"I want to dispel any notion we want to inhibit your success,” President Obama told 20 CEOs this morning, according to a source in the room. “We want to be boosters because when you do well, America does well."
Really, Mr. President? I'll get into specifics below the jump, but in case you hadn't noticed: while it's a very GOOD time to be a CORPORATE CEO (corporate earnings are at record highs), it's a BAD time to be a working American. A very bad time.
Let's take a look.
Wall Street banks are on pace to pay out some $143 billion in compensation for 2010, just shy of their record year of 2007. But given the widespread layoffs of mid-level employees as a result of the financial crisis, average compensation set a record. At the top six banks, compensation rose 10 percent over 2007.
And then there are all the other corporations (this is from the AFL-CIO):
Chief executives at the nation’s largest corporations received $9.25 million in average total compensation in 2009, according to the AFL-CIO’s analysis of available pay data from 292 companies in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index. Although average total compensation for these CEOs declined 9 percent from the previous year, executive retirement benefits increased 23 percent.
Contrary to what the President said, even though everything is coming up money for the CEO's, things look a little differently for middle-class Americans:
¶The typical American household made less money last year than the typical household made a full decade ago.
¶To me, that’s the big news from the Census Bureau’s annual report on income, poverty and health insurance, which was released this morning. Median household fell to $50,303 last year, from $52,163 in 2007. In 1998, median income was $51,295. All these numbers are adjusted for inflation.
¶In the four decades that the Census Bureau has been tracking household income, there has never before been a full decade in which median income failed to rise. (The previous record was seven years, ending in 1985.) Other Census data suggest that it also never happened between the late 1940s and the late 1960s. So it doesn’t seem to have happened since at least the 1930s.
Mr. President, I hope you are not so out of touch or naive as to actually believe the sunshine you were blowing up the asses of the CEOs today. If you truly think that "when [the CEOs] do well, America does well", then I have a Magical Elixir of Bipartisanship to sell you. If you were lying to the CEOs to make them feel better, that's a little less discouraging, in one way, but in another way, it isn't. If you really are aware of how well they are doing and how hard things are for everyone else, then why are you cozying up to them? You think that if you tell them that you like them, you really like them, they are suddenly going to throw a lot of money at hiring American workers that they otherwise wouldn't have thrown? They really aren't that into you, Mr. President. They are only going to hire if they are sure it will mean more money for them. Otherwise? They'll sit on the their money or give it to your opponents.
It was famously written that there is a season to everything. The season for bipartisanship is over. The season for treating corporate America with kid gloves is over. So what season is it?
Fight, or fail.
It really is that simple.
UPDATE: Wow, wrote this in the wee hours and then woke up to the Reclist! Thanks all!