Saturday, November 09, 2013

Knocking CEOs

My CNJ column explained why raising the minimum wage won't solve anything.  But, what then is the solution?

What, if anything, to do about grossly overpaid CEOs and underpaid employees?

Convince stockholders to cut the CEO's pay would be one tactic. But if they think the CEO is worth what they are paying him you'll have a hard time convincing them to kill the goose that's laying their golden eggs.  In that case they believe he is responsible for increasing the profit of the corporation, and their own dividends- whether or not that's true.  But, even if it's not true it really isn't your concern how much the CEO makes.  Don't like how much he is paid?  Don't do business with (or work for) that corporation*.

Plus, it's probably a fantasy to believe that cutting a CEO's pay will increase the pay of the employees.  One vastly overpaid guy's paycheck isn't going to make much difference when divided among all the underpaid employees**.  I doubt they'd even notice the additional money in their checks, and if it were enough to notice it would probably just kick them into a higher tax rate and result in less take-home pay anyway.  This is why you should remember he isn't the real enemy- those who work for The State and set up and profit from the corrupt system are a more valid target.

I agree that it is emotionally aggravating to know you work for a few dollars an hour while someone else, working for the same company, sits in an office, in a cushy leather chair that rolls, and makes more money in one month than you'll earn in your whole life.

I guess the best solution isn't to try to knock him down; it's to find a way to join him.  Without becoming a thieving, aggressive parasite.  I never said it would be easy- if it were, I would have done it.

*Corporations are a government-created fiction.  They are a part of government, and probably wouldn't exist in a free market, unless a way can be found to have the liability-avoiding benefits, without the theft and coercion.  I don't see that happening, but maybe you do.

**In 2012 the CEO of Walmart made $20.7 million.  Walmart has about 2 million employees (as far as I can tell, this is only counting the employees in the American stores).  So, if you divided the CEO's entire pay among the employees they'd each get $10.35 more per year- that's not quite 20 cents per week; a half a cent per hour for full time employees. Woohoo.

Now, look at a paystub and see how much the various "governments" steal from every paycheck, and then tell me who the real parasite is.


  1. Thomas Jefferson was no friend of corporations. As to the salary of CEOs versus employees, we should remember that the CEO is responsible for running all of the company. An employee is only responsible for his or her particular job. If the CEO fails at his or her job the whole company could go down in flames, so to speak, affecting all of the employees. If an employee fails at his or her job little to nothing will happen to the company or fellow employees and the employee that doesn't do his or her job can be quickly replaced.

  2. Another way of viewing the question -
    Imagine three men applying for the job of CEO.
    They ask for $100,000; $1,000,000; and $5,000,000. Which guy would you hire ??
    You would review much more than their compensation requests before you offered the job to any one of these men, but doesn't it seem fairly certain that the applicants would seed themselves by asking to be compensated relative to the success they could bring to the organization ??