Thursday, October 22, 2009

How much should you be paid?

There's controversy today when the White House announced that through its "pay czar" it will limit the financial compensation of CEOs of major companies that receive federal bail out money from the TARP fund or the stimulus or any other packages. Now, most people think that this is only fair. After all, these companies are getting help from the government so why shouldn't the government dictate how that money should be spent? To me, that's a fair argument. I am opposed to the bailouts in the first place, especially as this money is going to big business, which is ironic since that is the traditional iconic enemy of the Democrat problem, and not to the little people who are the ones getting screwed in this economy.

But here's the thing that disturbs me. This sets a dangerous precedent. If the pay czar through the White House can establish what an executive should get in terms of financial compensation, how long is it before that same person dictates how much the underlings of that same company which received taxpayer money receive for doing their job? And how does a government official, who probably knows nothing about running businesses and who had some sort of social studies major in college, know what is fair and what is not?

Now, it is a fact that most millionaires in this country are first generation millionaires. In other words, they didn't inherit their money but worked hard and produced and managed to become successful. Do you suppose, then, that this person should receive the same amount of money for working 40 hours a week as a person who manages a McDonald's restaurant in Iowa or a janitor at a school or a waitress? If you do, then please discontinue reading because you are obviously a Marxist/Communist and reality has no place in your thinking. But if you do believe that people who have worked hard and have managed to climb the ladder out of their own merit should earn whatever they feel like, then this move by the white house should concern you. How long will it be before all other professions are dictated to about how much a teacher, a construction worker, a plumber, a doctor, etc. should make? By the way, Hollywood received stimulus money. How come the pay czar isn't targeting movie executives for big cuts? Is it because they are major contributors to Democrats? No, couldn't be that.

During the Clinton years, during their health care debates, there were proposals put in the legislation that would tell prospective medical students where they could go to medical school, that would tell med schools how many they can take, what field of medicine students should be assigned to, etc.. The government was going to dictate everything. In this health care legislation, there is serious talk about putting in provisions that would actually put a financial limit on how much certain procedures would cost and thus regulate how much money doctors could make. (But let's not put limits on sueing doctors; an argument for another time).

Soon, the government is going to start stepping in to various industries and dictating to them how much compensation should be for every employee and executive. That's where we're headed.

Now, let us consider a couple of scenarios. Let us say a computer company, like Dell, is going to sell to the government 10,000 laptops for the government employees at $1200 each. Total amount owed to Dell would be $12,000,000 plus tax, I'm sure. Now, let's say that Dell would use 1% of that money, and it is tax money by the way that is paying for this purchase, would go to a CEO's retirement package. He then would get $120,000 from that sale. But, since taxpayer money is being used, would the government have the right to say that since Dell did business with the government, the executive's compensation should be half of that? I think we would all say "no". But, some would say, this is different. Really? How? If the purpose of the bailouts was to ensure that these companies could continue in business for the government's and people's sake, then their business is still being maintained. If this were to happen, how many companies would do business with the government? I'd venture to say none.

Let's consider this, too. The rank and file member of congress earns an annual salary of $174,000 each year. The speaker of the house, majority and minority leaders earn more. Now, considering how screwed up this economy is which they have played a large part in and conisdering how stupidly they are handling things now, why doesn't the pay czar also target them for salary cuts? This congress has dismal approval ratings (30%). Why stop there? The President is constantly going down in the polls. Let's slash his salary by half. But what makes this worse is that a great many of these members of Congress who have been there for their whole lives, have income from other ventures such as investments and being members of the board. Why can't we dictate to them how much they earn? Whenever they want a pay raise, they can certainly vote for one. But, we can terminate their salary when we vote them out. How often does that happen? If anyone has screwed up this economy, it's those idiots in government and yet they are the ones dictating how much one should fairly earn. Most of these people in Congress were social studies majors and have never spent one day managing a budget or directing a business, but we are lead to believe that they are so enlightened that they can dictate what is right for business?

Soon, there are going to be federal guidelines on how much you can earn, no matter what your profession is. What's worse is all of this is being handled by a czar, an appointee of Obama who does not have to be confirmed by Congress and is not even regulated by Congress. It's an extra-constitutional position and this guy has the authority of a dictator!

If you think that this will never happen, let me fill you in on a few things that HAVE happend that I never thought would:

1)monetizing the debt
2)government takeover of banks, insurance companies and car companies
3)unemployment reaching 10%
4)exponential growth of government
5)dollar is the 50th most stable in the world (we're behind Albania folks!)
6)government deficit ceiling is going to be raised to $13 trillion
7)government using NEA for propaganda purposes
8)net neutrality and regulation of content (I'm sure my blog will be outlawed)

The list can go on. The point is, we can no longer just be satisfied with the old expression of "that will never happen." A lot of things have happened that shouldn't have and I'm sure more are on the way. Freedom is a precious thing, especially when it's lost.

No comments: