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08:27 AM on 03/29/2010
If these Fox News Tea Baggers had an ounce of intellect and truly wanted to channel the Framers, they would be spitting Wallstreet execs instead.
08:22 AM on 03/29/2010
The system Reagan and Clinton converted us to is the farthest thing from Capitalism, - it's Socialism for the already wealthy. This system is the enemy of small business snd freedom.

We had the best economic system in *world* history from 1930s-1980s until organized criminals and their mole politicians converted us to pure Fascism (a term I emplore Glenn Beck and his dittoheads to seek the definition of)

Before Reaganomics, opportunity and entrepreneurship possibilities were abundant. Small business owners could compete, retire comfortably and anyone willing to work could find it.

Corporatists in government, 1/3 of the Democrats and all the (Washington), are the real enemies of Capitalism.
09:13 AM on 03/29/2010
Look at how much the economy expanded during the Reagan years then never speak again.
09:25 AM on 03/29/2010
And that has to do with the poster's point how?

I should find it difficult to defend Reaganomics considering the fact that these policies have dominated for the last 30 years and directly led to our current economic/financial situation.
09:31 AM on 03/29/2010
Are you aware that Reagan "expanded" the economy by deficit spending on weapons? That's not a sustainable model. Neither is chastising people about things you yourself have superficial knowledge about.
07:48 AM on 03/29/2010
Reducing pay for high earners (Bruce Springsteen for example) would do nothing for capitalism. Class warfare is a distraction from solving real problems.
08:42 AM on 03/29/2010
He's not talking about Bruce Springsteen here. He's talking about the executive rolls in American industry that somehow have convinced the owners of companies to pay them 400 - 500 times the salary of their company's average worker. This situation only exists in American industry. The rest of the world and America before the 1980s find that 10-20 times is sufficient compensation for a publicly held companies top of the ticket.
Finger Picking blues man
09:34 AM on 03/29/2010
Any time the middle class acts to address the inequities of the past transfere of weath to the wealthy of this country they call it "class warefare". We have been in a state of class warefare for the last 50 years, now there is a rumor that the middle class might fight back. I hope we do......cause we are losing.
My micro bio is empty
11:53 AM on 03/29/2010
People who put meat in the seat (musicians, actors, athletes) can demand high salaries. Their career arcs are usually short and full of pitfalls. They have agents who get their high pay. And no one here is talking about them. We're talking about executives who can show nothing that justifies their pay (How many people will show up to a Springsteen concert if Bruce doesn't show?) Class warfare is a republican talking point. It's not a get-out-of-jail-free card, nor is it a stand-in for class envy. Americans of all political stripes love those with merit. Conservatives try to lump trustafarians and overpaid executives into the same boat as those with merit. Class warfare IS a distraction. One that the ilde rich try to hide behind.
07:40 AM on 03/29/2010
One of the main problems is the failure of our institutional investors to represent us properly.

If I own 0.000000000000001% of the issued shares in Company X and the CEO decides to pay himself $100m I am powerless to stop it.

However if my tiny shareholding is invested along with millions of others by my Pension Fund we might own 60% of the company. In that case it is imperitive that my company blocks that pay packet and insists that the money is either reinvested in the company or given out as dividends.

Sadly it is one cartel with the same people moving between managing pension funds and becoming CEOs of these companies so nobody is going to rock the boat.
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06:25 AM on 03/29/2010
want to pay someone more who risks more? definitely. someone who gets to show up at 8 and leave everything behind at 5 shouldn't get the same as the person who brings it home with him, lives with it all night long.

But the CEO of Coke is surely not a risk taker. he could stay at home and fart every day for a year and coke would still sell. there is no way in the world to justify a 60 million dollar salary.
06:51 AM on 03/29/2010
Problem is CEOs don't take risks at all. It is the company, its employees, its shareholders, its customers and taxpayers who foot the bill if something goes wrong - which it will.
CEOs are payed no matter the result. Somehow this is the lesson of the last years.
06:22 AM on 03/29/2010
These people, we are told, possess such rare commercial talent that they can rightfully lay claim to fabulous wealth. This view persists despite the absence of any reasonable method of measuring individual performance, let alone attributing a company's financial success to it.
I'd wager to say that by now there is absolute and irrefutable proof that the opposite is the case. The higher the pay, the less regard for the future of the company.
However, this is not an abberation of capitalism what we are witnessing here, this IS capitalism. It is ugly, it is violent, it is destructive and it brings out the worst in people.
08:45 AM on 03/29/2010
#4 Well stated and lucid.
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Civilization is for weaklings.
05:51 AM on 03/29/2010
Mr. Bolchover, I missed the spot where you stated the obvious: "The reason these people are paid outrageous amounts is not because of what they do, or what they can do, or even what they know. They are paid because of who they know."

Why else would regulators and legislators get paid so much to lobby their former colleagues?

It's not about performance; it's all about connections.
04:01 AM on 03/29/2010
You wrote a book called The Living Dead? That's hilarious. When I quit programming, I bought a book called Death March and left it lying around on friends' coffee tables hoping someone would pick it up and discover what kind of hell I was escaping.
03:55 AM on 03/29/2010
The worst is when they spout this stuff on TV and everybody recoils in fear like the mafia just walked into the room. Guess what? Bankers like Blankfein are just common swindlers with a sales pitch. Standing up to them is not hard, and it's also necessary if we're going to survive.

