Welcome to the real world.

February 5, 2009 at 8:47 am (Politics, This Makes No Sense) (, , )

Okay, I really think this has to be said.

In regards to Obama wanting to cap executive salaries (in companies receiving significant federal money) at $500,000…it’s about damn time.  I’m using stronger language than that in my head, but I’m trying to be decorous here.

For everyone who has been saying for the past decade that CEOs earn way too much, this is fabulous news.  For all that I’m not even 24 yet, I am one of those people.

Seriously, it’s bad enough to have CEOs making close to 400 times as much as the average worker when times are good, and when it is reasonable to argue that the CEO is doing good things for the company overall.  But to try and argue that when the CEO has just laid off half the company and is holding out his hand for a bailout?  Please.  Spare me.

What many people don’t seem to realize is that the only thing Obama is trying to do is introduce reality back into the upper echelons of the corporate world.  In the real world, where the majority of us live, losing a lot of money for your company means that you suffer serious consequences, up to and including losing your job.  I don’t even think it matters if it was your fault – if it’s because of decisions you made, you have to face the consequences.

In CEO la-la-land, losing a lot of money for your company, perhaps even so much that it has to sell off pieces of itself, means you get a raise.  A big one.  Sometimes you even get to sell your company stock before the price per share takes a nosedive.

Reality sure does suck sometimes, doesn’t it?  Now the people at the top have some inkling about how the rest of us have felt for the past 8 years.

So forgive me if I can’t muster a lot of sympathy for people who cry foul when they are offered an income that is 200 times what I make, given to them because they had a direct hand in causing an international economic implosion.  They have made my life, personally and directly, a lot harder.  They didn’t give a flying flip about how their actions affected people like me, so I really don’t see why I should care about them.



  1. Kristan said,

    “to cap executive salaries (in companies receiving significant federal money)”

    I think that parenthetical is key, because I do think our country was founded with the principles of capitalism in mind and heart, and I would not want to see that undermined.

    (Also because, truthfully, these people are responsible for a great deal more than the majority of the country. That shouldn’t be ignored. Just like sports players endure a great deal of physical trauma, or entertainers are scrutinized and robbed of privacy.)

  2. Mary said,

    Right. And that means they certainly do deserve to earn 30 or 40 or even 50 times the salary of the average worker. But that’s a far cry from 400 times the average salary, plus benefits and perks, regardless of how the company fares.

    The argument for paying executives so much and giving them so many stock options is so that they have a stake in making the company succeed. That’s fine – but only if the board of the company actually follows through. What that should mean is that they get paid very well when the company succeeds, but that they stand to lose as much as the company does if the company fails. Currently, that’s not happening, not even with the new cap on executive salaries.

    That’s what responsibility means. It doesn’t mean getting paid an exorbitant amount of money no matter what you do.

  3. Kristan said,

    “What that should mean is that they get paid very well when the company succeeds, but that they stand to lose as much as the company does if the company fails.”

    Oh I certainly can agree with that. (Though I don’t necessarily think we need to go after their house and their car and all that. Their FOURTH house or their FOURTH car, on the other hand…)

  4. Mary said,

    What it really means is that they should lose their stock revenue (just like the company), and have their pay severely reduced or lose out on their jobs entirely. There’s no need to go after their belongings.

    After all, if someone is fired, the company can’t take back everything that person has been paid for previously. 🙂

  5. Kristan said,

    Hmm, just stumbled across this blog and thought it was semi-relevant:


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