Alms! Alms for the poor!
It's bad news around the board room for poor, misunderstood, and put-upon American CEOs - their median annual compensation fell a whopping 0.08 percent in 2008. Next time you pass one of the pitiful, nearly destitute bastards shaking their tin cups out the windows 0f their limos, remember to toss in a 5-spot. They need to cover their offsetting 73% salary increases somehow.
Many years ago, there was a quaint notion that if you paid someone more when they improved their performance they'd be excited to dig in and do even better next quarter. There's a certain logic to it, except that crapweasels were left in charge of the scam.
Never trust the fox with the hen house key - especially if he's wearing Armani and smoking Cubans while waiting for sundown to make off with the chickens and the golden eggs. He'll no doubt use them to offshore future egg production to sweat coupes in Bolivia.
For the past 20 years CEOs have been awarding themselves huge sums for better performance, worse performance, middling performance, and running entire industries into the ground performance. Their compensation is so unreasonable that, by all rights, 10 of them should probably be represented in the G20.
The co-author of the compensation study said, "While these findings are historic, in that we have never seen a decline in CEO compensation since we began this series of surveys in 2002, if there were ever an argument that pay is fatally divorced from performance then this is surely it." Paul, of course, is the master of the understatement. That CEOs would do something so craven should come as no surprise to anyone. They are capitalism - an economic system nakedly based on the principle of greed - personified. They whine and carp about onerous regulation. They lobby until the cows won't come home - because they've rustled them for steak dinners - to influence regulation so that it benefits them instead of inhibiting them. Exhibit A, Max Baucus's healthcare bill, a gift that wasn't gifty enough for the insurance companies. But what I don't get are the people who don't trust the government, but will illogically put every egg of their trust into business's crap-stained basket. They'll crow that government is broken and on the verge of Stalinism, but miss the irony that anti-regulation lobbyists virtually write most legislation. If Obama is a socialist, so's the CEO of CitiCorp. You'd think that when you duck out of the unemployment office early to make it to the Tea Party on time you'd catch the drift you're being played like the world's biggest rube. Here's a news-flash for you kids - a news-flash you won't hear Bill-O scream, Glenn sob, Keith sanctimoniously pronounce, or Wolf read off a cue card - you shouldn't trust government or business. Neither of them have your best interests at heart. Both of them are much craftier at Grand Theft Compensation than you think. And, if you completely trust either one, higher taxes will be the least of your worries. St. Ronnie of Reagan may have thought "gummit" was the problem rather than the solution, but so were the companies that financed his reign. Now advice like this doesn't come free, so that'll be $24 million with a $48 million performance bonus please. Cross posted at The Omnipotent Poobah Speaks!