Think Progress: Median pay for America’s 200 highest-paid chief executives rose to $14.5 million in 2011, a 5 percent increase over 2010, according to an analysis done by the New York Times. Worker pay, meanwhile, rose just 2.8 percent for the year. CEO pay on Wall Street rose even faster, growing by more than 20 percent in 2011. The average Fortune 500 CEO now makes 380 times more than the average worker, as CEO pay has grown more than 127 times faster than worker pay over the last 30 years. The growth in executive compensation that has contributed to skyrocketing levels of income inequality isn’t necessarily tied to performance of the top companies, however: while their pay continues to increase, average stock prices have remained flat, and many of the companies with the highest paid CEOs actually saw drops in their share prices over the course of the year.
CEOs make 380 times more than the average worker because they work 380 times harder than the average worker — that must be the reason, right? Romney and the Republicans want to give them more tax cuts because they need just a little more money to finally create some jobs. They want more for themselves and less for you. That’s the way America works.
Remembering Newt Gingrich on Bain Capital…
Bain in the ass.
The ethic of Capitalism: everything is a commodity to be exploited, including human beings and the natural world.
Partial transcript of the beginning:
CH: Unfettered or unregulated capitalism is about societies that cannibalize themselves. When capitalism is the dominant ideology, and as Marx understood it’s a revolutionary ideology, it turns everything into a commodity, including human beings. And of course natural reasouces. And it exploits these commodities until they are exhausted and they are destroyed. And that’s precisely what has happened. We have allowed all of the restraints, which were never heavy enough, on the capitalist system to be lifted. And built into capitalism is a self-destructive quality, a form of self annihlation. And that’s what we are undergoing at this moment. It’s a form of collective suicide, in a way, because the ramifications of this economic collapse are going to be played out far beyond the economic sphere. It’s going to deeply disrupt the social, cultural, as well as the economic life of ordinary Americans.
MM: And yet they’re trying to fix the problem with capitalism.
CH: Yes, well of course that is what’s so tragic: they’re trying to sustain an unsustainable system.
Watch all 9 minutes — it’s very good.
THIS IS WHAT MODERN CAPITALISM HAS COME TO: want to manufacture for Apple? We’ll all need to sleep in our corporate dormitories during the work week — in case we need to be “roused” in the middle of the night and given tea and a biscuit before being “guided” onto the factory floor to work the first of several 12-hour shifts — all because of potential “retail emergencies,” like Apple changing something in their design and deciding they need 10,000 iPhones to be built daily for a week.
No more middle-class manufacturing jobs for Americans, because that kind of manufacturing “flexibility” doesn’t happen in the U.S.
“Apple’s an example of why it’s so hard to create middle-class jobs in the U.S. now,” said Jared Bernstein, who until last year was an economic adviser to the White House.
“If it’s the pinnacle of capitalism, we should be worried.”
Apple executives say that going overseas, at this point, is their only option. One former executive described how the company relied upon a Chinese factory to revamp iPhone manufacturing just weeks before the device was due on shelves. Apple had redesigned the iPhone’s screen at the last minute, forcing an assembly line overhaul. New screens began arriving at the plant near midnight.
A foreman immediately roused 8,000 workers inside the company’s dormitories, according to the executive. Each employee was given a biscuit and a cup of tea, guided to a workstation and within half an hour started a 12-hour shift fitting glass screens into beveled frames. Within 96 hours, the plant was producing over 10,000 iPhones a day.
“The speed and flexibility is breathtaking,” the executive said. “There’s no American plant that can match that.”
No, there isn’t an American plant that can match that “flexibility” — nor should there be. And should Apple have a Chinese plant that requires this kind of nutty scheduling / conditions from its employees? Enjoy your iPhones, kids.
Foxconn, which manufactures gadgets for the likes of Apple, Sony, Nintendo and HP, among many others, has had a grim history of suicides at its factories. A suicide cluster in 2010 saw 18 workers throw themselves from the tops of the company’s buildings, with 14 deaths.
