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View Diary: It's Not Wage Stagnation, It's Wage Robbery (151 comments)

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  •  Worker pay isn't impacted by CEO compensation (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, nextstep, Sparhawk, MGross

    The overwhelming majority of CEO compensation is in restricted stock or non-qualified stock options, both of which are not cash expenses to a company. The cash compensation of the CEOs of the Fortune 500 is a small fraction of 1% of  total corporate expenses. If the CEOs took only $1 in salary and bonus it would allow the companies to increase the pay of all hourly workers by less than 1%.

    CEO pay isn't the issue of why the pay of other employees has stalled.

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 10:02:01 AM PST

    •  Fine, keep wages where they are and give out (7+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koosah, RichM, Alumbrados, JVolvo, elwior, AWilson, BYw

      stock to make up for it.

      While you dream of Utopia, we're here on Earth, getting things done.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 10:10:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No thanks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Tasini

        I mean, "stock" is certainly something, and it could be lucrative. But it won't put food on my table unless I cash it in.

        In the big picture? Not interested.

        This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

        by lunachickie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:07:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Preferred Stock (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lunachickie

          If the company's assets are sold off to another entity, the preferred shareholders are more likely to be in line to receive compensation. Holders of common shares (like typical employee stock options or ordinary stock market investors) get squat. In an IPO, common shares might make something, but preferred shares, again, make more.

          •  It still doesn't put food on my table (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            radical simplicity

            either, unless I cash it in :(

            This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

            by lunachickie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:11:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Except for utilities few public companies (0+ / 0-)

            issue preferred stock, and haven't for a long time. Companies will issue convertible debt or straight debt. Preferred stock doesn't play a role in the capital structure of public companies any more. Preferred is used extensively in private companies and is issued to investors so they have a preference in liquidation over the founders and other common stockholders.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:36:17 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am aware of the role of preferred (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, lunachickie, FindingMyVoice

              stock in private companies. Most public companies began life as private ones, in which case preferred vs common was relevant.

              In public companies, class A and class B shares play a similar role, though not all companies divide their stock into separate classes. For employees, Class A = power over the direction of the company, Class B = roll those dice, baby!

              As a form of employee compensation, stock is simply a means of deferring useful pay that could otherwise be being invested in the demand side economy - if the employee is lucky. If the employee is not lucky, it's a means of permanently not compensating the employee for a portion of their labor.

    •  Why do you think wages have stalled? (4+ / 0-)
    •  Actually that could not be further from the truth (40+ / 0-)

      Before Reagan and when corporations could not compensate their top executives with company stocks to avoid taxes there was a tax incentive to pay the companies employees a better wage.

      CEO's made an average of around 20 to 30 times the lowest paid employee in the company over three decades ago but today they make 300 to 1000 times more. The top executives and stock holders have captured 95% of the productivity gains produced by the employees while the employee's wages have lost purchasing power in the economy. CEO pay in company stocks changes the whole business structure, business decisions are now made on what is best for the stock price rather than what is best for the customer and the health of the company in general.

      Yes CEO pay is a major part of the problem creating lower wages for American workers. It was caused by changes in the federal tax structure that began with Reaganomics.

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 10:29:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's the coupling of compensation to stock price (8+ / 0-)

        ...rather than wage rate that, as you say, changes the whole business structure and how business decisions are made. However, it's not just CEOs getting those options and bonuses. Variable compensation based on corporate goals and market prices have been pushed way down in corporations since the early '90s and staff from the CEOs down to supervisors have been reaping those gains. Profits have been reinvested into raising productivity with technology and financialization which further raises the compensation of all vested staff. Yes, that's not an incentive for higher base wages and there are even lower emloyee counts as a result. But for decades now productivity gains are not being accomplished by the same staff working harder or smarter. The people creating the higher productivity methods and systems are instead being compensated. So, I think it's a lot more complex than you say and the facts you share are more coincident than causal.

        •  It's pretty simple (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kck, VClib

          A cobbler is a high skill position. They need to make shoes using very specialized skill sets.

          Someday their company comes along and hires an engineer to design a machine to make shoes. The owner and the engineer are highly compensated for this work.

          The cobbler's job has now been replaced by an unskilled guy who only knows how to push the "make shoes" button and a tiny fraction of a highly paid guy who fixes the machine when it breaks.

