Friday, July 15, 2011

"Job Creators" are Isolated and Living in Fear

They are not really "job creators", they are cash hoarders. They could care less about creating jobs. Company profits and the bottom line in their personal check books and banking accounts are all that they're concerned with. Why would "job creators" be interested in putting you to work? Payroll is a company's biggest expense. Automation, robotizing, and cheap foreign labor is what "job creators" strive for. Cutting costs, laying-off employees, outsourcing jobs, and trimming the company budget has always been the corporate plan...not creating jobs. CEOs say they cut jobs to save money for their shareholders, but CEOS ARE the shareholders themselves, so they do it for themselves more than anyone else - - - but they always say they have to lay you off because of someone else. "Sorry."

...and the CEOs are taxed much less on their multi-million salaries than their laid-off employees. CEOS only pay 15% in capital gains taxes on their stock options while their pretty young secretary was paying 25% in federal payroll taxes on the skimpy wage the CEO paid them...until the CEO found someone else to work for cheaper, and then fired the secretary for some trumped up reason - - - then blamed it on the anonymous stockholders.

A job is only a necessary evil for a CEO if they need a human to perform a task that contributes to a corporate profit in some way...that's all. Period. A corporation does not exist for charity, or to help finance government services in any way, or to be a "good community leader". Just the opposite. They do all they can to avoid these things to increase corporate profits. Corporate profits come before man, country, and God.

A job loss can be as profound as any other kind of human loss, particularly these days when jobs are not easily replaced. The gainfully employed do not realize how quickly they could lose their confidence, dignity, respect and self-worth were they to lose their own job. But the ones who laid them off feel no remorse. Instead, they are enjoying their wealth...and many times at the expense of taxpayers. Even at the expense of those who lost their jobs, because those who collect unemployment insurance must also pay taxes to subsidize corporate welfare, and pay huge multi-million-dollar salaries and executive compensation packages to greedy CEOs.

Here's but a few examples from TooMuch...

Manhattan mega millionaire and John D. great-grandson Mark Rockefeller has pocketed nearly $330,000 in federal subsidies for not farming an Idaho property billed as “one of the world’s premier fly-fishing retreats.” That’s much more than half the $500,000 in federal funding that food banks in North Idaho may shortly lose to federal budget cuts. Why aren’t taxpayer groups that claim to worry about waste, Idaho social worker leader Delmar Stone wondered last week, “investigating the obscene loopholes and taxpayer giveaways to the super-rich?”

James Palmer, the chief financial officer at defense contractor Northrop Grumman is pocketing $750,000 in cash from Northrop Grumman to offset the cost of his upcoming personal move from Los Angeles to Northern Virginia. Northrop Grumman is shifting its entire corporate headquarters this summer to the suburbs of Washington, D.C., to get closer to the company's biggest customer, the Pentagon. Courtesy of that Pentagon — and U.S. taxpayers — Palmer last year took home $11.4 million, over double the median pay in 2010 for Fortune 500 CFOs. To help foot the bill for his moving expenses, Northrop Grumman is lopping 60 jobs off its 360-employee headquarters staff.

At the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, two hours south of San Francisco, 400 health care workers have lost their jobs since January 2010. Now management wants to cut another 100. Nurses used to cover 10 patients per shift. Now they cover nearly twice as many. An unavoidable hardship, given our awful economy? Not quite. Life’s just fine in the hospital’s executive suites. This past April, the Salinas Valley CEO retired with $5 million in benefits. His fellow executives, news reports indicate, have been averaging annual pay hikes up to 30.8 percent for the past five years. But here’s where the familiar starts breaking new ground. Last Tuesday, workers at Salinas Valley staged a one-day walkout to protest executive looting. Explained striker Ester Fierros-Nuñez: “They want to cut folks at the bottom so they can pay more to people at the top.” On Friday, workers raised the ante. With area media watching, they picketed the home of a key hospital board decision maker. 

The giant newspaper chain Gannett has just announced plans to lop off another 700 jobs, about 2 percent of its workforce. What makes layoffs “good news”? Ask Gannett CEO Craig Dubow and chief operating officer Gracia Martore. Last year, notes the MediaPost trade journal, the duo took in $3 million in cash bonuses “for implementing cost-cutting measures, including layoffs.” Dubow collected $9.4 million overall in 2010, twice his 2009 pay, after axing hundreds of workers and imposing wage cuts “on thousands more.” We won’t know how much “good news” the new layoffs will bring Dubow and his fellow execs until next spring . . .

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TooMuch has documented thousands of examples like these, many that are much more offensive than those mentioned here. We've learned over and over again what has happened to the middle-class in this country and's because of a massive redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top over the last 40 years. But the rich (and the Republicans) have accused everyone else of "class warfare". When will enough ever be enough for the rich in this country, and when is it too much?

