A Rant About Obscenely Paid Corporate Profiteers


I probably have too much time on my hands these days, so much of it appears to be spent pissing off my Republican friends. But, as they say, it ain’t work if you enjoy it.

Think of me as an isolated, closeted, inked-up, papered-up, fountain pen-ed-up “liberal” counterpoint version to all those “conservative” radio (rage-io) hosts who pummel us daily with their non-stop diatribes.

Our obscenely paid corporate executives, those making millions upon millions, who neither created the companies they lead nor own them, have sucked the life out of our economy and our nation. I refer to those specific executives who never on their own created or owned the company that they lead. I do NOT mean to include those who did create and/or own their companies— folks such as Gates, Zuckerberg, Schultz (Starbucks), etc. I believe these executives are pretty much entitled to whatever compensation they want and get.

I do not call for an end to the obscene compensations. I simply think they are undeserved and in the aggregate harmful to society. To criticize something is not the equivalent to work to abolish it. After all, you can’t legislate honesty in the free market.

It is arguable that these overpaid corporate executives and their companies have created "good paying jobs." Some have. Many (?most now) have not, except for their top-tiered executives. Many (?most) of their employees are underpaid. Many lack benefits, shifting the burdens of health care, education, day-care, etc to the tax-payers, the public at large. This is how “socialism” benefits the wealthy, and this is part of what I term “welfare for the wealthy.” Surely the vast majority of Wal-Mart, Amazon, and McDonald’s folks are underpaid. It’s not quite slavery, but it’s something unsavory.

If I had the mandate to legislate morality, I would propose the following: Any corporate executive who neither created nor owns his or her company should be paid a maximum of an hourly rate equal to no more than 15 times the hourly rate of his or her corporation’s lowest paid employee. Thus, a Wal-Mart top exec would be paid a salary of approximately $300,000 per year max. Any pay over that amount could not be deducted as a corporate expense and could not be used to lower the corporation’s tax burden.

Also, any compensation over $1 million dollars per year could not be deducted as a corporate “expense” to lower the “net profits” line for corporate tax liability. Go ahead, pay an exec 40 million a year, but you can only deduct one million of it from your corporate expenses. "Golden parachutes” get NO tax advantage for the corporations.

Those who have made fortunes with financial schemes, market manipulations, and other distortions can hardly claim that they have created true wealth and jobs for others. They have simply manipulated for their own gain.

I say most of our nation’s wealth comes from government-initiated programs, directly and indirectly, not so much from the private sector.

The middle class is fading into memory, or so it seems.

Maybe Hillary and the Kennedy’s did not truly “earn” their fortunes, but at least they acknowledge(d) the social problems that arise from the inequitable distribution of resources.

I acknowledge that wealth is relative and that in the scheme of things I, myself, qualify as wealthy. I also acknowledge that the overpaid corporate exec does not work harder than me.

I also acknowledge that publicly funded programs allowed me to obtain my wealth, directly and indirectly. In our society, I could work less hard, but be more clever, and earn more. Maybe I should do that.

I also am adamant that I am not truly wealthy if my neighbor suffers. I am not wealthy if corporate profiteers destroy the environment and threaten the existence of our planet for our descendants.

I am not wealthy if my neighbor’s child cannot obtain a decent education or proper healthcare.

www.eligoodmanmd.com

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