          What has happened here? A skilled middle class job has fallen to automation. The company owner made a lot of money. The design engineer is paid a considerable salary. Society in general benefits from extremely lower cost (and higher quality generally) automated produced items.

          But the net effect has been the elimination of a previously "good job". "Productivity" has increased, but the salary for the position falls. It's not like pushing a button is a skill like being a cobbler is. You can find a person to push a button anywhere. So "wages don't track productivity", especially median wages.

          This goes on every day. There doesn't have to be a conspiracy or "theft" (though it feels that way to the displaced worker). There just has to be the normal human desire to do more with less resources.

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 02:09:42 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Exactly, it's not hard to org and reorg... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tonedevil, FindingMyVoice

            ...around these realities so that everyone gets invested. We can handle this.  American workers can be protected without protectionism, can unify labor and organize to protect the interests of all workers without industrial era type labor unions, and can extend social benefits cradle-to-grave to all Americans as they move in and out of jobs without the adversarial and inefficient industrial era coupling of benefits to employers.

            The status quo is unacceptable but nothing is being done to address it and no one, Dems included, are even talking about solutions. Raising the min wage is not a solution, it's not a strategy, it's a no-brainer to stop the bleeding and at least maintain the status quo.

          •  This is NOT (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Tonedevil, ozsea1

            a normal human desire.

            to do more with less resources.
            This is a "normal unfettered capitalistic desire on behalf of stockholders". There's nothing human about it.

            This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

            by lunachickie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:09:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Really (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, nextstep

              So, you don't shop for items based on price?

              Anyone who does so contributes to this dynamic.

              If you buy plane tickets on the web instead of a travel agent, you are doing the same thing the "capitalists" are.

              No matter how obliquely you choose to participate in this process, buying this and not that because of price, at the end of the day, drives someone to make these decisions.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:24:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're talking about two different things (4+ / 0-)
                you don't shop for items based on price?
                I am not a company paying wages. "Humans shopping for groceries and looking for sales" is not the same thing as "A corporation paying wages to one human, and expecting those wages to compensate for that one human doing the work of two or more other humans."

                Most of your previous comment was reasonable enough, but that last sentence completely tanked it. There's nothing human about the desire to do more with less in that particular context. Unless you want to refer to it as unconscionable greed. THAT is human.

                This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

                by lunachickie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:39:47 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  I work at a privately owned company... (25+ / 0-)

        ...and the owner takes home between 576 times what the low paid worker in the shop makes or 240 times what I make. Each year we get about a 1.5% raise. It doesn't matter how hard we work (I worked my ass off the first couple of years there, but now I only give a little over 40 hours a week). They get mad when you don't work massive amounts of overtime, but there isn't an incentive. In fact, I can tell their incentive tends to be, "You have a job."

        I also see this in job adverts while I job hunt for new work. "Applicant must be able to multi-task (Do the work of four people) and do what is necessary to get the job done (Massive unpaid overtime) and have a positive job outlook (Not call out the Mother fuckers on their immoral B.S.)."

        The beatings will continue until moral improves.

        Regulated capital serves the people, unregulated capital serves itself.

        by Alumbrados on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 12:30:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Amen! (8+ / 0-)

          Particularly the "multi-task" reference:

          "Applicant must be able to multi-task (Do the work of four people) and do what is necessary to get the job done (Massive unpaid overtime) and have a positive job outlook (Not call out the Mother fuckers on their immoral B.S.)."
          The qualifications are ridiculous for a lot of Good Jobs, particularly in the tech sector (or what remains of it, anyway). I always wonder why they cry the blues because they can't find people to fill their positions. Maybe if the qualifications listed in their damned help-wanted ads made some freakin' common sense, they'd get what they need! Someone pointed out the other day that it's not unusual to see tech ads specifying 2-5 years experience with a particular discipline or set of code spec that's only been around for several months. And you know what? I've seen that. Absolutely.

          This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

          by lunachickie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:15:23 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Same here (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lunachickie, Alumbrados

            Those ads are almost always cover for meeting the letter of the H1-B visa laws:

            "We advertised the position, but couldn't find anyone with the qualifications, honest! The only person we could find is this college student from [other country with slave-level wages] whose student visa is about to expire after he has "interned" for us for the last 2 years. Can we get an H1-B for him, pretty please?"
            •  Yup (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              radical simplicity, Alumbrados

              and they can rob the H1-B holder blind, because all they have to do is threaten them with loss of their visa.

