Who Hijacked Our Country

Monday, January 23, 2006

Good News for CEOs!

Hey, it turns out that eliminating employee pensions is pretty damn lucrative. Not for those poor hapless lowly employees who had the rug pulled out from under them, of course, but who cares about them? For CEOs and upper management, it’s a gold mine.

First, of course, they keep all that money that was being paid out to the hired help. But that’s not all. By cutting out the pensions, they’re boosting company profits and — Voila! — fattening their own bonus packages.

Whooeee!! Being an unethical sleazebag sure does have its benefits. Or, to paraphrase Mel Brooks, it’s good to be a slippery bastard.

IBM is a recent example. They’ve eliminated employee pensions (but not the CEO’s pension of course). When their CEO retires at age 65, he’ll receive an annual pension of $4 million! That comes out to more than $10,000 a day, including weekends and holidays. Yeah! You go Sleaze!

Alcoa has also jumped on the bandwagon; they’ve announced that new hires will not be receiving pensions.

Oh, and think of the gargantuan tax cuts these multi-millionaires will be receiving, by stiffing the help. Yup, the economy’s doing great (for those who count).

A spokesperson for the Corporate Governance Alliance said “It is unseemly for executives to reap higher bonuses on that basis.”

Ya think?


Blogger The Rambling Taoist said...

We live in an unethical world run by unethical people.

January 24, 2006 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Trey: Yup, that's putting it mildly.

January 24, 2006 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

I'm a public employee, and the Oregon Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) has become a popular Republican scapegoat for our state's financial woes. Because conservatives view the government as having a monopoly on schools and because lots of folks with PERS pensions are teachers, the GOP attackers like to go after the teachers for getting fat retirement benefits... without acknowledging that many with PERS pensions also go to police, firefighters and nurses (the ones we all now refer to as "heroes" after 9/11/01).

If you are in the private sector, you earn your pension. If you are in the public sector, you don't earn your pension. I don't agree with this, but it seems to be the conservative line of reasoning, that to get the prize you have to work for it, and that you shouldn't kick back and expect the government to provide for you, with taxpayer monies from the private sector no less. Sounds reasonable enough... So, this might explain some of the corporation's moves away from providing pensions for workers. I can understand this to a point. Many conservatives don't want their tax money going to people who they perceive as working for a government they despise. While I don't despise churches, that's similar to the way in which I dislike my tax money going to fund religious causes, or the way in which churches (becoming increasingly politically active) don't have to pay taxes.

January 27, 2006 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger Snave said...

Continued from the previous long-winded comment):

On the other hand, isn't a good retirement something anyone who puts in 30 years of hard work should get? I happen to believe public employees get the "prize" because their contributions to society are valued. It depends on how one views the government's function and purpose. I think a government that wants a healthy, happy population should do what it can to keep things going in that direction... a strong, satisfied work force should make for a stronger American. The other side seems to think that if you can't "do it on your own", and if you can't be a rugged individualist (and to hell with the concept of "community") you are not doing the moral thing, which is to "get ahead" in life.

This is why I believe many conservatives don't like social programs, either. To many conservatives, it doesn't matter how needy the recipients are; they haven't "earned" the benefits they receive, and this makes the social programs "immoral"... so it makes sense they would view pensions, whether public or private sector, in the same way they view social programs. What we are seeing is probably just an outgrowth of so many years of conservative philosophy in our corporate culture. As a result, I believe we will see lots more outsourcing of jobs and lots more layoffs before things get better.

January 27, 2006 at 11:13 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Snave: Yup, conservatives don't have a leg to stand on when they go after teachers without also going after police and firefighters. And this whole Rugged Individualism schtick of theirs only applies to poor people and working stiffs. There's never a peep out of them when a failing corporation gets bailed out by taxpayers, or when ranchers and miners use public lands for pennies an acre.

The 1950s, the period that conservatives are so nostalgic for, wouldn't have been so prosperous without a lot of government "handouts." The GI bill, home loans for veterans, well-paying jobs with benefits and pensions -- this transformed the US into the strongest economy in world history.

There's been a powerful minority on the Far Right that's been champing at the bit since the 1930s to get rid of every social program. Social Security, the minimum wage, you name it. This group has been getting more and more powerful since the Reagan era. Hopefully their power will soon peak and start declining.

January 27, 2006 at 11:50 AM  

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