I wrote this essay a few years ago, but never published it. Some of the less important specifics have changed, but the message is still the same, if not worse.
I am angry. Recently, a company which is in the top 20% of Fortune 500 corporations laid me off after 25 years of service. If they waited three years, I would have been old enough, 50, to take "early retirement." I did get a severance package.
Now, this same company is going to lay off 900 information services employees globally. One of those employees is a friend of mine. He is in his thirtieth year of loyal service. He is 49. He will not be eligible for an "early retirement" either.
However, the company is not giving these people a severance package. Their rationale is that they have outsourced the work these people do. They have "provided" these people an "opportunity" to sign on with the contract company for far less than what they make now and to stay put where they are and do the same work.
The CEO of this company "raked in" almost $13 million in salary last year and cashed out $672,624 in stock options. He's sitting on another $2,399,807 of unexercised company stock.
I'm not linking the specific numbers because people close to me still work for this private sector government director. After all, this corporation still pays its American workers, of which there are becoming fewer all time, above average salaries. However, I can tell you that I retrieved the information from The Executive Paywatch Database web site.
The fact is that The US has the most unbalanced CEO to worker income ratio in the world. The ratio is 475 to 1. In Hong Kong, it is 38 to 1 and in Britain it's 25 to 1.
Have we gone too far? Is this still just plain old free enterprise, fair capitalism or is it becoming more like Bourgeoisie vs. Proletariat.
Despite the euphemisms we've used in reference to the former USSR, China, Cuba and some other nations, Communism, in its true form, has never been in place and never will be. The reason isn't because giving what you can and taking what you need is a terrible idea. The reason-people! People will always think it's fair to own far more than they'll ever need and give far less than they're able to give. It's their right, they say. They've earned it. What they don't say is that putting people who are far less fortunate out on the street and giving their jobs to people who live in squalor in third world countries is one of the ways in which they've "earned it".
What perpetuates this situation is that we "elect" presidents, Clinton, Bush, Gore, Kerry, McCain (yes, McCain) it doesn't matter, who owe The Corporacracy big time for the $$$$ they receive during so called election campaigns. So, our vote doesn't count because we are not voting for the liar who is running, we are voting for the special interests to which they are bound.
But, I digress. My question is have we gone too far? Can you still call what is happening free enterprise/capitalism or is it just plain greed? Are we shooting ourselves in the foot for a select few? And, if so, how do we get the word to the American people that the Democratic and Republican parties are owned by The Corporacracy? And, if we get them to understand that, how do we the people, the working class, change it?
The only way that I can come up with at this time is to totally ignore the Democrats and Republicans in 2008, if not sooner.
I'm open to suggestions.
Ultimately, CEO compensation has to be reigned in, those CEOs have to rehire American workers and share some of that obscene salary with those American workers.
“Who knows why the hell we do it,
but we always get right to it.
No one knows or even wants to see.” – Michael Bonanno
The Mind Of Michael