Monday, March 21, 2011

CEOs and Corporate Greed... Maybe My Liberal Friends Are Right (no pun intended).

I'm quick to defend CEOs, private business owners, and corporations when it comes to punishing their (most times) hard earned success with tax upon tax upon tax. But since I am berated by my liberal friends every time the subject comes up, I decided to do some research. After all, I loathe nothing more than someone defending one side or the other without knowing why they're defending it and can't actually prove their point with fact, history, or statistics. Well....I loathe some things more.... Duke basketball, Uggs with mini-skirts, licorice, Duke anything... you know. The obvious stuff.

Anyway, I did a little research. It didn't take me very long to understand where my friends may be coming from..... I'm not an expert. I don't have all the answers. I can't say if I'm right or I'm wrong. But I can lay it out for you and let you decide for yourself.

So this is what my liberal friends mean when they diss greedy corporate CEOS and big whigs... maybe I AM starting to get it.

2005: Company XYZ lays off hundreds of thousands of employees (it's a BIG company), and those who are able to hold on to their jobs either take pay cuts or have their salaries frozen without the possibility of a raise. XYZ's CEO Joe Smith, however, got the board of directors together to approve a 41% raise in his salary. ???!!!?! Yeah... 41%. When the employees' salaries were stagnant. Nice.

2009: Joe Smith retires as President & CEO of XYZ with a cushy retirement plan that will pay him 60% of what his salary was when he retired EVERY YEAR FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. Where does that money actually come from? It's taken from the paychecks of XYZ's employees, of course. Double nice.

During that time, Joe Smith hires Jane White as XYZ's Vice President. I don't know the whole story or the details behind it; I just know she only worked as VP for two years..... but that didn't stop her from receiving the same cherry hookup as Joe Smith: lifetime retirement pay equal to 60% of her salary when she "retired" from her TWO YEAR long job. LIFETIME. For two years of work. (I totally applied for this job today, by the way.)

When Joe Smith retires, COO John Doe is promoted to President & CEO. Still a bad economy.... worse, actually than Joe Smith's years as CEO. But hmm... whatd'ya know? John Doe gets a raise. Which I guess would be understandable, given the increase in responsibility that comes with the promotion (which is part of what I always defend). But is a raise still fair given that (like Smith) he managed to secure himself an almost 45% raise in his previous position, in the same years that hundreds of thousands of employees were let go and hundreds of thousands of salaries were cut????? I don't know... maybe it is fair. Like I said to start with, I'm usually one to defend corporate salaries because of the huge responsibilities, sacrifice, and time that come with the job. But maybe liberals have a point...... This is just one example. I plan on researching other examples but wanted to go ahead and share this one because it really opened my eyes to the "corporate greed" I often defend... Maybe a change in me is a'gonna come. We'll see. Decide for yourself what you think.

Guess it goes to show a little research goes a long way.

Oh, one more thing.... Company XYZ isn't actually a corporation. It's the AFL-CIO. And John Doe is big boss Richard Trumka. Joe Smith? Former president John Sweeney. And Jane White: former VP (for two years) Arlene Holt-Baker.

Hmmm..... How you like them apples?


  1. Phillip,

    Great work. I wish we could publish your work in school books. It might just save our economic lifestyle into the next generation.

    Also you are very fortunate to have a girl like Keely to do your typing.


  2. Very funny, Mr. Heninger.... Verrrrry funny!
    Love, Keely.... who does her own typing.

  3. I LOVE your blog - and you are the only blog I read. I know I can get some good honest info and opinions and once again, you did an outstanding job. You know, the corporate greed is an issue. So why did we bail them out? I didn't vote for that, did you? And yea, they do have a lot of responsibilities......but unfortunately, the BOD is their honor system so maybe the stock holders need to replace their BOD? And stop complaining to the rest of us!!! Keep up the good work!!!