Belated and Annotated Bailout Post

From Holly Sklar's 2006 "Imagine A Country" essay:

"Imagine a country where some of the worst CEOS make millions more in a year than the best CEOs of earlier generations made in their lifetimes. In 1980, CEOs of major companies made an average 45 times the pay of average full time workers. In 1991, when CEOs made 140 times as much as workers, a prominent pay expert said the CEO "is paid so much more than ordinary workers that he hasn't got the slightest clue as to how the rest of the country lives."...In 2005, CEOs made even more - 352 times the pay of average workers." [Emphasis mine]

Bailouts and other forms of corporate welfare, such as tax loopholes and tax shelters that result in both corporations and their CEOs paying a lower tax rate than their regular employees, need to come with an expectation of corporate responsibility. In other words, with the sames "strings attached" as individuals experience. Non profit companies with over fifty employees manage to survive and thrive with restrictions similar to those below.

If we are going to bail companies out or afford special reduced taxation, we need to limit the CEO pay to 10 times the pay of the company's lowest paid full time worker. At the present annual minimum wage earnings of $14,872, CEOs would be paid a minimum of $148,720 annually. It would serve as an incentive to compensate employees better: the individual CEO's salary will rise proportionately as the company's lowest pay rate is increased. That is more than adequate income for people who have driven our economy into the ground, and it would encourage corporations to support raising the minimum wage to a living wage for single parent families with 3 kids, instead of keeping it brutally low. Minimum wage goes up, CEO's wage goes up. Compensation through company shares is a great idea for all employees, so CEOs can enjoy the same number of shares issued to all employees. It will motivate all employees to higher productivity and loyalty to the company.

Companies getting bailouts and tax reductions need to be held to worker-friendly personnel policies as well. They must staff their workforce by hiring their own employees and provide full benefits packages with a minimum of one sick day per month, one week of paid vacation a year, medical insurance with full maternity care included (with contraceptive coverage required) and parity in psychiatric rimbursement and benefits (no restriction on number of treatments, any more than Parkinson's patients would have such limits). Temporary and contract employees can only be used for twelve weeks - the duration of the Family Medical Leave Act. If the company offers paid matenity AND paternity leave, they can extend this period by the number of days of paid leave to ensure they can hold an employee's job. Likewise with paid sick leave. After that bailout companies will need to hire these people as company employees with benefits, or fill the position with another person if and only if the temporary worker was measurably failing to meet job requirements.

In the interest of public health, bailout companies employing food and health workers must provide unlimited paid sick days to employees for airborne or bodily fluid communicable infectious diseases, with a doctor's note required. A reasonable provision for excessive infections would of course be included, it could be managed through the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines.

WHOO HOO!!! Obama just capped bailout company executive salaries at $500,000 - so close to what I wanted that I'm overjoyed. Non-profits are some of the most dynamic, creative and best run companies in our economy, and executive salaries seldom crack 100K. Despite dire warnings that nobody good would POSSIBLY agree to work at five times that salary, there's a huge reserve of expert executives out there who would be happy to take over. And they are USED to fiscal frugality, which is exactly what we need.


Krista said...

Yes! 'nuff said.