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While middle and working class Americans have seen a wealth crash the last few years, a fortunate few have made out like bandits (which is what generally happens when you act like a bandit). Some were so rich they were not even counted in the Federal Reserve's survey:

That exclusion means that the new Federal Reserve numbers for 2010 understate — by $1.37 trillion, the total wealth of that year’s Forbes 400 — America’s actual level of wealth concentration.
Woops.

One (kind of racist) academic, Charles Murray, even coined a term for these successful people - The Cognitive Elite (dun Dun DUN!). You know, the people who are richer than you because they are smarter, more industrious, and even have better values.

Well, let's look at one recent 1% success story that comes from that "cognitive elite." The story of a man who is a member of Murray's elite corporate managerial class that deserves to rule us because they are just so good.

From Yahoo Finance:

PLANO, Texas, June 18, 2012 - J. C. Penney Company, Inc. ("jcpenney") (JCP) today announced that Michael Francis will be leaving the Company, effective today. Chief Executive Officer Ron Johnson will assume direct responsibility and oversight of the company's marketing and merchandising functions.

Johnson said, "We thank Michael for his hard work at jcpenney and wish him the best in his future endeavors."

Hard work eh? He must be a long term employee who worked his way up from the mail room and [insert trite bullshit here] and he really strove to make JC Penney's the company it is today and...

Not so much.

From Zero Hedge:

Because despite leaving just 9 months after his hiring, Francis is entitled to collect a whopping $9 million in pro-rated signing bonus (alongside $100,000/month in salary): all in all - a tidy package of $10 million for shooting the breeze while observing a sinking retail ship. Not bad for a company whose stock has just plunged to September 2010 levels.

For some perspective, from The Big Picture which includes more charts:
Photobucket

Michael Francis has been have launched into the 1% from just that 9 months of "work" (if he wasn't there already). 9 months of work, $10 million, and JC Penney is at historic lows. Talk about failing up!

So remember when someone tells you those rich people are so "superior" that they are not just luckier than you but that they have "better cognitive abilities" - it is like most of the things you are told about present day America, a lie. They aren't smarter, they aren't more virtuous, the 1% are simply raiding the system. A system they have mangled to serve themselves at your expense.

While record numbers of children live in the street, while veterans have record unemployment, while the middle class disappears - a public company, owned by many of your pensions, is paying this do nothing douchebag $10 million.

That's your America and that's just how it will stay unless you change it.

Don't be a sucker. Occupy Wall Street.

Originally posted to Occupy Wall Street on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:35 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Progressive Hippie, and German American Friendship Group.

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Comment Preferences

  •  And to pay this dickhead who f'd up JCP marketing (5+ / 0-)

    How many hundreds of minimum wage workers in their stores will be laid off?

    Oh, and stay tuned - let's see how much Ron Johnson gets sometime early next year after JC Penny has a miserable Christmas season and he gets canned after all of 1 year on the job.  This shitty marketing / pricing campaign is just as much his baby.  $10 million is chump change compared to what he will get.

    Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

    by absdoggy on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:43:20 AM PDT

    •  Well I Am A Marketing Guy Of 20+ Years (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, absdoggy, MKinTN

      and I kind of like their new logo and their campaign, at least the ones with Ellen in them. I just think it is kind of hard, really hard to rebrand the company as hip. You know, just saying. JC Penny is where my grandparents shop :)!

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:51:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I like it too, but rebranding and going against (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        webranding, congenitalefty

        the grain on department store pricing is tough.  I was reading recently that they are having a tough time convincing the average shopper that their everyday prices are lower, despite not having a sale.

        To me, it's similar to the old Filene's Basement store pricing model, and I loved that.  Used to go into Boston and loved going there, you could get great deals as the prices got marked down the longer things were on the shelves.

        And, I confess, the dirty old man in me came out even back in my teens -  I always went in for the wedding dress sales, when these beautiful wedding dresses that went unsold were marked down unbelievably cheap. It was great entertainment to watch women just undressing right out on the floor, desperate to try on as many dresses as they could before they were all snapped up!

        Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

        by absdoggy on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 12:10:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The Amount Of Money I Spend On Cloths (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          icemilkcoffee

          as a dude would blow people's mind. "Nice" cloths (don't get me started on shoes) are a love of my life. I would NEVER think of going to JC Penny. My parents talked me into it a few years ago and they had more jeans then any store I've ever been in. And their prices were staggering.

          As an advertising guy one of my biggest issues is over-thinking things and making them more complex than they need to be.

          Everybody wears jeans. Just run a darn ad that says we have more jeans then anybody else, including a Levi store, and they are cheaper even if not on sale.

          I mean how hard is that to do?

          When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

          by webranding on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 12:18:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  absdoggy - it's likely Johnson's employment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      absdoggy

      agreement is available online as part of JC Penny's proxy statement. So if you would like to see what his severance package will be, it's probably spelled out in detail and available to the public.

      As you can imagine Francis has a very sweet severance package. Francis was the chief marketing officer at Target, where he worked for 21 years. He was heavily recruited to come to JCP. In my experience these negotiations go something like this:

      If I stay at Target I have X options which will likely worth $Y. If I leave Target I will leave that money behind. If you want me to move to JCP here is what I demand. If things don't work out well at JCP, for whatever reason, I will have as much as if I stayed at Target. If things go well I should be able to earn two to three times what I would make at Target. That's what it will take for me to change."

      I think that is what happened here because Francis had all the bargaining power and was able to make a no risk deal that was very favorable to him.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 10:30:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I've known for a long time (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSWright, happymisanthropy, Gooserock

    that wealth and income averages and surveys leave off the very top. If the true number were told, there'd be rioting in the streets.

    "A cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in time a people as base as itself." - Joseph Pulitzer

    by CFAmick on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:44:15 AM PDT

  •  How did the pay levels get so high? (5+ / 0-)

    While record numbers of children live in the street, while veterans have record unemployment, while the middle class disappears - a public company, owned by many of your pensions, is paying this do nothing  $10 million.

    There seems to be a belief in magical thinking.  If I pay someone more, way more than 99.99% percent earn, magical thinking says I will get a magically huge return. Is it a variation on a Ponzi scheme?

    Democrats - We represent America!

    by phonegery on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 11:56:09 AM PDT

    •  This Is Just My Take, But The Thinking Is (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      icemilkcoffee

      if you pay somebody more money, then the person must be good at their job. Often we seem to find out that isn't true.

      IMHO I don't mind if somebody running a billion dollar company gets paid $10M/year. But they have to produce results. Things like a higher stock price. More revenue. The launch of a new product that is successful.

      When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

      by webranding on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 12:00:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We had high Corporate Profits when CEOs (4+ / 0-)

        were paid at lower ratios to average employees. The notion that paying people more leads to more productivity is highly suspect - in fact the average workers' wages have stagnated since the 1970s while productivity has increased.

        •  Executive Pay Is A Pet Peeve Of Mine (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          phonegery

          Something I didn't mention in my list of why a person should get paid a ton of they do a good job, is that they should raise the pay and benefit of workers.

          I don't buy for a second, if I work at JC Penny and you pay me $10/hour, well I might work hard. But if you pay me maybe $15.50, I bet I work harder and maybe even hire better employees.

          I mean the dynamic you have in technology, where Google or a "hot" start-up will pay the person a ton of money is they want the best employees.

          If I was running a huge company with lower wages, I'd raise them to above that of my competition or I could hire the best workers.

          I'd take those workers and then put my competition out of business.

          When opportunity calls pick up the phone and give it directions to your house.

          by webranding on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 12:11:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  We Eliminated the Compressive Marginal Taxation (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      webranding, MKinTN, phonegery, nchristine

      of the New Deal era in 1981. Whereas your 3rd or 4th million dollar in income in 1980 would've been taxed at 90%, by the next year you could take home most of it. And most of your 300 millionth dollar as well.

      Once that happened it made sense for the top end to demand, and business to offer, the most extreme compensation that could be managed.

      Only finance was capable of an instantaneous turnaround so they deregulated savings & loans and we immediately got our first panic in 50 years.

      From then on the wealth of the high end 0.01% accelerated like a rocket, while the rest of the 1% grew around the pace of a bank CD, and no lower demographic gained any wealth at all.

      The lust for extreme compensation drove the necessity for extreme unsustainably high profitability, which is why finance turned increasingly to gambling while other sectors fled to the 3rd world and many sectors like journalism just crumble away.

      It's not rocket science, it's arithmetic.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 12:08:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What you say makes sense to me. (0+ / 0-)

        Darn it.

        Once that happened it made sense for the top end to demand, and business to offer, the most extreme compensation that could be managed.
        Is there any way to make the business refuse to accede to the demands of the top enders?

        Democrats - We represent America!

        by phonegery on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 02:10:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  phonegery - there is only one correct policy (0+ / 0-)

          The only way to deal with very high levels of executive compensation is through higher marginal tax rates. There is no way to impact the members of the board of directors, or its compensation committee. Boards know that the right CEO can make a big public company worth hundreds of millions more that the wrong CEO so they frequently don't care what it costs.

          The problem is outlined in my comment above. The candidate that you think you really need typically has all the negotiating leverage. That was clearly the case with Francis at JCP.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 10:36:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  the fellow did not "make" $10 million. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    congenitalefty

    The currency is ours.  It's supposed to be managed by the Congress, but they handed off responsibility to the (private) Federal Reserve Bank almost a hundred years ago under the guise that the representatives of the people could not be trusted.  
    Ron Paul is right that the Federal Reserve could be dissolved and Congress could take the obligation to manage the currency back.
    But, in doing that, it would probably have to be admitted that currency is like the other weights and measures whose management is a purely ministerial act.  That would invalidate the effort to control the population with this tool by restricting their access to food, clothing, shelter and education unless they do what they are told (work).
    There's a significant class of incompetents who need others to work and produce a surplus because they cannot supply themselves.  These people fear that, if the working people are not coerced, they won't produce. So, they impose artificial stresses and convince themselves that were it not for their direction, the economies of the world would collapse.

    That we are currently producing enough food to feed 9 billion, but the 6 billion we actually have on the earth aren't properly fed.  How that happens, our managerial elites cannot explain.

    "In the name of the nation, and of the dollar and of the rule of law, you and your children shall sacrifice for the good of all." Rmoney's prayer

    by hannah on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 12:06:27 PM PDT

  •  And just this weekend we learned (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DSWright

    JC Penney CEO Johnson is the 2nd highest compensated in the area

    Average pay of Dallas-area CEO[s] jumped 19.5 percent in 2011
    Consider the area’s two highest-paid executives: Chief executive Brian Maxted of Kosmos Energy Ltd. was No. 1 at $57.55 million, followed by J.C. Penney Co. chief executive Ron Johnson at $53.28 million.
    Usually, the chief executive of Exxon Mobil Corp., the area’s largest company, ranks highest in pay. However, in 2011, Exxon boss Rex Tillerson, with a $34.9 million package, dropped to No. 3 behind Maxted and Johnson.

    He shouldn’t feel too bad, though, because his base salary of $2.39 million is second only to that of Harold Simmons, chief executive of NL Industries Inc., who knocks down a base salary of $3.05 million.

    Although pay packages for area executives are getting bigger, they still lag behind their national counterparts

    http://www.dallasnews.com/...

    from a bright young conservative: “I’m watching my first GOP debate…and WE SOUND LIKE CRAZY PEOPLE!!!!”

    by Catte Nappe on Tue Jun 19, 2012 at 01:55:49 PM PDT

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