And here's the great thing: Banks don't have guns. They're not forcing us to buy this crap. And what's even better, there is robust competition in the banking industry. It's not like gasoline where it all comes from the same cartel. You have a choice where to put your money.

All the money that banks have is money that was given to them. So who the hell is doing it? Can we make a reservation in Oklahoma for all the people with money in Citi and BOA and force them to move there? Because some of us want to get on with our lives.
A Disciple of Nietzsche
02:41 AM on 03/29/2010
An executive at a firm doesn't "negotiate" a salary package as does a professional athlete or actor. The executives are part of a good-old-boy's network of boards-of-directors who unilaterally decide what the going rate is for "talent" (whatever that is); whereas, athletes must bring their agents and attorneys to the table and actually negotiate a salary. Don't even try to convince us they're the same thing.

Furthermore, I'd like to ask this question for the 1000th time: What exactly do these CEO's and executive types DO to earn the $1000's of dollars A DAY? Are they really worth hundreds or thousands of times the salary of the regular workers in a firm? No one seems to know or care about the answer, but I sure do. I've worked for and with some wealthy business owners and my observation is that they spend a lot of time on the golf course or vacationing or otherwise NOT doing what you and I would recognize as work.
Finger Picking blues man
09:41 AM on 03/29/2010
It has been my experience that these CEO's make the decisions. Usually based on informantion recieved by yes men and a gut feeling. The good news for them is that no matter what the outcome they get to judge thier own competancy and guess what? Ninety eight present of the time, they made the right decision base on thier won evalutation of the results, also based on the input of yes men and thier lower digestive tract.
01:37 AM on 03/29/2010
What government agency should we put in charge of salary caps? Then when do we go after highly paid celebrities? I dare anyone to "measure" the "talent" of Bill Maher.
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04:06 AM on 03/29/2010
Highly paid celebrities are only highly paid if they put butts in theater seats, or achieve high ratings on the TV machine, radio or whatever. When the audience stops watching, the big bucks stop. Bill Maher's talent must be keeping him and his bosses in the revenue, or else he'd be cancelled in a New York minute.
CEOs, on the other hand, can wreck a company, and get paid millions in compensation to leave. They are then simply recirculated through the good ol' boy (and now girl) network, and placed at the top of some other poor unsuspecting company. Again, earning millions regardless of performance.
One would think big business itself would want to instill caps and reward/penalty clauses into the system. The CEO of the company I retired from, single-handedly wrecked the business. He then made a personal fortune working out a deal for a merge with another company, which bought the now severely weakened company for a fraction of it's worth before this man's inept policies nearly destroyed it.
He left with millions, and tens of thousands of employees lost their jobs as a result of his greed and incompetence. He imediately got hired as CEO of another company, and proceeded to destroy it. Explain to me how that makes any sense.
12:19 PM on 03/29/2010
Perhaps the metric we use to measure celebrity success is all wrong. Does anyone really need to make millions of dollars doing anything? Personally, I think if Bill Maher makes more than $12.50 and hour, he's over paid. Why should any celebrity make more than a cop, fireman, or soldier?

We need pay czars to determine the value of all jobs. Then we can have fair income redistribution. Socialism rules!
06:50 AM on 03/29/2010
We had a salary cap in this country up until 1980. It was a high marginal tax rate on the highest salaries.
12:21 PM on 03/29/2010
1. That is not a salary cap in the truest sense.
2. How well were those high tax rates working for the economy?
07:12 PM on 03/28/2010
Are you saying that if Atlas shrugs the sky won't really fall?
09:18 AM on 03/29/2010
Ha, well put.
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07:10 PM on 03/28/2010
imo ceo salaries are set usually as a form of patronage not from a true competition. ceo will usually come from the same groups that get on board of directors.
Raynard Branch
07:03 PM on 03/28/2010
This is a no-brainer. If those wall street pukes and bankers who destroyed the financial market with their greedy conniving ways are the best the world has to offer, then, isn't it obvious to anyone who is not a Repug that we could have done that bad all by ourselves?

If they are the best, then hell, I'll take a mediocre. At least with a mediocre, we would have had someone managing the money whose main goal wasn't to drive his/her salary up another couple of million. Only Repugs buy into this high executive pay crap. Here's the kicker. Because Lil Bush gave all of his rich buddies massive tax breaks, then it is easy to conclude that the majority of the ones who lost loads of money to those wall street crooks are the rich folks who had money to burn. Yet, those same ones continute to cry the need for capitalism and high paid managers even after they just got their azzes handed to them. That's what I call arrogance.
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04:12 AM on 03/29/2010
I had to laugh when the banks and Wall Street made the claim, that they had to keep paying these ridiculous bonuses even after the economic collapse, because they couldn't afford to lose these little darlings.
Who, literally in the WORLD, would WANT these losers working for them? They should have been glad to still be employed. Thanks to them, about 10 million or more of their victims are currently NOT employed.
06:43 PM on 03/28/2010
Hurrah! I've been waiting for just such a comment. As I always say, "Just put my finance major daughter in such a CEO position and she would do (probably) an even better job than the one who just got his salary raised another million." She'd be satisfied with just his/her (probably "his") first million--or maybe even less....

As a share holder of just a few paltry shares of a couple of such companies, I ALWAYS vote against the granting of such unwarranted salary adjustment. But, of course, I always lose.
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05:33 AM on 03/29/2010
She couldn't do worse.