[Marxism] Re CEO Pay
ilyenkova at netzero.com
ilyenkova at netzero.com
Thu May 19 12:18:05 MDT 2005
More stuff we already know re CEO pay but interesting megadifferential
for those in outsourcing.
A steeper ladder for the have-nots
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Columnist | May 18, 2005
IT IS STUNNING to see the Wall Street Journal and The New York Times
simultaneously devote a series to the American class divide. The Journal
reported last Friday, ''Despite the widespread belief that the US
remains a more mobile society than Europe, economists and sociologists
say that in recent decades the typical child starting out in poverty in
continental Europe or in Canada has had a better chance at prosperity."
In an echo, the Times wrote vitually the same thing, adding that in
America, a child's economic background is a better predictor of school
performance than in Denmark, the Netherlands, or France. The best that
could be said was that class mobility in the United States is ''not as
low as in developing countries like Brazil, where escape from poverty is
so difficult that the lower class is all but frozen in place."
Oh joy. This is what we have come to? Comparisons to developing countries?
Another odd thing about the series is that the mainstays of the
mainstream press are making a big deal out of the divide after years in
which many economists warned that our policies were plunging us straight
toward Brazil. For years, groups like the Boston-based United for a Fair
Economy and the Institute for Policy Studies sent up smoke signals that
should have been a smoking gun.
In 1973, the ratio of CEO pay to worker pay was 43 to 1. By 1992, it was
145 to 1. By 1997, it was 326 to 1. By 2000, it hit a sky-high 531 to 1.
The post 9/11 shakeouts and corporate scandals of recent years on the
surface narrowed the gap back to 301 to 1 in 2003. But a much worse
parallel global gap is emerging in the era of outsourcing. United for a
Fair Economy published a report last summer that found CEOs of the top
US outsourcing companies made 1,300 times more than their computer
programmers in India and 3,300 more than Indian call-center employees.
Such groups say if the minimum wage kept up with the rise in CEO pay, it
would be $15.76 an hour instead of its current $5.15. Looking at it
another way, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, another often
written-off liberal think tank, published a report last month that in
the last three years, the share of US national income that goes toward
corporate profits is at its highest levels since World War II, while the
share of national income that goes to wages and salaries is at a record low.
This completes a perfect storm over the last quarter century of
corporate welfare for those with the most among us and vilification for
those with the least. Americans have been seduced by simplistic notions
of rugged individualism to vote more to punish people (welfare mothers,
prison booms, and affirmative action in the 1990s, and gay marriage in
2004) than for programs and policies that might lead to healing the gaps
(national healthcare and revamped public schools).
It is obvious that Americans believed that none of the inequalities long
endured by the poor (because it's all their fault, right?) would seep
into our lives. We were wrong. With suburban schools slashing their
budgets, healthcare costs rising, retirement funds in doubt, and the
next generation facing a drop in their life span from obesity and
diabetes, the nation is sliding into a dangerous place.
A quarter century of a ''mine, all mine" ethos continues to work for
CEOs and the upper class. The rest of America finds the ladder taller
and steepening. Much of the nation is now one catastrophic injury away
from falling into poverty. It should be a national emergency that
stratification in the richest nation in the world has us fading from the
relative mobility of Europe and sinking toward the discouragement in
It is no wonder why politicians who protect the wealthy scream ''class
warfare" every time someone talks about inequity. It is a diversion to
keep those who vote against their own interests from realizing they are
victims of friendly fire.
More information about the Marxism