Income Disparity and CEO Compensation - Who's to Blame?
am not of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) mindset, but an honest assessment
of the income disparity between the Haves and Have-nots has indisputably
increased considerably in the last decade or so. A recent report by
the good folks at
EE Times culled data from sources like
IC Insights, and the
AFL-CIO to present the rather shocking reality of modern day global
caste systems (my characterization) firmly in place. In summary, average
pay for 2012 including salaries, bonuses, perks, stock awards, stock
options and other incentives for CEOs of the U.S.'s 327 biggest companies
was $12.3 million. By comparison, the 2012 average yearly pay for the
private sector was $44,300 per the
Security Administration, and for
government employees it is $78,500 (77% higher than private sector).
It leaves me conflicted where on the one hand I embrace the concept
of free market capitalism with its emphasis on innovation and competition,
while on the other hand I abhor the dishonest and underhanded actions
of the duly anointed.
Deciding how much someone should be compensated
for services rendered is, in a democratic society, the domain of those
who are the consumers of and elsewise benefactors of those services.
In many ways a service is a product, or good, so all bases are covered
in the discussion of compensation. As citizens lose - or in our case
cede - control of the government, atrophy occurs and economic rigor
mortis sets in. Power brokers move in to exploit assiduity on the part
of We the People. A ruling class then is free to do as they please,
including the dissolution of hard-fought-for fair treatment in the workplace.
The result is what we have today with blame being shared by the brain-dead
proletariat and the opportunist corporate titans. Roman Caesars pacified
their societies by tossing free bread to colosseum crowds during public
butchering displays of undesirables (non-Romans) to take their minds
off the Praetorian Guard's behind-the-scenes butchering of fellow citizens.
Likewise, contemporary power brokers - presidents, senators representatives,
governors, CEOs, union leaders, et al - keep the sheeple subdued with
ever-increasing levels of handouts like free cellphones, food stamps,
health care, education (term used loosely), housing subsidies, clothing,
and much more. It works. They even permit and pretend to support popular
demonstrations like OWS as long as there is no meaningful ramifications
to the activities.
In ancient days when kings, tyrants, emirs,
and czars ruled the world, that is to say before the creation of democracies
and representative republics where the populace had meaningful input
into the affairs of government and business, income and opportunity
were based more on the fortune or misfortune of birth - or in the case
of warfare, the mightier force. The birth of the United States of America
with its founding documents, inclusive of the Declaration of Independence,
the Constitution, the Federalist Papers, and various writings of John
Locke, Charles de Montesquieu, et al, for the first time in human history
codified the rights of the citizens, aka "We the People," to be a self-governing
entity. It was able to choose its representatives for legislative matters
(Senate and House of Representatives) and its head of state for administrative
matters (president). The third branch of government which tends to judicial
matters (Supreme Court), is appointed and approved by the other two
branches - ostensibly representing the will of the people who put them
in office in doing so. No such government had theretofore existed on
the face of the Earth.
The U.S. Constitution was deliberately
worded to severely restrict the ability of all three branches to impose
laws that go against the will of the People. It attempted to include
the good and exclude the bad aspects of governments as experienced by
mankind throughout history. Incumbent upon the People for successful
execution of the Founders' plan is to exercise due diligence in oversight
and apply proper admonition to and prosecution of government officials
as necessary to preserve the Republic. An eerily prescient Benjamin
Franklin, having completed his work at the Constitutional Convention
in Philadplphia, is said to have told a lady when asked what form of
government had been established, "A republic, if you can keep it."
That the American Experiment was a resounding success is undeniable
to an intellectually honest observer. Yes, mistakes were made along
the way, but the concept of personal and religious freedom, minimalist
government intervention, rugged individualism, a reformed judicial system,
protection against seizure of personal property, etc., allowed the people
and therefore the nation to thrive. During the Industrial Revolution
(born in Great Britain), coincident with America's first century, those
freedoms fostered great advances in society that launched the country
as a major player in world affairs. Immigration to America increased
greatly as foreigners sought to be unshackled from oppressive governments
that stifled individual accomplishment outside of chosen educational
and industrial realms. By the time World War II rolled around,
people were ready and willing to assume the leadership role necessary
to beat back the aggressive advances of Old World nations, even with
the significant disadvantage of doing so with two great oceans lying
between the three major theaters of operation (European, North African,
and Pacific). America claimed not a single square inch of land as victor
anywhere in the world.
Significant advances were made during
the ensuing years in the areas of human rights, science, medicine, engineering,
education, transportation, and quality of life - including better work
conditions and higher pay. Then, We the People, growing fat and lazy
(both figuratively and literally), began resting on our collective laurels
and found more time to worry about what the neighbors had and what we
didn't have. Politicians seized the chance to profit from class envy
and abetted the replacement of hard work and ethical attitudes with
envy and slothfulness. It wasn't enough anymore to promise just "a chicken
in every pot;" instead, everyone had a "right" to not just the chicken
but also a pot, all the trimmings, and an oven to cook it in... and
maybe eventually a chef to do the cooking (sounds a bit like socialized
medicine on our doorsteps now, where doctors are the chefs). All that
is required in return for the favors is that you continue to vote for
the people who promise to take more from your neighbor and give the
fruits of his labor to you. Eventually a point is reached where more
people are available to vote for confiscation than there are to vote
against it. We have crossed that mark.
"A democracy cannot exist
as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters
discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.
From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising
the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy
always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.
The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years.
These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to
spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage
to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness;
From selfishness to complacency; From complacency to apathy; From apathy
to dependence; From dependence back into bondage." -- original author
undetermined, often attributed to either de Tocqueville or Tytler.
Now that the majority of the country is effectively subdued through
threat of withholding government bestowals, the ruling class is free
to have its way with us. What 501(c)(3) tax classification has done
to silence organizations against political opposition, the aforementioned
list of handouts has done to citizens. Like
waging relentless attacks against the hull of the Nebuchadnezzar, so
do the minions of the world's controlling elite wage relentless attacks
against America and other countries. I do not hold out much (if
any) hope for change; there will likely be no sequel where the good
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BSEE - KB3UON
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