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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.” 

 

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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.

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The good government advocates at the Alliance for Justice have released a new film entitled “Unequal Justice: The Relentless Rise of the 1% Court.”  

The film “explores the growing pro-corporate bias in key Court decisions and their real-world impact on ordinary Americans. Steadily and relentlessly, the Court has been transformed into an institution that frequently serves the interests of the wealthiest one percent. Taking judicial activism to new levels, these justices have rendered a series of pivotal cases to fundamentally change the balance of power in American society, favoring business interests and limiting access to legal remedies for everyone else. These decisions threaten to undermine the core concept of fairness that is embodied in the motto carved into the Supreme Court building, turning Equal Justice Under Law into Unequal Justice Under Law.”

Learn more about how you can get a free copy and host a screening by clicking here.

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Prof. Paul Krugman explains some basic facts about how to stimulate an economy today. The column — entitled the “I-Phone stimulus” makes it so clear and simple that even politicians ought to be able to understand it.

The only problem, of course, with Krugman’s prescription is that it’s not based on the only politically viable strategy in the modern American plutocracy, i.e. giving even more money to rich people and large corporations.

 

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It seems that everyone’s getting numb to the disturbing stories coming out of the Duke-Progress merger, but this one ought to register something on the outrage meter.

According to AP and the Winston-Salem Journal, Duke Energy has agreed to hold some of its big wholesale customers “harmless” for any costs that they may incur as a result of the merger. Read More