Job Destroyers, Not Job Creators
Congressional Republicans recently passed on President Barack Obama’s offer of $4 trillion in cuts in federal spending over the next decade, including changes in expensive entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
Because Republicans across the land have signed anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist’s pledge never to vote for a tax increase. From South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint to former Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, those who call themselves “Rs” have gone dry on taxes, even taxes on the richest among us who can most easily afford to pay them.
People like Phillipi Dauman, the CEO of Viacom, who received $84.5 million in compensation in 2010, a 149 percent raise over his previous year’s salary. And Occidental Petroleum’s Ray Irani, who was paid $76.1 million for his labors, a 142 percent raise from 2009. And Leslie Moonves of CBS, who took home $56.9 million, a pay raise of 265 percent.
The nation’s 10 highestpaid CEOs in 2010 received an average salary of $44 million. Their annual pay hikes ranged from 14 percent to 265 percent; they averaged 104 percent.
A rhetorical question, dear reader: Did you receive a 104 percent pay raise in 2010? Or annual compensation of $44 million?
In 2010, remember, the nation’s unemployment rate stood at 9 percent and the majority of Americans looked at pay cuts, fewer hours or pink slips rather than pay raises.
So why do congressional Republicans insist that these exorbitantly compensated CEOs should not pay more in taxes to deal with the nation’s growing national debt?
Because, Republicans argue, they are “job creators” and should not be discouraged in a bad economy.
Nonsense and balderdash.
“Job destroyers” is the proper term. According to Marketwatch.com, “The CEOs of the 50 firms that laid off the most employees in the past two (recession) years earned 42 percent more in salary and perks than the average boss of an S+P 500 company.”
In other words, it pays to fire people. How well did these job destroyers do?
Verizon’s Ivan Seidenberg fired 21,308 workers in 2009; his board of directors paid him $17.5 million for his job-destroying skills.
Frank Hassan of ScheringPlough couldn’t match Seidenberg in distributing pink slips. He only reduced his work force by 16,000, but it was enough to earn him $49.5 million from his shareholders’ compensation committee.
The top 10 job-destroying CEOs in the country fired a total of 107,448 workers in 2008-2009. Their companies rewarded their knife-wielding CEOs with an average compensation of $23.4 million per year.
The nation’s CEOs have, in short, made out fabulously while the rest of us not so well. As a nation, we’ve compensated our CEOs two times as much as comparable industrial nations. Our median executive income has risen 430 percent since 1970. Our corporate profits have grown 250 percent. The wage of the average American worker since 1970? Try a meager 26 percent.
In 1975 the top 0.1 percent of the population who earned $1.7 million or more held 2.6 percent of the nation’s earnings. Today it’s 10.4 percent and growing.
In 2011, in the midst of the debate over raising the debt ceiling and in the face of the refusal of congressional Republicans to compromise at all on the issue of taxing the wealthy among us, we need, in the interest of honesty, to redefine ourselves as a plutocracy. As the rich rule, the people and the democracy are in retreat.