[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 
developing countries.
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 mailing list