In the aftermath of the suicides, Foxconn installed safety nets in some of its factories and hired counsellors to help its workers.
The latest protest began on January 2 after managers decided to move around 600 workers to a new production line, making computer cases for Acer, a Taiwanese computer company.
“We were put to work without any training, and paid piecemeal,” said one of the protesting workers, who asked not to be named. “The assembly line ran very fast and after just one morning we all had blisters and the skin on our hand was black. The factory was also really choked with dust and no one could bear it,” he said.
There’s your modern capitalism — eat the workers and order more. And I’m sure the GOP looks forward to helping corporations increase their profits with much more overseas manufacturing opportunities and federal tax breaks at home.
I’ve decided I’m going to do one of these a day. Deal with it.
Like American financier Jay Gould said after hiring strike breakers, ”I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half.”
Capitalism: great for some… but not for all.
“Tax cuts for the wealthiest five percent of Americans cost the U.S. Treasury $11.6 million every hour, according to the National Priorities Project. America’s top earners will get an average tax cut of $66,384 in 2011, while the bottom 20 percent will get an average cut of $107. The report comes as party leaders wrangle over the best way to curb the nation’s budget deficit, protesters around the world demonstrate against income inequality and corporate greed and Republican presidential candidates offer their economic plans to voters.” (HuffPo via: gonzodave)
THE 1 PERCENT COST OUR GOVERNMENT $11.6 million every hour of every day.
HERE’S WHAT THE 1 PERCENT COST EACH OF US INDIVIDUALLY:
Taken literally, the top 1 percent of American households had a minimum income of $516,633 in 2010 — a figure that includes wages, government transfers and money from capital gains, dividends and other investment income.
That number is down from peak of $646,195 in 2007, before the economic crisis…By contrast, the bottom 60 percent earned a maximum of $59,154 in 2010, the bottom 40 percent earned a max of $33,870, while the bottom 20 percent earned just $16,961 at maximum. As Annie Lowrey points out, that gap has grown wider over time: “The top 1 percent of households took a bigger share of overall income in 2007 than they did at any time since 1928.”
[…] There is no quick fix right now… Rebuilding the infrastructure, strengthening the scientific base, having an energy system that moves to a sustainable renewables, low-carbon economy, improving educational outcome so that more kids make it all the way through – those are 10-year projects, more or less. […] I’ve been pretty impressed by the core trilogy of what opinion surveys say America wants: tax the top, end the wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan], and protect social spending. We ought to be going after the corporations that have, basically, a deal with the IRS that keep abroad what they earn abroad and they don’t pay any taxes on it. We should be taxing worldwide income, not just U.S.-based income.
MAYBE THIS WILL BE REMEMBERED AS THE AWAKENING for American plutocrats and multinational corporations — a very slow, painful awakening, surely.
Is this a class war? Yes, probably. And it’s one of those really long wars, the kind that goes on forever. But in this latest battle, there’s little doubt who fired the first shot. When the financial crisis hit, the Masters of the Universe evaded responsibility and defiantly demanded more sacrifice from their victims. They enlisted their favoured politicians to hold the people hostage and then complained about being unloved despite their crimes. They have won all the early skirmishes – but the people are gathering their forces and starting to fight back.
“The top 1 per cent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 per cent live Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 per cent eventually do learn. Too Late.” — Joseph Stiglitz
DESPITE THE PROPAGANDA MACHINE being kicked into high gear on behalf of the Masters of the Universe — with the hackneyed right wing arguments about “punishing success” or jealousy and sour grapes — there is one simple fact at the foundation of the Occupy Wall Street protests: In America the 99 percent are greater than the 1 percent but are asked to sacrifice more and are given less.
liberalsarecool: When corporations comprising an entire industry fail, and need to be bailed out by taxpayers, there is simply no way of calling it capitalism. Come up with a new word because it is not capitalism.
INCOME EQUALITY AND SOCIAL SAFETY NETS are two reasons usually cited for Denmark’s happiness. But cultural differences, from family to cooking to hairstyles, are some other reasons.
