Written by Jeff Nielson Monday, 25 November 2013 11:15
Obtaining perspective with respect to the issue of “executive compensation” requires little effort. One simply compares historical norms with the outrageous excesses of the 21st century.
Go back a century ago; when our governments were solvent, our economies were prosperous, and everyone had jobs, and the pay ratio between senior management and the average worker ranged from roughly 3:1 to 10:1. Flash ahead to the 21st century; when our governments are bankrupt (from a massive revenue crisis), our economies are mired in permanent depressions, and structural unemployment is at all-time highs, and we now often see this ratio exceeding 1,000:1.
CEO’s (allowed to run amok) are awarding themselves compensation hundreds of times more than what they are earning. Let me quantify this more precisely for the mathematically-challenged majority. Being paid 1,000 times more than the median wage rather than 10 times more (the norm) equates to being paid 100 times more than one earns.
But understand that “100 times” doesn’t mean being overpaid by 100%. It equates to being overpaid by 10,000%. Put another way, the “compensation” being stolen by these corporate thieves would have to be reduced by more than 99% to lower it to what these executives actually earn.
Conveniently, Bloomberg has provided us with a corporate Hall of Shame, taken just from corporations listed on the U.S. S&P 500 Index, a (partial) list of the most overpaid CEO’s in an era of the most grossly excessive executive compensation in history:
JC Penny Co. 1,795:1 ($53.3 million)
Abercrombie & Fitch Co. 1,640:1 ($48.1 million)
Simon Property Group Inc. 1,594:1 ($137.2 million)
Oracle Corp. 1,287:1 ($96.2 million)
Starbucks Corp. 1,135:1 ($28.9 million)
Even if we take the high end of the historical norm (a 10:1 compensation ratio); every one of these corporate thieves would have to have their criminally-inflated “compensation” reduced by more than 99% to bring it down to what they actually earned. And understand that a crime is being committed here.
It’s called “misappropriation of funds” (i.e. embezzlement, i.e. theft). Taking more than 100 times more than one earns, and calling it “compensation” is no more legal than a CEO announcing he was using corporate funds to buy separate palaces for a harum of mistresses. The fact that corrupt/complicit boards of directors of these corporations allow this theft-in-broad-daylight to take place again and again and again does not make it legal – it only makes them accessories to these crimes.
Finally, the citizens of one nation are taking action. Put another way; the only nation which still has “citizens” is taking action: Switzerland. The people of that nation proposed limiting executive compensation to a hard cap of no more than 12 times the wage of the lowest paid worker (not the average pay). Thus this Swiss proposal would do nothing more than mandate compensation limits which are in line with historical norms, when our nations were solvent and prosperous.
It is ironic – but in no way surprising – that the workers/citizens standing up and saying “enough is enough” in Switzerland are already the highest paid workers in Europe. But even with the (relatively) high average wages in that nation; the corporate thieves of Swiss corporations would still see their own compensation reduced by 90% or more to bring it down to what they actually earned.
Written by Jeff Nielson Tuesday, 19 November 2013 12:40
It is historical fact that the United States “recruited” heavily from Hitler’s “Third Reich”, the Nazi regime which terrorized the world before and during World War II. Primarily, the U.S. wanted Hitler’s scientists, which it used to construct the world’s first Doom’s Day weapon – which it then immediately used on Japan, twice.
Given this disturbing pedigree; it is not entirely surprising that the United States has risen up in the image of Nazi Germany. The parallels are stark and numerous.
It has created the world’s largest war-machine (even more dominant than Hitler’s). It has turned its former democracy into a fascist, two-party dictatorship. It has no respect for international law. It has no respect for its own, domestic law.
The U.S. Constitution might as well have been burned, as this two-party dictatorship routinely ignores its mandates, passing illegal “laws” which flout those provisions, generally in the name of stripping personal liberties/human rights. A nation which used to be famous for building highways and bridges now devotes nearly all of its construction dollars to building secret prisons and hi-tech surveillance facilities (while its highways crumble, and its bridges collapse).
Like the Third Reich, the Fourth Reich is a rabidly racist and xenophobic regime. It has alternated hating/fearing/persecuting blacks, Latinos, (non-white) Muslims, and any other demographic not WASP’ish enough to meet its standards for racial purity.
Like the Third Reich; the Fourth Reich is an extremely belligerent regime. It indiscriminately engages in the use of military force, leaving a large wake of dead, innocent civilians in its litany of war crimes. It tortures, it detains people without charges, without evidence, and without habeas corpus (i.e. “indefinite detention”). It claims the “right” to assassinate anyone, anywhere, simply by pointing its finger at a target and claiming that they “deserve it”.
Perhaps more disturbing are the efforts of its massive propaganda machine to warp the minds of its own population. The resultant cultural insanity – this Binary Insanity – has made the U.S. population literally incapable of even considering “moderation”, in anything.
Deliberately divided into two opposing, hate-filled political camps; there is no longer any objective Truth in the minds of these Binary Drones. Rather, every single issue in their lives has either a “Republican truth” or a “Democrat truth” (depending on the political affiliation of individual drones).
But where objective Truth does not exist, there cannot be any “reality”. Instead there is simply the Propaganda Matrix (Republican version, and Democrat version); into which these Binary Drones willingly “plug” their own minds.
A legitimate news media is comprised of roughly 80% reporting of facts/information, and 20% opinion/analysis. The Propaganda Matrix is the precise, perverse opposite of this. Small amounts of heavily-filtered, fictionalized “news” are accompanied with endless, repetitive rants – as Republican propagandists and Democrat propagandists preach to their respective, Drone zealots.
The Drones are not simply told (again and again and again) how to interpret this “news”; they are told how to think. There is no longer any diversity of opinion. Rather, this Corporate Media preaches to the Drones as a single, monolithic herd – the classic trademark of any propaganda machine – except bifurcated into two parts, to create the illusion of “choice” (and illusion of democracy).
Proof of this two-party dictatorship comes simply from observation. While the two-halves of this dictatorship (neatly) alternate between titular control, the policies never change. The foreign policy remains identical. The monetary policy remains identical. The economic policy remains identical – subject to the fact that all these policies become steadily more extreme/radicalized.
While one could write chapters about the structure and evolution of this hate-filled society, this would fail to capture one of the most-important realities of this social, political, and military monstrosity. The Fourth Reich is, itself, a Puppet Regime.