And they must know, that we know, what's going on...because they've increased their personal security. Should the "job creators" be afraid of us? Do they have a valid reason to be fearful?

From TooMuch: "America’s corporations, the latest stats show, have been upping what they spend to protect their top executives by about 15 percent a year since 2006. A host of companies — the World Protection Group Inc., the 360 Group, the Steele Foundation — are now making millions keeping CEOs and their buddies secure.

But where are all these millions for executive security actually going? Even the most elaborate and expensive residential security system, after all, only needs to be installed once. So what are companies getting when they routinely lay out six figures a year — and more — to keep their honchos whole?

Consider this mystery solved. Corporations that shell out small fortunes for security, the July Mother Jones reveals, aren’t just buying their execs fancy alarm systems or even bodyguards. They’ve essentially providing armed servants.

The highly trained staffs that executive security firms supply aim to please. These security staffs carefully plot out, in excruciating advance detail, each day’s executive itinerary. The goal: to make sure executives never have to wait for an elevator or a car — or have anyone untoward ever get in their faces.

In effect, these security details are creating protective bubbles around America’s top executives. Inside the bubble, life’s daily inconveniences need never intrude. Top execs can glide through their days, week after week, year after year, without ever confronting just about anything distasteful. 

In fact, you could even say that the millions upon millions that Fortune 500 corporations lay out every year for executive security have helped inflate a “bubble economy.” We have physically isolated our economy’s most powerful actors from life’s humdrum hard knocks — and, in the process, benumbed these powerful actors to the consequences of what they do.

This “bubble economy” notion could help explain Corporate America’s continuing clueless-ness on CEO pay, as showcased once again this past spring in the annual executive pay reports that most all major daily papers publish. 

These surveys, capsulized on Inequality.Org's new Too Much Executive Pay Scorecard, tell an incredibly shameful story: At a time of economic calamity for average Americans, power-suited Americans are raking in pay packages that have jumped all the way back to pre-Great Recession levels — and then some.

A few examples. In the real estate industry, the Great Recession’s epicenter, executive pay levels at the nation’s top 100 real estate companies are now running 13 percent over their previous 2006 record peak. In metro Las Vegas, the urban area left most devastated by the housing collapse, the top 10 local corporate executives last year averaged $12.2 million each.

Not too far away, over in Silicon Valley, high-tech execs saw their pay shoot up 37 percent in 2010. The Silicon Valley average worker wage, meanwhile, rose a paltry 1.6 percent last year, barely enough to offset higher gasoline prices.

Back east, in distinctly non-tech Buffalo, 25 local corporate execs took home over $1 million last year, the area’s highest number ever. Annual earnings for average Buffalo workers, by contrast, shrunk $19 to $35,006. The typical Buffalo worker, reporter David Robinson notes, “would have to work until 2039 to earn as much as the typical local CEO took home last year.”

In North Carolina, the state’s 50 top CEOs ended last year with over a quarter billion in personal compensation, up 25 percent from the year before. Average North Carolina workers with jobs saw their weekly earnings rise 1 percent in 2010. They felt lucky. Just under 10 percent of state workers had no jobs. 

Did corporate executives in North Carolina even notice? Or care? Do corporate executives, anywhere in the United States, understand how obscene their enormous good fortune appears?

Former U.S. labor secretary Robert Reich has noted that we are, in America today, witnessing a “secession of the successful.” Our most affluent have essentially withdrawn from the ebb and flow of messy normal life. They live in private compounds, fly private jets, send their kids to private schools, and luxuriate in private clubs. They need never rub elbows with the hoi polloi at all.

The bubble around America’s top corporate execs simply takes this secession to an even higher level of isolation. These execs can wreak havoc with people’s everyday lives. They can downsize and outsource. They can pound away at worker pensions and cheat on their corporate taxes — and never see the resulting pain. They can cause suffering and never, in their gut, ever sense it.

Some analysts, to be sure, might not want to fix the “bubble economy” label on this phenomenon, for a good reason. We already have a “bubble economy” theory — based on a totally different set of economic phenomena.

This older “bubble economy” notion started gaining currency in the 1980s when modern American “asset bubbles” first began to pump up and pop. 

Asset bubbles start inflating whenever wealth starts concentrating at the top. In these situations, economically productive opportunities for investment start getting scarce because ordinary people don't have the wherewithal, with wealth concentrating, to buy what a healthy economy could be producing.

The wealth of the wealthy, in quick order, ends up chasing a series of speculative assets instead. Prices on these assets inflate. And then they pop.

We’ve been popping along, as a nation, for several decades now, first with the commercial real estate bubble that ushered in the late 1980s savings and loan debacle, then the dot-com bubble of the late 1990s, then the housing bubble, and now we appear be back in tech stock bubble territory. 

Asset bubbles, in other words, remain a real and constant companion of our staggeringly high levels of inequality. They’re not going anywhere. 

And neither are Corporate America’s armies of executive security personnel. They’re still creating bubbles of isolation around our power-suited finest.

So we have, in effect, a “double bubble economy.” Our asset bubbles reflect the toxic marketplace dynamics that inequality inevitably generates. The isolation bubbles that surround our most financially favored are, in the meantime, creating toxic psychological dynamics — and ensuring ever more brazen CEO looting.

Both these bubbles will continue to inflate until we take away the pump. Other nations have done that. We could, too, if we worked at becoming more equal.

* * *

The rich and politically powerful corporate gods and bankers (what the Republicans like to call the "job creators"), could care less about whether you have a job or not...or if you live or die. They only care about themselves. So why do the Republicans keep up this silly farce that they represent ordinary working Americans when it's only the uber-rich they represent? 

The Republicans and their big bullhorn (Fox News) uses the jobless numbers to condemn Obama and the Democrats in an attempt to sway public opinion to vote them back into power, while at the same time they call the jobless "lazy free-loaders" for receiving unemployment checks. The Republicans call Obama the "food stamp king" because since the mass layoffs began BEFORE Obama was elected, many people who never found a job again were forced to rely on food stamps since being laid off during the Great Recession and having their unemployment benefits expire. Now the Republicans are trying to eliminate or drastically reduce those too.

The Republicans want YOU to believe that in the middle of the biggest economic disaster in U.S. history since the Great Depression that NOW we must be concerned with debt and cut the programs that millions of laid of people are now forced to rely on. NOW! When they need them the most!

It was the Republicans who introduced and passed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that allowed the bankers to loot this country. It was the Republicans with the Bush tax cuts on the rich that helped deplete our budget surpluses. The Republicans voted seven times to raise the debt limit under Bush and took us from a surplus under Clinton to $10 trillion in debt BEFORE Obama was elected.

In essence, the Republicans, with policies to help bankers and corporations, not workers, created MOST of the debt during the Bush years, allowed the outsourcing of jobs, and allowed the bankers to run "hog-wild". It was the Republicans who put America out off work and now want to hurt the jobless even more by cutting food stamps, Medicaid (and anything that they can) that these jobless and newly made poor people now need just for their basic survival. What would the Republicans have them all do? Crawl into a deep hole and die?

Instead of having Fox News commentators (who earn over $250,000 a year themselves and only pay 15% in capital gains taxes) explain to me why taxes on the rich shouldn't be REINSTATED, and why corporate welfare and subsidies shouldn't be ended, have Fox News put on an unemployed Republican steelworker or autoworker (who pays 25% in federal income taxes) explain to me how taxes on millionaires would hurt them.

The GOP doesn't give one goddamn about saving or creating any jobs for you, they only care about preserving and increasing the wealth for the rich / "job creators" (many who are in Congress). This has been proven over and over and over again. If you're not a millionaire, why would any sane voter vote for a Republican?

Glenn Beck accused the Democrats of Socialism, of trying to "spread the wealth"....when in reality it has been the Republicans who have been spreading the wealth....spreading it to the top 1%. What do you call a government or ideology that has all the wealth and power concentrated among just a very few people? Would those people be "job creators" with a beefed up security entourage, living in isolation and fear? Or would they be dictators with armies to protect them from us, the masses? Doesn't THAT sound more like something we DON'T want in America?

Look in the mirror. If you have an income that affords you discretionary spending, then what you'll see in the mirror is a REAL "job creator". When people have money that they can afford to spend, they usually tend to buy things and do things. They create jobs by providing the "demand". Businesses (the CEOs) are the "suppliers". Supply and demand. If you were laid off, or are paid a crummy wage at your job, you won't be much of a job creator. Now that America has approximately 35 million people that are "under-employed" and unemployed, the CEOs must create the demand in foreign countries by exporting more low-paying jobs to provide people with money to spend on their goods and services - - - while at the same time, they don't want to pay corporate taxes to help pay for the food stamps that many of us now have to rely on. We, the ones who USED to be the "job creators".


  1. And I would add...did the owners of the local gas station, hardware store, and barber shop in Mayberry need a contingent of armed servants to protect them from the local population? Or was it only because they had Andy and Barney to protect them from Otis and the ordinary working people?

  2. Spot on as usual, Bud! When are the people of this country going to wake up to the fact that the Republicans are out to destroy and decimate all of former "middle class"? I am so frustrated I could scream!