Letters: Publicize CEO salaries
December 20, 2012 9:46PM
Updated: January 22, 2013 6:11AM
I think it likely that most Americans know that family income in this country is wildly unequal. Of all the developed nations, ours has the greatest inequality of family income.
Back in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, when unions were strong, and good jobs were plentiful, corporate CEO’s were making 10 to 20 times as much income as the average worker at the corporation. Today, CEOs are making one-to-two-hundred times as much as their average worker. Even CEOs who fail are allowed to walk away with millions of dollars.
This is known as the “star system.” It dictates that paying CEOs huge amounts of money is justified because they want to get the “best people they can.” This delusion exists in other areas such as sports and movie making, as well.
In the past, it wasn’t necessary to pay a hundred million dollars a year to get a good corporation manager.
Our British cousins are experiencing the same problem, but I am happy to relate that they are doing something about it. Britain’s strategy operates at the private level, not the governmental. Various independent groups will focus on certain companies’ payouts to their CEOs and to their average workers.
Say the CEO’s salary and perks are 166 times that of the average workers’ pay. This ratio of 166 to 1 seems very high by any standard. The investigative group makes this ratio known to the union, the stockholders of the company and to the interested public.
One study showed that only 1 percent of the British public thought that the ratios of at least some companies were fair.
As this is a relatively new program, observers do not see any reforms happening soon. But it is, at least, a beginning for social justice.
Stereotyping is dangerous
“Old white guys and freeloaders,” I flinched as I read both a letter to the editor and an OpenLine comment on Dec. 5. Stereotypes run wild from both of these individuals. “Old White Men” are the Republicans, of course, as I read that they are the believers in God, the military, the people who vote, the non-moochers, the anti-abortion folks, the guardians of “a family” as it was meant to be. The “freeloaders” refer to the people on the welfare rolls and are thought to be mostly Blacks.
What a sad day it is when anger over the Republican presidential election defeat still stirs such animosity.
One writer states that the Democrats “want to keep giving to the freeloaders … who don’t want to work.”
Is that so? Have these writers studied the welfare system to learn why each and every welfare recipient was found eligible to receive funds? Have these men read the biographies of each “freeloader” to prove their assertion that “these people” don’t want to work? I learned long ago that speaking in generalities often, if not always, results in drawing an erroneous conclusion.
Are there many people receiving welfare checks who are perfectly able to work? Perhaps. Are there any legitimate reasons for qualifying for government support? Probably. No groups of people, identified by gender, race, nor political party can be said to be “all” anything.
Now, I’ll make a possibly erroneous statement: I believe that people whose thinking runs along those lines tend to be bigoted, inflexible, angry, white Republicans. What a sad state of affairs if that is true.
However, if Democrats “all” encourage freeloaders, I’m moved to make such a generality about Republicans. Stereotypes are dangerous and ugly and are often held by uninformed, short-sighted people. Let’s avoid them.
Marcia K. Voss