration in the quality of products produced.

    In companies where CEO compensation is disproportionately high compared with that of other employees, CEO-to-worker pay disparities can cause high employee turnover and lower job satisfaction. Another study found that firms with high levels of CEO pay relative to other top executives also reduce performance.

Those results are in sharp contrast to the current corporate wisdom self-interested myth that CEOs are worth every penny, that these pay levels represent meritocracy and that lower-paid CEOs would mean companies being less effectively run. But you have only to compare current CEO-to-average worker pay levels to those in the past to see that there just might be a decent argument for doing things differently.

Whatever this is, it is not capitalism as most American understand it. The average American stills believes that people get ahead on merit. And are paid more based on merit. Instead what we have is very wealthy people giving each other huge sums of money just because. Just because they're friends. Just because they talk a good game. Just because they are connected. Not because they produce anything themselves. Most CEOs - not all - most do not even know how to make their products. They would not have a clue how to distribute anything. If they had to do the work of the average employee they'd be lost. Middle- managers do the actual day to day management of the company. Conservatives have made America into 17th century France. All we're missing is the crowns and fancy velvet clothes.

Mitt Romney's Noblesse Non Oblige

There's nothing wrong with being born with a silver spoon in your mouth. It's what you do with that good fortune that matters. And that is at the heart of Mitt Romney's problem with the American people. With his proclamations and policies, the same man who denounces President Obama as "out of touch" and "Marie Antoinette" shows his aloof detachment and stunning incomprehension of the struggles Americans face every day. And yet, they don't begrudge him either his privileged past or financial success. Instead, they just want him to acknowledge the debt he owes to the society that made it possible.