Archive for Sunday, November 16, 2008

Excessive pay

November 16, 2008


To the editor:

I have been reading about AIG and awhile back I was reading about Westar and the severance and bonus packages these corporate employees get even if they have been in the positions for a short period of time, and I wonder how this could happen. No wonder the cost of living is so outrageous since we have to pay the cost of the millions and billions of dollars to pay for those packages. The worst is the ones that get fired because of their performances and we still give them compensation. I think Americans need to stand up and say that is not acceptable.

Becky Martin,


notajayhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

I'm a little curious, Ms. Martin, as to what business you're in, that you'd welcome 'Americans standing up' and deciding how much you are allowed to make.If you think a company's prices are too high because they pay their executives or other employees too much, don't buy their product.

appleaday 9 years, 7 months ago

Wow, notajayhawk; tell me where I can shop around for electricity.

notajayhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

"and would be more content if everyone had enough."So tell me, how much of an impact in 'everyone's' pocketbook would it make if the top executives at AIG (currently #35 on the list of the world's biggest corporations, with over $110 billion in revenue and more than 100,000 employees) made less? How much of an impact would it make in the prices of our everyday products if a business's insurance costs were lowered by this minimal amount?

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 7 months ago

Some of us are content with making enough... and would be more content if everyone had enough.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 7 months ago

Given that 1% of the US population has nearly 50% of total wealth, what effect do you think a fairer distribution would have, nota?Why is that among free-market fundamentalists exorbitantly high pay is considered an indispensable motivational factor for the wealthiest among us, but for everyone else, just wanting something akin to a living wage for a day's hard work is characterized as envious whining?

notajayhawk 9 years, 7 months ago

Wow, apple, maybe not the best example to use since most public utilities are regulated anyway, but for a start, why don't you take a look around your house and see how many things are plugged into the wall that you could live without? Or how much you could cut back with solar, wind, or other alternative energy sources?Like lawrenceguy said, this is nothing more than class envy - WE all want to make more, regardless of who has to pay more for our products because of it, but when it comes to buying things for ourselves, THEY should be making less so our goods are cheaper.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 9 years, 7 months ago

How has it improved anything other than an individual circumstancefor a "top executive" to make more?

james bush 9 years, 7 months ago

Big government policies of both parties got us here since ww2 and now no one is smart enough to get us out, I fear w/o a lot of pain.

jonas_opines 9 years, 7 months ago

notajayhawk: I'll show you where you lost this argument. It happened early, right here:notajayhawk (Anonymous) says:"Wow, apple, maybe not the best example to use since most public utilities are regulated anyway, but for a start, why don't you take a look around your house and see how many things are plugged into the wall that you could live without?"It would not be a good example, were we to be talking about free-market economics, but we're not. The original LTE uses Westar specifically as an example (with AIG of course, which I'll get to presently). So with the original LTE's example what we actually have is You making up alternative examples (strawmen, if you will) outside of the frame of the original argument. Westar is not an example of free-market economics, because there is no competition, that I am aware of, in the energy market for our region. The examples you give are consumer choice, but within a, I believe, governmentally installed monopoly on the market. I could be incorrect in that, but if I am it does not alter the essential point. You give good advice on saving costs, I suppose, but they all still require you to work within the existing framework, which is buying services from a single non-competitive company, and it is absurd that company is thus allowed to fail, costing us as captive consumers money, and continue to reward the leadership that leads to failure. It is absurd because it would not be allowed to happen in a free-market environment. We can not properly punish the transgression as we would under a free market because we are denied the option of taking our dollars elsewhere, and the essential nature of the product for our lives makes it impossible for us to stop taking the service. The only way to get off the Westar grid is to move in with the guys in the campsite by the river, and a lot of people would like to get rid of that, too.AIG, of course, fails in the free-market as soon as it is bailed out by the government rather than allowing it to fail. I'll leave the argument of whether that should happen or not to another thread; but again, in a truly free market, the company would have gone under, and they were saved by non-free market activities. Class envy? Sure, I wish I had found a class that allowed my failures to be reinforced, due to non-competitive restrictions and forced intervention. If I make terrible decisions and bankrupt myself, I'll likely destroy my ability to be productive and make money for quite some time.

Kirk Larson 9 years, 7 months ago

I am not for legislating compensation, but I hope that we come around to where inordinate compensation is considered immoral. Frankly, no one is worth an income of $100 million a year (Dick Cheney before he became VP) unless they're curing cancer on a daily basis by laying on hands! You start getting to absurd levels of pay that nobody really EARNS, they just expect it with the job description.

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