Saturday, June 13, 2009

Executive Over-Compensation

It has always been a pet peeve of my brothers that top executives make too much money when compared to the average worker of their company. This is a fact in America and it is hard to dispute since most of these far from deserving cretins are in public companies and must disclose their pay rates.

But it is so well known as to be mainstream these days and even appears in Dilbert comics.

In simple terms the Board of Directors for a company meets a few times each year to determine a course of action supposedly intended to increase business. However one of the main points that comes up at every meeting is executive compensation.

Since the meetings are open to shareholders the procedure has the air of legitimacy since it is not behind closed doors. So when it comes time to decide how much of a raise the board should give themselves they put it to a vote. However anyone with a first grade math course can see that the total votes in the pocket of board members will far outnumber those of the shareholders. In other words these men (usually) decide how much to rape, pillage and steal from your company without hopefully killing it. In this way they are quite similar to the lowly parasite! Also first grade biology - a parasite lives off the body but dies with it so it behooves the thing to at least keep the body on life support.

And the best thing about this whole process is the fact that most of the board members have nothing to do with the particular company upon which board they sit! You see the CEOs and higher ups of each company bring "smart" businessmen onto their board with the full knowledge that they in turn will be invited to sit on the other guy's board. Then when it comes time to vote on compensation it is a"one hand washes the other situation" or as the street term goes, a cluster f**k.

And guess who is at the other end of that cluster? The shareholders of each company. And then by extrapolation the entire country because little by little the top earners pull away from the rest of us and leave such a gap between the two classes as to be comic if it were not so tragic.

Congress is about to take on the problem of executive compensation in America. Is anyone actually fooled by this? Don't get me wrong I am as naive as the next guy and I actually hope that something can be done but I am also realistic. There is no way on Earth that America can slow down the rise of the wealthy let alone stop them.

The more money they have:
The more Senators they can buy.
The more TV air time they can buy.
The more stations they can buy (Fox etc.)
The more nations in which they can hide their money from the IRS in.
The more Americans they can lay off and replace overseas in the name of profit.

Can anything be done? Only if we the people do not allow them to deflect the issues at hand all the time. Only if we the people stop them from changing the subject all the time. Only if we the people insist that our elected officials stop being such dim-witted self-serving stuffed-shirts and actually do the job, THE ONE AND ONLY JOB for which they were elected. They must stop blaming each other for the past and start working with each other toward the future. (Talk about naive! The future is only important to these phonies as it relates to their re-election status.)

The myth of "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" does not exist. There will always be a Willet Creek to stop the idealist in Congress, not that there are any left.

I sound like a defeatist but that's only because I have been defeated so often. But there is always tomorrow. Hopefully it will be the tomorrow of "Annie" and not the "Macbeth" one!

No comments: