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Sometimes I think we've lost our capacity to be truly shocked anymore.

This story is emblematic of so much that is wrong in this country.

From Think Progress:

Hours after new Duke Energy CEO Bill Johnson assumed his new position following the Duke/Progress Energy merger this week, he resigned his post. But Johnson can still qualify for up to $44.4 million for his time and effort
And they say government is wasteful!  In fact, we're constantly being told that government could learn a thing or two about efficiency and financial restraint from business. That apparently means handing over gargantuan sums of money to people who walk in the door then walk right back out again.

The story continues:

Despite his short-lived tenure, Mr. Johnson will receive exit payments worth as much as $44.4 million, according to Duke. That includes $7.4 million in severance, a nearly $1.4 million cash bonus, a special lump-sum payment worth up to $1.5 million and accelerated vesting of his stock awards, according to a Duke regulatory filing Tuesday night. Mr. Johnson gets the lump-sum payment as long as he cooperates with Duke and doesn’t disparage his former employer, the filing said.

Under his exit package, Mr. Johnson also will receive approximately $30,000 to reimburse him for relocation expenses.

So as long as he plays nice with everyone he gets to keep the package.  That seems an easy enough commitment to make for $44 million.  I could learn to keep my mouth shut for that as well.

Here's another interesting statistic:

Grist calculates that Johnson’s pay package comes out to $5.5 million per hour, if he actually put in a full 8-hour day.
The "if he actually put in a full 8-hour day" is priceless.

I have many middle class friends and relatives who are struggling to keep afloat in this economy who, nevertheless, balk at saying anything bad about rich people, believing that it is "class warfare" born of envy on the part of the person making the accusation.  It is stories like this one then that are so effective in illustrating the point the rest of us are trying to make.  

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