              Not that it's not bad enough what they do to the natives--I'm just saying if you're here on any kind of visa and you get threatened with having it pulled and you have to go back where you came from, that's a huge incentive to shut up and take whatever they're dishing out.

              This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

              by lunachickie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:46:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Even worse (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lunachickie, Alumbrados

                They're often actually employed by front companies that hire them out on a contract basis and take a huge cut of what little they do get paid.

                The contracts they've signed with those companies require that they pay the company some ridiculous sum should one of the hiring companies try to bring them on as a full time employee. I had an employee discover this the hard way, when I hired him full time. He discovered that little bit of fine-print when my employer's legal department received a letter demanding we pay the person's former employer $10k for the privilege of having hired him. I was given two options: let him go, or get him to pay the money himself and present proof to our legal department that the payment settled all debts to the contract house.

                They are, essentially, indentured servants.

      •  ...which Reagan policy was this? (3+ / 0-)
        Before Reagan and when corporations could not compensate their top executives with company stocks to avoid taxes there was a tax incentive to pay the companies employees a better wage.
        The 1986 TRA changed the law to tax capital gains at the same rate as income (something which has since been changed.)

        The top income rate was lowered in the 1986 reforms, but it was already down to 50% prior to that, having come of historic highs some time before.

      •  RMF - you are misinformed about the stock (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nextstep, Balto

        There is no doubt that lower marginal rates make high incomes more valuable to the recipients. But since Reagan left office, and the top marginal rate was 28%, they have moved back up to nearly 40%, the highest rate since the Tax Reform Act of 1986 which completely rewrote the IRS code for individuals. And I have no argument that the wage disparity has grown significantly as CEO pay has mushroomed and pay for hourly workers has flattened, that's just a fact. But that's not my point, which was that if the CEO gave up all his cash compensation it wouldn't fund much of a raise for all the hourly workers.

        You are misinformed about the tax impact of equity compensation. This is a widely held view here and I should do a diary about it just as a reference piece. All equity compensation to the CEOs of the Fortune 1000 is taxable as W2 income at the top marginal rate, currently about 40%. There is no way to structure that income so that it qualifies for long term capital gains, now taxed at 23.8%. It is impossible. Only executives who manage investment partnerships can structure their incentive compensation so that it qualifies for long term capital gains treatment.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:43:25 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Nonsense n/t (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1, RMForbes

          This all started with "what the Republicans did to language".

          by lunachickie on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 04:51:29 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  lunachickie - this is one area where I am an (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Balto

            expert and every tax professional on this site agrees with my statement about equity compensation and that it is taxable as W2 income. This isn't my opinion.

            I have engaged the best tax professionals in SF, NYC, and DC on this issue and there is no way to make non-qualified stock options (the only kind CEOs receive) and restricted stock qualify for long term capital gains. If it could have been done I would have done it while serving as compensation committee chairman, a role I have had at numerous public companies since 1988.

            If you have some specific examples that show otherwise, I'd like to see them. I'd love to know how to do it.  

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:47:52 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  So if that were true how did Romney have (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib

              an effective tax rate of less than 15%? Wasn't he paying deferred income taxes at the capital gains rate? I guess you agree that the very wealthy should have the tax code written in their favor. What we have today is not a progressive tax system which incentivizes reinvestment in our domestic economy. That's not okay by me and something I believe we need to work to change.

              Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

              by RMForbes on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:28:06 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  RMF - Romney was in one of those rare (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Balto

                businesses where the managers can structure their incentive compensation to qualify for long term capital gains. You have to start with a partnership structure. So that eliminates all corporations. This is important because in a partnership profits and losses are determined by contract, the limited partnership agreement, not by the amounts invested by all of the parties. The partnership must have a finite life, typically ten years. So that also rules out corporations. The partnership must acquire assets, hold them long enough to qualify for long term capital gains treatment and then within the finite life of the partnership all the assets must be SOLD to recognize the gains and the proceeds distributed to the parties.

