Archives

Though it was uttered 76 years ago, it remains just as apt today. In fact, if one merely changes the date mentioned, the statement would work just as well for the 44th president as it did for the 32nd.

“You would think, to hear some people talk, that those good people who live at the top of our economic pyramid are being taxed into rags and tatters. What is the fact? The fact is that they are much farther away from the poorhouse than they were in 1932.” – FDR, address at Worcester, MA, October 21, 1936.”

 

 

In case you missed it amongst all the debate hubbub, another modern day robber baron cashed out yesterday. According to the folks at Think Progress:

“Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit abruptly resigned today, leaving the helm of the bank that he guided through the financial crisis of 2008. For his five years of leading Citi, Pandit will receive compensation in the neighborhood of $260 million.”

Not that he did much to earn it. As the article also notes:

“Overall, Citi lost 88 percent of its value under Pandit. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal dinged Pandit for having the pay package that was most detached from his company’s performance, as a three-year decline of 27 percent coincided with his making $43 million.”

Ah, the genius of the “free” market…

Here’s an idea that would, despite being far from foolproof, seem to be worth at least considering in the U.S.: Australia’s law to require significant corporate shareholder majorities to approve CEO compensation plans.

This is from the the people at Inequality.org and their weekly newsletter Too Much:

“One of the world’s more complicated schemes to tamp down CEO pay is getting a test in Australia this fall. Since last July, Aussie corporate boards have had shareholders voting on CEO pay. But this advisory “say on pay” has a twist. A board that fails to get 25 percent of shareholders to bless its CEO pay two years in a row has to face a shareholder vote on whether to give the entire board a heave-ho and elect a new one. Last year, 108 firms failed to hit that 25 percent mark. Now boards seem anxious to avoid two-time loser status. CEO bonuses at top Australian firms have dipped 20 percent since last year. But execs, activists add, are still playing games: Aquila Resources chair Tony Poli had his most recent annual pay reported as $572,000. He actually took in $169 million.” 

 

It’s one of the great ironies of the current debate in America that so many of the people who oppose the teaching of Darwinism as the definitive explanation of life on earth are only too happy to promote and practice a brutal, dog-eat-dog, survival-of-the-fittest brand of social Darwinism when it comes to organizing modern society.   

This morning, two news stories highlight the impact of America’s dramatic shift in this direction:

First, the New York Times reports that there has been a startling and very troubling decline in life expectancy for poorly educated American whites — especially white women. While researchers have identified no definitive cause, it’s almost impossible to imagine that the decline in jobs that were formerly available those unable to finish high school and the shredding of the social safety net that helped lift many into the middle class haven’t both played a role.

Meanwhile, at the top of the food chain, things are headed in the opposite direction. A new report from Forbes as relayed by Think Progress shows that the collective wealth of the 400 richest Americans totaled $1.7 trillion in 2011, a 13 percent jump from the year before, as the stock market reached its highest mark in a decade and real estate rebounded.