High ticket CEOs often complain those who object to their squeezing blood out of the nation turnip for their personal gain are simply jealous. I suppose that is true in many cases, but even if people are jealous it is understandable. It’s hard not to be jealous when the mortgage company is kicking your family to the curb – just as the CEO buys a multi-million dollar summer “cottage” in Aspen. But there are others, and I am one, who object on business grounds.
Much of the CEO’s “compensation” comes from companies that take the concept of corporations-as-people far past any original intent. Under the CEO’s direction, corporations reap record-breaking profits, even in recessions that crush those who buy their products or citizens that pay hefty taxes (which captains of industry caterwhal are breaking America’s back) to fund the profits through not insubstantial corporate welfare.
For all the talk about the value of small business, we could fund thousands of small businesses for years just on what a single multi-national gets in tax breaks in a single quarter. It’s a vicious cycle – multi-nationals take billions in taxes from just-plain-citizens to prop up corporate values to pay hefty dividends and fund expensive lobbying efforts to continue getting our money from the people who don’t live tax-free. In turn, CEOs get massive compensation to hire lawyers and accountants to make sure they get their money as tax-free as possible, and so on. This is not robbing Peter to pay Paul. This is robbing Peter and then complaining Paul wasn’t carrying enough cash for Paul to steal.
Creating Jobs in the Booming Corporate Executive Sector
The moral implications for our society aside, it’s also bad business…and it is consumers and regular taxpayers who are partly complicit in creating and perpetuating the problem. Notice please, that corporate welfare and substantial loss in consumer buying power comes from people and industries that demand cuts in “entitlements” (I hate that misnomer) and not cuts in the programs that benefit them. They do this under the guise of “creating jobs”, the code words for “trickle down economics” that create no jobs – unless one means jobs in the booming corporate executive sector.
Trickle down economics falls more and more into disrepute by economists more intelligent than the ones hired to justify the blood they squeezed from the national turnip. Even David Stockman, former St. Ronnie of Reagan acolyte and one of the architects of the scheme, thinks it is one of the biggest mistakes he ever made. And, he was able to see this mistake not from bar charts and pie graphs, but by observing corporate behavior. A rising tide can’t lift all boats if someone steals the boats.
It’s hard to convince me that a corporation with more money than they’ve had in their history is too afraid and poor to create American jobs because they aren’t making enough money. It is doubly hard to believe they are shipping the few American jobs left, along with much of the corporate welfare I gave them, to Bangalore and not investing in real jobs in Pittsburgh.
This is where bad business and irresponsible consumerism come in.
Big Deals at Bill’s Bargain Barn and TV Emporium
America’s Christmas buying orgy begins earlier each year. At the current rate it will begin on Jan. 2 in 5 years. People stab each other for the chance to buy a must-have widescreen TV made in China fer Chrissakes! Last time I checked, I don’t know of a single occurrence of someone stabbing anyone to get into the local appliance store to buy the TV – and that’s even after the local guy provides ample parking and takes a bath on the sale price to get you into the store to buy something you can live without and that shipped the entire widescreen TV industry off to China.
This sort of rampant consumerism is voting against your own interests, and it is bad business whether you are the consumer or the local appliance shop. Few of us actually “need” a wide screen and if we can afford buy it Walmart, we can afford the extra few bucks to buy it Bill’s Bargain Barn and TV Emporium. If the price different is too big to afford, you shouldn’t buy it anyway. Perhaps you could buy something you really need, like a new fridge (get the through-door water dispenser, I love mine). Besides, they might even still make it here. You win. Bill wins. Someone gets to keep a job, and we can all make a better case that GE really doesn’t need a huge tax cut to survive. Even GE wins. Bill makes a few bucks and you get to keep your job in GE’s fridge factory. And that CEO who makes more money than the deity of your choice? He still gets to build his umpteenth cottage, which coincidentally, might actually “create” a job for a drywall hanger making minimum wage.
This is not class warfare. This is not trickle down economics. This is not socialism, income redistribution, or jealousy. This is the grease of a free(er) market. The problem isn’t that America has too little money, it’s that the vast number of people don’t have it to spend because all of it is in the hands of a few instead of out actually being invested in America.
I’m not jealous of the people who make the big bucks. I’m pissed off at people who consistently vote against their own self-interest.
Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks! More than politics, more than pop culture & humor.