                Subject to certain performance requirements the partnership managers are awarded, by contract with the investors, an equity ownership position in the assets. Upon liquidation all partners are treated the same so the managers receive incentive compensation that is eligible for long term capital gains treatment, just like the financial investors who provided the capital to the partnership. This incentive structure is called a "carried interest" and has been how all investment partnerships have been structured since the early 1970s. The typical partnership managers are in venture capital, hedge funds, private equity, real estate, oil & gas and movies.

                Bain Capital was initially a venture capital firm and expanded to also be a private equity investor. Both of those investment areas are structured as investment partnerships and conform to the requirements I outlined above. Mitt Romney has a continuing carried interest in each investment partnership formed by Bain Capital and that is why his income was eligible for long term capital gains tax rates.

                It's unfortunate that people think that because Mitt Romney had such a low tax rate that all equity compensation awarded to executives has the same tax treatment. Romney was not a corporate manager, he was an investment manager.  

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 07:00:05 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  I know all about sole proprietorships, partnership (0+ / 0-)

                  LLC's and S-Corps, their profits are all like you say taxed as the individual income of the owner(s). However, C-Corps and especially transnational corporations are not taxed this way at all. Why do you say they are?

                  Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                  by RMForbes on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 07:42:39 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  RMF - I didn't write about the taxation (0+ / 0-)

                    of corporations at all. I was only discussing the taxation of the incentive compensation of executives and the differences between corporate executives and investment managers.

                    I made no mention of corporate taxes. This was all about the taxation of individuals.

                    I would appreciate your feedback because I obviously wasn't clear and I am thinking of making this comment into a diary.

                    "let's talk about that"

                    by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 07:48:31 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  You're right, I wasn't clear (0+ / 0-)

                      Corporate executives at a fortune 500 transnational corporations don't have their compensation taxed in the same way as the rest of us small business owners at all. The current tax code favors these already very wealthy individuals which I believe is incredibly wrong in my point of view. I believe all income from any source should be taxed at least 50% on income over $3 million a year like it was between 1935 and 1986 when Reagan deregulated corporate compensation regulations. We need to close these loopholes that allow corporate CEO's to pay little or now income taxes on their compensation.

                      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                      by RMForbes on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:12:13 PM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  RMF - Senior Fortune 500 execs (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        nextstep, Balto

                        pay the top marginal rate of nearly 40%. You can argue that is too low and should be higher. But because all of their corporate compensation is W2 earned income, they are paying the top rate. They would have to have a huge investment portfolio and generate a lot of capital gains from selling appreciated capital assets, or making very big charitable gifts, to drive down their effective rate. So these executives do in fact pay taxes on the same basis as successful small business owners. In fact, small business owners have more options (but less income) to legally shelter income than Fortune 500 execs.

                        When the Tax Reform Act of 1986 passed it closed nearly all the loopholes, that was the rationale of dropping the top marginal rate from 50% to 28%. Rates before 1986 and after really can't be compared, because they apply to a completely different IRS code for individuals. Not many loopholes remain for corporate executives. All their perks are now taxable income. I remember when car allowances, and other similar executive benefits weren't taxable income. That's long gone.

                        "let's talk about that"

                        by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 08:53:00 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

    •  ...on the one hand (20+ / 0-)

      worker productivity is way up but worker compensation is flat.

      On the other hand, more or less all new wealth created is diverted into the pockets of the parasitic 0.1%.

      The purpose of conservatism is to prevent anyone from paying attention to these facts.

      Politics means controlling the balance of economic and institutional power. Everything else is naming post offices.

      by happymisanthropy on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 10:39:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Where did the wind fall... (5+ / 0-)

      From productivity gains go, then?

      “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” - John Steinbeck (Disputed)

      by RichM on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:22:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  essentially (17+ / 0-)

        into the hands of CEOs, shareholders (often times the WalMart family-type controlled wealth creation schemes), the web of hedge fund/private equity firms who stripped the firms of their assets (e.g., terminated overfunded pension funds and pocketed the cash) and, then, sold them for profits (laying off hundreds of thousands of workers overall)...you know, that kind of casino economic "plan".

        Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini

        Visit Working Life.

        by Tasini on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:47:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Romneconomics (13+ / 0-)

          Yep, you sell it off piece by piece, then declare bankruptcy. Its all legal and total robbery.

          Also on the wage front, workers get beat over the head with the fact that Asian workers get only a a few bucks a day, if that. So, its a squeeze play, and we're sick of it.

