Friday, December 19, 2008

Any Criticism that Ignores the Financial Drag of Ownership on American Companies is a Crock

I just rediscovered a blast from the past regarding the inefficiencies of American executives who make 3 times the salaries of the European counterparts, but who generate $19 billion less in sales than CEOs across the pond.  It is particularly relevant now that the auto unions are being singled out and dumped on by Republicans and their "right-to-work" loyalists (I credit Gail Kerr for the label "loyalists"), because it pretty much debunks the myth that American industry can cut costs without cutting into positions of the suits and their white-collar salaries that make their corporations so top heavy.

Jim Hightower made the find and writes: 
[Faireconomy.org’s] latest survey finds that the chieftains of Fortune 500 corporations averaged $10.8 million in pay in 2006—more than 364 times the annual pay of the average U.S. worker. On top of that, CEOs salted away an average $1.3 million in pension gains in 2006 and averaged another $438,000 in freebies like personal travel on corporate jets, country club fees, and even corporate payments of their taxes.

Well, the CEO clique asserts, we run huge corporations and get paid accordingly. But when faireconomy.org compared the 20 highest-paid U.S. chief executives with the 20 highest-paid in Europe, they found the European chiefs took only a third as much pay—though they ran companies generating $19 billion more in sales than their U.S. counterparts. The ever-spreading pay gap has become a sundering chasm in our society.

So, again, why scapegoat the unions for the inefficiencies and outright fiscal failures of incompetent managers (who have not been asked those leaders who oppose auto bailouts to make sacrifices)?

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