Danes… consistently rank as some of the happiest people in the world, a fact attributed at least in part to Denmark’s legendary income equality and strong social safety net.
Forbes recently cited another possible factor; the Danes’ “high levels of trust.” They trust each other, they trust ‘outsiders,’ they even trust their government. 90% of Danes vote. Tea party types dismiss Denmark as a hotbed of socialism, but really, they’re just practicing a more enlightened kind of capitalism.
In fact, as Richard Wilkinson, a British professor of social epidemiology, recently stated on PBS NewsHour, “if you want to live the American dream, you should move to Finland or Denmark, which have much higher social mobility.”
[…] we’re not these ‘holy people’ who can manage everything, we just have different ethics. We don’t subsidize corn like you do, and also, there is a 25% VAT. And it’s socially acceptable to leave work at around 4 or 5 o’clock and pick up your kids from school, go home, share a family meal. From a management point of view, if people have a nice family life, they’ll be more productive.
KT: Denmark is famous for having so much less income inequality; do kitchen workers in Danish restaurants make a decent salary?
TH: Yes, a dishwasher in Denmark gets $25 an hour.
KT: Do they get sick days and benefits, too?
TH: Yes, and a pension, and health care, and maternity leave. To me, the more equal your society is, the better it is for everybody. It’s not right for a country as rich as yours to have so many poor people. This thing with Americans and taxes, I don’t understand it.
I make quite a lot of money, I pay 67% tax on much of it, and I don’t mind. I like the idea that the girl who’s sitting next to my daughter, whose mother is a cleaning lady, has exactly the same opportunity to get an education that my daughter has. I don’t think that’s socialism. To me, that’s human decency. That girl didn’t choose her parents, why shouldn’t she have the same opportunities? Read more…
To me, what is really, really alarming is this: a typical American male who works full time and still has a job is earning almost exactly the same now as his counterpart was back in 1972, when Richard Nixon was in the White House, O. J. Simpson rushed a thousand yards for the Buffalo Bills, and Don McLean topped the charts with “American Pie.”
The figures, which appear in Table A-5 at the back of the Census Bureau’s report (pdf), are these. Median earnings for full-time, year-round male workers: 2010—$47,715; 1972—$47,550. That’s not a typo. In thirty-eight years, the annual earnings of the typical male worker, adjusted to 2010 dollars, have risen by $165, or $3.17 a week.
If you do the comparison with 1973 it is even worse. The figure for median earnings of full-time male workers in that year (when O. J. rushed two thousand yards and Tony Orlando had a chart-topper with “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree”) was $49,065. Between now and then, Archie Bunker and Willie Loman have suffered a pay cut of more than twenty-five dollars a week.
Is it any wonder Americans are not as optimistic as they used to be?
NOT ONLY HAVE THE WAGES OF AVERAGE AMERICANS BEEN STUCK IN THE 1970S, but our take-home income, after taxes, is ENTIRELY UNEQUAL when compared to the richest one-percent. Why? Because tax laws have unequally benefited the wealthy. We’re taxed on income from our labor (higher percentage) and they’re taxed on income from their capital gains (lower percentage). But we’re supposed to believe the wealthy make so much more than us because they work ‘harder’.
5. The Top 1 Percent Are Taking In More Of The Nation’s Income Than At Any Other Time Since The 1920s: Not only are the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans taking home a tremendous portion of the national income, but their share of this income is greater than at any other time since the Great Depression, as the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities illustrates in this chart using 2007 data:
AND WE’RE ALSO SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE that while our national treasury has gone without new revenue — after Bush’s “temporary” tax cuts that overwhelmingly favored the rich and increased the disparity between the 1% and the 99% — we should ONLY cut programs and services that the 99% rely on, to balance a deficit begun during the Bush Administration.
BOTTOMLINE: The GOP believes it’s patriotic to fight for more wealth for the wealthy, but it’s evil socialism to ask government to help with jobs for the vast numbers of unemployed. That’s how twisted they’ve become.