Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, January 19, 2007

CEOs Gone Wild

If you’ve been following the news in the past few weeks, you’ve probably seen the name Bob Nardelli. He’s become the Kenneth Lay of late ‘06/early ’07.

He’s the disgraced former CEO of Home Depot. Under his reign, Home Depot stock went down 6 percent in 6 years. For his pisspoor performance, Nardelli was “punished” with a $210 million golden parachute. This was in addition to his annual compensation of $38.1 million.

We’ve all heard these statistics before, but they need repeating: In 1965, the average CEO made 24 times the pay of the average worker. In 2005, the average CEO “earned” 262 times the pay of the average worker. If this isn’t obscene enough for you, there’s plenty more.

What ever happened to that old-fashioned concept of risk? A Yale political scientist says, “At one time, when corporate titans went down they went down hard. Who could be more insulated from risk than today’s CEO? There’s never been a group of people richer or more protected from the vagaries of the economy.”

He also says “one of the hallmarks of today’s economy is that risks once widely shared by government and employers have shifted onto the American family.” Twenty-five years ago 83% of large and medium-size employers offered guaranteed lifetime pensions. Today that percentage is less than a third.

Bob Nardelli got a guaranteed $4.5 million pension for leaving Home Depot. Home Depot employees are offered a 401(k) with no guarantees.

And before you start bleating about “socialism” or “class warfare” — most of the outrage is coming from shareholders; not from politicians or laid-off employees.

As Ellen Goodman says, “In America, workers aren’t being rewarded for productivity and CEOs aren’t being punished for poor performance. What’s wrong with this picture? At some point, the shame of bankruptcy, job loss, illness — hallmarks of the risky society — is trumped by the shame of picking up a pink slip worth $210 million.”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is class warfare and the rich are winning.

January 19, 2007 at 5:41 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

J. Marquis: Yup, CEOs and Boards of Directors are definitely winning this war. We'll see if a Democratic Congress makes any difference.

January 19, 2007 at 6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and yet a higher minimum wage and some health insurance is going to break the backs of business.


January 19, 2007 at 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All that CEO compensation, no wonder they have to outsource all the jobs overseas


January 19, 2007 at 8:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wouldn't compare this guy to Ken Lay, because he really didn't do anything illegal. The sad part about this is, his package is no different then what hundreds of other CEO types are getting.

That is what's wrong.


OK I'm done

January 19, 2007 at 8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't it wonderful to get paid really large sums of money to fail yet the new thing for everyone else is 2-3% raises if the do REALLY well? Our raises are going to these idiots!

And one day I'm going to get myself a girl like Bailey from WKRP ;-)

January 19, 2007 at 10:39 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: Higher minimum wage?? Health insurance?? But that, that's inflationary. It's communism. A CEO's 8-figure salary, on the other hand, is pure capitalism. And you're right, nobody can be singled out. They can all point to each other and say "but look, they're all getting 8-figure salaries for doing nothing." Pitiful.

Ricardo: Yup, it's just great. Fuck up miserably and make millions; work as hard as you can and get laid off. And yes, Bailey was prettier than Jennifer; now I realize it wasn't just me. (Damn!)

January 20, 2007 at 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw a poll on the internet and Bailey beat Jennifer on WKRP by almost 75%. When the show was on it was Jennifer, but when guys (like me) took a second look, they preferred Bailey - just like they preferred Mary Ann (like me) over Ginger.

Back to topic


January 20, 2007 at 11:00 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Erik: I always like Bailey better, but I figured I was the only one; that most guys thought Jennifer was hotter because she was built. And now it turns out I'm just like everybody else. (Ricardo's comment was a carryover from another blog where we were talking about WKRP.)

January 20, 2007 at 11:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to bump things off topic Tom but I wanted you to know that you are not alone when it comes to Bailey and I too feel as you do. At the time I thought my male peers would ostracize me for being strange. But now I view strange as an asset. Jennifer looked assembled rather than naturally made like Bailey.

January 20, 2007 at 1:10 PM  
Anonymous George said...

CEO pay and compensation is getting way out of hand. Unfortunately, no matter who is in control of congress their is nothing that can be done about it

January 20, 2007 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Ricardo: "Assembled" LOL. Yeah, she does sort of have that look. I thought Jennifer was pretty, but later (after WKRP had left the air) I saw a picture of her (Loni Anderson) on a magazine cover and at a quick glimpse I thought it was Tammy Fay Bakker. From then on I always thought Loni Anderson and Tammy Fay looked alike, and that sort of ruined her.

George: I think Barney Frank is planning to introduce legislation to give shareholders more of a say about Boards of Directors and CEOs' salaries. I hope that'll make a difference.

January 20, 2007 at 2:26 PM  
Blogger Praguetwin said...

I always liked Mary Ann, and could never figure out what the big deal about Ginger was. My all time biggest childhood crush was Daisy from Dukes of Hazzard. Replacing her with Jessica Simpson is heresy in my book.

Oh, yea, and the CEO thing. It is a huge problem with little chance of being resolved. As much as $210 million is, it is a pittance compared to say adding one more child to everyone's health plan at the company, or giving everyone a 50 cent raise.

No easy answers here, but true it is a crime what this guy has gotten away with.

January 21, 2007 at 5:26 AM  
Blogger PoliShifter said...

Ever been to a Home Depot lately? They fucking suck. At least the ones I've been in.

Their employees are nearly useless. The store is a mess. I can't find a fucking thing and no one knows where the fucking thing is.

If someone says they have the fucking thing and it's on such-and-such aisle half the time it's sold out.

Either I am terribly unlucky or Home Depot sucks. And it's not just one. I've been to 3 different stores in 3 different towns in the past 6 months and had similar experiences.

January 21, 2007 at 6:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out Garmin - a refreshing difference from most other companies you read about. Very successful company, very reasonable top executive compensation.

Reading about the ones like Home Depot make me sick!

January 21, 2007 at 9:09 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Prague Twin: I only saw Gilligan’s Island a few times. I remember Ginger but not Mary Ann (I guess that puts me out of the loop). And yeah, the hell with all those sniveling employees. Raises? Medical coverage? 7-figure salaries, bonuses and golden parachutes are more important. First things first.

PoliShifter: I’m not too impressed with Home Depot either. Their employees seem OK, but like you say, whatever you need isn’t in stock right now. They supposedly carry thousands of items, but only 132 of them are actually in the store.

Anonymous: Since your comment doesn’t have any links, I’ll assume it isn’t spam. Is Garmin that company that makes Global Positioning Systems?

January 21, 2007 at 11:35 AM  
Blogger I.M. Dedd said...

I still have the bootmarks on my ass from when I was laid off a few years back.

And that's it.

January 21, 2007 at 4:28 PM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

I.M. Dedd: That sucks. Those bootmarks last a long time.

January 21, 2007 at 4:54 PM  

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