          A true craftsman will meticulously construct the apparatus of his own demise.

          by onionjim on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 12:18:24 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Romneconomics = Sopranomics. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            onionjim, Tonedevil

            It makes me think of an early episode Bust Out:

            Tony and Richie Aprile squeeze money out of David Scatino's store, ordering Ramlösa bottled water, coolers, airline tickets, and sneakers on the store's credit and selling the merchandise on the street. They inform Davey the squeeze will continue unless he is able to pay the money he owes them. Davey is distraught over his situation and at one point, he lies on a pool table in his basement while pointing a pistol into his mouth. When his wife enters the room he hides the weapon in the ceiling tiles and claims to be fixing a light. Later, his wife and Carmela Soprano have lunch at Nuovo Vesuvio and she expresses concern about Davey's gambling, mentioning that the sporting goods store is in her name. Artie Bucco serves them the mineral water that Tony had Davey order, mentioning that he got a great deal on the price.
            -snip-
            Too embarrassed to go home, Davey has taken to sleeping in a small tent set up at the store. In a late-night conversation with Tony, he asks how this will end. Tony explains that he and Richie will keep charging items to the store's credit and selling them until there is no more credit available and bankruptcy is the only option for the store. Davey is inconsolable even after Tony explains that Davey's debts to both Tony and Richie will then be considered satisfied. Tony also explains to Davey that this is one of his primary sources of income, he only let Davey in the game because he knew this store was available to bust out, and reminds Davey that the Executive Game was fair; Davey could just as easily have won a lot of money as lost it.

            We are all pupils in the eyes of God.

            by nuclear winter solstice on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:14:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Don't forget ravening predation of worker pensions (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            onionjim

            So what if municipal and teacher pensions were instantiated to compensate for lower base pay, and lack of access to social security for retirement? All it takes is a little bit of lying about how and why a city's budget is ailing to gain free licenses to rob those silly little peons blind.

            Can't tax those job deflators, no siree! But robbing old ladies who paid into the system for decades? Go for it!

        •  "Web of hedge fund/private equity firms" (5+ / 0-)

          I should make a permanent link to where I can show and expand this more often, but look at the top ten largest owners of any Fortune 500 company, say, UPS, Dell, McDonald's, Disney, ExxonMobil, and Bank of America, and you'll find it's the same list of 12 - 15 names: Vanguard Group, State Street Corp., Goldman Sachs, BlackRock, Massachusetts Financial Corp., and a few others. Imagine the executives at those companies, and then imagine the investors that gave them a few million dollars when those funds started. They're the ones calling the shots.

          I'm living in America, and in America you're on your own. America's not a country. It's just a business.

          by CFAmick on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 01:03:21 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Vanguard is owned by the investors. (0+ / 0-)

            Unlike the rest, Vanguard charges very little and does not have brokers push favored stocks on commission.  Otherwise I agree with you.

          •  Most of the entities you list as shareholders do (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib

            so as mutual funds, Exchange Traded Funds, etc., where other parties are the ones that in effect own the company shares.

            This is very different than these financial companies owning these public companies.

            The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

            by nextstep on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 02:44:44 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  RichM - primarily to the shareholders (0+ / 0-)

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:48:29 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Wow. (4+ / 0-)

      Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees.  Our system, commonly referred to as "capitalist," is by its nature one of exploitation.  This is not necessarily a bad thing, when resources are conscientiously used to feed, clothe, and house people, and are expended in an efficient manner to make the world better.  Unfortunately our system has devolved to a point where it's eating itself, feeding off the fat from things of value built previously, that are now just food for the profit machine. Labor and wages, natural resources, intellectual property, pensions, etc., are all now merely fat cows that are tied up and ready for slaughter by the owners in our great "ownership society."  Why build stuff anymore?  That's hard work, requires creativity, and is such a bother.  Sucking the life out of things of value someone else created, and redistributing the profits generated by labor upwards? Now that's the ticket.  

      CEOs are just one small cog in the machine.  Their pay? Geez, what a small sprout to fixate on in a very large and dark forest.

      "After the (job losses) and (austerity) they won't be the same human beings you remember. Slaves?. . let's just say, they'll be satisfied with less" -Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine, as explained by Ming the Merciless.

      by Softlanded on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 11:39:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  We're not buyin' it (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gustynpip, Tonedevil

      Either you're misinformed or misinforming, VC.

      As one friend to another, someone's got to be honest with you.

      WE. AREN'T. BUYIN'. IT.

      “Vote for the party closest to you, but work for the movement you love.” ~ Thom Hartmann 6/12/13

      by ozsea1 on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 12:18:14 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  oz - I think people have missed my point (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Balto

        which was cash to the CEOs isn't what is keeping down wages for the hourly workers. Total CEO compensation is clearly driving the inequality, but the diary author was trying to make the point that CEO pay was holding back compensating hourly workers in a fair manner. Even if you take the total cash compensation of the five highest paid people at Fortune 500 companies the total cash compensation doesn't represent 1% of the company's total payroll.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:54:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Sorry, VCLib, but you are utterly wrong. (9+ / 0-)

      1. "Free" stock to an executive means that the company is never paid, while diluting the value of stock bought that helped to grow the company.
      2. Stock going to a CEO is not a one-time payment like cash- it keeps paying dividends. The CEO has a claim on future profits of the company until the CEO decides to sell the stock. That means a CEO with a large chunk of stock gets paid in stock this year, and gets paid in dividends... forever.  How is that not a drain on the company's profits that could otherwise go towards worker pay?  That is if the CEO keeps the stock instead of going for the quick buck, which brings me to my next point.
      3. A CEO paid in stock has as much or more of an incentive to raise the stock price in the short term than an incentive to grow the company and keep it healthy and profitable for the long term.  This is why CEOs outsource rather than promote workers, and why regulation is a dirty word to the 1%/GOP.  How many people now think of CEOs as long term thinkers?  Damned few.  That's dangerous for the long term value of the company and for the health of the community in which the company is based.

      •  Jerry - I agree with you, but you missed my point (0+ / 0-)

        I had only one point, cash compensation to the CEO isn't holding down the pay of hourly workers.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:56:18 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Straw man (0+ / 0-)

          First, it's not just *cash", it's overall benefits--including long-term pension. Second, the context is the combination of factors driving down wages for workers. Lastly, actually, if  you took that one percent of payroll that goes TO ONE PERSON off the table, it has meaning in the context of bargaining negotiations where health care costs and wages are cut because, oh, gee, we have no money...it's the entire picture.

          Follow me on Twitter @jonathantasini

          Visit Working Life.

          by Tasini on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 05:10:16 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tasini - it really depends on the size (0+ / 0-)

            of the company and the magnitude of the CEO pay package. In Fortune 500 companies, with billions of revenues, even the top five executives total compensation (which includes all those other elements you noted), less the equity component, is less than 1% of the total compensation expenses for the entire corporation. These companies have tens of thousands of employees and total salary, wage and benefit expenses that are in the billions.

            The spread between CEO pay and hourly workers is unconscionable and the actual amount of the total compensation is reprehensible. Lowering CEO compensation would certainly help the spread. My only point is that it wouldn't help very much lifting the wages or benefits of the hourly workers.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 06:01:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Worker pay isn't impacted by CEO compensation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darth Stateworker, Tonedevil

      in the same way CEO compensation isn't impacted by stock price, profitability or productivity.  

      "These are not the scapegoats you're looking for."

    •  More bullshit from VClib. No, the "overwhelming (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Darth Stateworker, Tonedevil, ozsea1

      majority" of CEO compensation is not restricted stock or stock options.  They receive a tremendous amount of cash.  And regardless of whether it's a cash outlay, it's something of value that impacts the bottom line of the company and therefore the ability of the company to pay their other employees more.

      And it's not only the CEO's who are overpaid, so whether they're only stealing 1% of the hourly workers' pay for that one person is irrelevant.  Add up all that's stolen from the hourly workers to pay the overpaid top management, and the hourly could, in nearly every case, be paid a fair wage for the production.

      •  In the Fortune 500 equity awards are the (0+ / 0-)

        overwhelming majority of total compensation. It's not my opinion, it's all public information.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Tue Mar 04, 2014 at 03:58:20 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "vast majority" first. Now it becomes the (0+ / 0-)

          "overwhelming majority".  It's the majority.  Not the vast majority nor the overwhelming majority.  And I notice you have no response other than parsing this silly excuse.

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