It happened one day in the Clinton White House
It bothers me that policies that have had such an incredible impact on my and millions of others lives are decided so casually by white men with no real idea of the effects of their pandering to the wealthy. Shame on these assholes. Kind of like abortion, abortion was decided by people that came from money, that have never felt the panicky desperation from unplanned pregnancy. I will be fine, personally, I am making strides in my own life to be economically independent. But everyone else is screwed, and it is so frustrating to watch it happen.
Every time a developer says they cannot build housing or affordable apartments without massive tax abatements, I wonder what exorbitant executive packages they are factoring into their calculations. When the burned out social service workers beg for pay that at least keeps up with inflation, the mission-based gas lighting response that it cannot be done because the priority is helping the children or community flies in the face of too many huge executive director salaries that they can all see in the 990s. Every time a school crumbles, a teacher gets in trouble for a side job, or an injured child can't get the care they need, all I can think is how much money the administrators and healthcare execs are pocketing while the hardest working people struggle through an increasingly difficult existence.
If we had a halfway decent press, this would be a main topic of every broadcast. Every issue, from the struggling air traffic controllers to the military members who don't get the healthcare they need, should cover the people at the top, what they earn, and how it can possibly be justified. As for the notion that pay should be tied to actual performance, most Americans I know stopped believing that lie when the bankers got enormous bonuses when the economy was strong and got enormous bonuses and bailouts when they broke the economy. The only performance that is truly tied to earnings these days is how well one can exploit loopholes, con people, purchase politicians, and extract value from the earth and all that live here.
GREEDERSHIP NOT LEADERSHIP - Clorox -an Oakland based company, laid off hundreds of long term employees over the course of the last year, including myself with 25 yrs at age 59. Following the layoffs, the company experience the worst cyber attack in the history of the company costing at least $500 million. As a result, THE CEO WAS AWARDED A 37% SALARY INCREASE - REAL FAMILIES WERE HURT. Mine will never recover. I was on target to retire in 3 yrs when I was cast away. I am now starting all over at age 60. I want to point out that in my role at the company, I delivered TEN TIMES MY COMPENSATION BACK EVERY YR for 25 yrs. I delivered over $36 million back to Clorox in 25 yrs. All handed to Linda Rendle and the other executives who were rewarded heavily for destroying lives - and you wonder why Clorox wipes are $9 a cannister..... Its to fund the GREEDERSHIP
The “[w]e shouldn’t be social engineering through the tax code” argument is both common and bullshit. Just look at all of the tax expenditures (read: tax breaks) we give to corporations and wealthy individuals. My two favorites: preferential tax treatment of capital gains and step up in basis upon death. They’re social engineering at its finest, the first helps create American oligarchs and the second helps them pass their wealth on to their families untaxed.
Learn more at https://www.winwindemocracy.org/p/2022-04-growing-oligarchs.
Thanks Bob. It's too bad you couldn't jump on the table and yell in their ears (:-) It's funny, you should present this. As I signed the petition to support Senator Whitehouse, AOC, and Barbara Lee, I was thinking that legislation would just lead the CEO's to take the increasing compensation in other ways. That's what they did in the Clinton years. All their compensation is not in salary - they get free autos, free personal staff, free housing, free airplanes, free yachts, and enormous shares of stock. That's part of the reason they pay so little in taxes. What is needed in addition to surtax are major changes to the tax code so these perks become part of the taxable income.
"Look Bob. We shouldn’t be social engineering through the tax code. And there’s no reason to declare class warfare." I would like to think that Bentsen was just a dullard-that he did not know that the rules to the economy are social engineering. But there is more to it than that! The idea is to set rules that engineer fairness. American Capitalism is built upon many myths-one of them is that a man's productivity goes up with huge increases in salary. Beyond a certain basic threshold, it does not. The other myth is poverty-insecurity is the greatest incentive for people to work. With a sense of security, they would not work. This is the ugliest lie ever told. It's the lie that people are lazy and need to be incentivized to work. That people do not naturally want to work-to contribute. Insecurity serves exploitation by those that have security, but a reasonable degree of security, resources set a man free to be as productive as creative as he can be. We mustn't have that because we need him insecure to so that he is hungry to work for low wages. Keeping so many in society down-insecure-cripples that society far beyond what we can imagine.
Insecurity makes for illness both mental and physical and greatly reduces the productivity of a nation.
Thank you for everything you do and fight for. And continuing to fight for and to educate all of us through your YouTube videos, and articles you write on here and for YouTube (that's where I see most of what you do. I guess on X too, I'm just not on there much anymore.) I always thought you should have run for the presidency. You would have been what America needed after the Clinton years. Your advocacy for economic freedom for the American people, not corporations through the years has been tremendous and greatly appreciated.! Thank you, Professor R. Reich!
Re CEO pay, I had the following conversation with one of America's leading tax attorneys some 30 years ago: Me: "Can't Congress write a tax law that you clever guys can't drive a truck through in a matter of hours?" Tax lawyer: "The government's lawyers earn $120,000 per year; I earn $3 million a year. Who do you think wins?" I replied "That is so utterly cynical, I suspect it must be true."
That little meeting episode should be titled "The Selling of Americans 1, 2, 3”! (apologies to a certain movie)
So nice to hear the story from someone who was there!
It was not "class warfare", only paying your fair share.
We shouldn't want the government to get into the act of setting salaries and wages paid by companies and corporations (except for minimums to limit exploitation.) Fair, progressive taxing (meaning the more you make, the greater percentage you pay) is the answer. It is the rest of us who provide the opportunities for success. Bob's proposal sounds fair to me. Biden should get behind it. Perhaps, he might win over a good number of the disgruntled voters leaning toward Trump.
I have little admiration for Clinton who set his policies by seeing how focus groups responded and, once seeing how the wind was blowing, got out in front to appear to be leading.
The rich protecting the rich even in a democratic administration!
You were a voice of wisdom in the wilderness. It must have been gruelling to work with those people.
No one is worth these huge salaries. Every CEO star has a limited life. Shareholders are pension and hedge funds but not real people who don't own stock.
Never cared for any of that greedy mob, with the exception of you, Professor.