*sigh* Do you see that!? After I read this story and racked my brain the only thing I could bring myself to do was write out an exasperated breath. The news pouring out of Washington is becoming so absurd that it doesn’t even warrant real words anymore.
In a vote that largely went uncovered, House Republicans, with help from some Wall Street-friendly Democrats, voted to repeal the Dodd-Frank Act’s check on excessive executive pay.
This particular piece of legislation speaks to an ongoing frustration in America’s body politic: the supersized paychecks that go to America’s top corporate executives. Average Americans, in overwhelming numbers, want something done to bring some common sense back to CEO pay.
But the House Financial Services Committee, this past Wednesday, opted to do the exact reverse. By a 36-21 margin, committee members voted to repeal the only statutory provision now on the books that puts real heat on overpaid CEOs. The full House, observers expect, will shortly endorse this repeal.
The specific provision 31 Republicans and five Democrats voted to repeal — section 953(b) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — imposes a new disclosure mandate on America’s major corporations. Under Dodd-Frank, corporations must annually reveal the ratio between what they pay their CEO and what they pay their median — most typical — workers.
Corporations have had to disclose what they pay their CEOs ever since the Great Depression. But they’ve never had to disclose, until Dodd-Frank became law in 2010, their CEO pay as a multiple of what their average workers are earning.
Under Dodd-Frank companies would have been forced to publicly admit that American CEOs make on average 231 times more than average workers.
Here’s an interesting chart (is there any other kind of chart?) that shows the ratio of CEO to worker pay by country.
A prime example of how screwed up and broken the US CEO pay market is what Hostess did last year. After their bakers union went on a strike to demand fair compensation Hostess declared bankruptcy rather than give in to their demands. Shortly after filing for bankruptcy and blaming it on the bankers, you know the people actually responsible for making the damn Twinkies, Hostess went on to pay out $1.75 million in executive bonuses.
Hostess is already back in business using non-union workers and plans on having Twinkies and other Hostess products on the shelf as early as next month. I rarely if ever bought that poison anyway but I damn sure will never be buying it now.
It’s like being an addict, you can’t get help until you can admit that you have a problem. Can we at least admit that our system is completely and utterly broken?