The Irresponsible, Greedy 1% and the Hypocritical, Greedy .01% of the 1% Who Get Away With Attacking Them…That Is, Hillary Clinton

...for less than an hour's work. But it's HARD work,..you know: talking.

…for less than an hour’s work. But it’s HARD wor…you know: talking.

Robert Samuelson accurately categorizes America’s CEOs as a new economic aristocracy in his most recent column. Why CEO salaries are so absurdly high is caused by many factors, some of which the columnist lists, but that fact is inescapable that the salaries cannot be defended by rational arguments. This is in stark contrast, by the way, to similarly high-salaried entertainers and sports figures, who tend to really earn their money. There is, after all, only one LeBron James, Tiger Woods, or Jon Stewart. Corporate CEOs, though they would like to think they are unique talents, seldom are. Could you replace most of them for considerably less than the going rate of 20 million dollars a year? Absolutely.

Thus continuing to accept such absurd salaries and attendant benefits while the economy stutters, their companies restrict hiring and the gap between worker salaries and executive compensation widens is unethical, pure and simple. Doing so is based on greed and willfully ignoring the consequences of the conduct, as Samuelson points out, though he hardly needs to, so obvious should it be to corporate executives and outside observers alike:

“Americans dislike aristocracies. Unless companies can find a more restrained pay system, they risk an anti-capitalist public backlash. This is the ultimate danger. For all the flaws of today’s system, government regulation of pay — responding to political needs and pandering to popular prejudices — would be much worse.”

Just as irresponsible as these gorging, selfish, unrestrained and greedy executives are the class-dividing hypocrites who try to exploit public resentment and pander to those popular prejudices while profiting from the same irrational system of misaligned resources that make those CEOs the equivilent of sultans. I know I have been critical of Hillary Clinton regularly of late, but I am not responsible for flaunting her in  front of my wincing eyes and abused ears on a daily basis. How dare she try to pose as an advocate of a rational system of wealth distribution? And how pathetic that her tone-deaf and logic-free supporters tolerate it!

In a weekend interview with the  Guardian, Clinton pronounced herself a fit champion of populism and a credible agent of reform for skewed income levels because progressives “don’t see me as part of the problem because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we’ve done it through dint of hard work.”

Ah.

Those progressives are gullible and naive idiots then!

Thanks for that clarification.

Without hearing her inflection, it is impossible to know whether she meant to suggest, as conservatives are claiming, that she and Bill aren’t “truly well off.” That would be offensive and idiotic, and I will, absent proof to the contrary, assume that she was instead drawing a distinction between herself and other “truly well off” people. Her statement is still dishonest, hypocritical and offensive.

“Ordinary income tax” means, I assume, that she doesn’t have assets that are subject to capital gains benefits. So what? The Clintons take advantage of legal tax shelters and tax benefits when they can, and in that respect she is no different from those whose names she doesn’t name—a pretty slimy way of impugning those she doesn’t have the courage to insult directly, by the way. What do you think Whitewater was about? It was the kind of quick profit real estate opportunity that well-connected people—like her— have access to. Now, Clinton charges $200,000 a speech in many cases. Is that “dint of hard work”? No, that’s influence peddling. It is also called gouging; or aiding and abetting a misuse of corporate funds.

Clinton gives a canned speech that may last 45 minutes and charges $200,000, and that’s less outrageous than a CEO who gets paid 20 million a year? That fee could only be justified, if at all, by a company so irresponsible that it thinks 20 million is a reasonable salary. I’d like Ms. Clinton to explain how she can simultaneously attack a system that contributes to such income inequality and rake in the benefits of it. She doesn’t have to charge that much, you know. How many lower level employees might get off the public dole if she accepted, say, a measly $100,000 per 45 minute speech? It’s pure greed, essentially—there is far less value conferred for that price than what even the most over-paid CEO delivers.

Meanwhile, we learned last week that Chelsea Clinton, whose foray into completely amateurish and unprepared professional broadcasting was an utter embarrassment, received $600,000 from NBC for the privilege. Talk about cashing in on parental celebrity! How many Americans see their children get more than a half-million dollars for a job they have no qualifications for whatsoever? How immune from embarrassment and decency does someone have to be to accept such a salary? Did NBC really have to spell it out for Chelsea? Did she really think this was because of her value to NBC in viewers, ad dollars and prestige? If the network suits had said, “We’re paying you about ten times what we should because we’re sucking up to your parents, and expect a quid for this pro” would she have accepted the money then? Obviously yes…especially since her family’s enablers and blind admirers have proved that there is nothing, literally nothing, that they can’t rationalize.

If someone wants to cash in and make money the most important thing in their value system, that’s fine with me,

  • ….as long as they don’t cause societal damage in the balance, as I believe most of the over-paid CEOs do, and
  • ….as long as they don’t pose as a populist, a critic of those greedy opportunists who are exactly like them, and a credible critic of the same corrupt system that nets them in fancy homes and obscene pay-offs to their children.

Like Hillary Clinton.

_________________________

Facts: Politico, CNN, Washington Post 1, 2

 

19 thoughts on “The Irresponsible, Greedy 1% and the Hypocritical, Greedy .01% of the 1% Who Get Away With Attacking Them…That Is, Hillary Clinton

  1. This is like someone who weighs 900 lbs telling someone who weighs 180 lbs that they are WAY to heavy. If no one took it seriously it would be hilarious. (Hilly-arioius?)

  2. This is a knotty problem, and I’m glad I don’t have to solve it. On the one hand, yes the CEO salaries are obscene. On the other hand, I really don’t want the government regulating the salaries of CEO’s either. Free market and all that. What probably should happen is that consumers should express their displeasure by not buying the products of the Uber-paid CEO’s companies. Unfortunately, in this day and age, that probably isn’t going to happen.

    • If there is a bubble, it will burst. It could probably be said there is a CEO bubble right now. Bubbles don’t just happen however, they either result from any number of causes such as an arbitrary imbalance in the naturally stabilizing free market (such as government intervention via hyper-regulation or via hyper-subsidization, such as the housing bubble), temporary imbalances resulting from introduction of new technology or new discovery which the market has yet to figure out the real value of yet (this was visible in the .com bubble, and to an extent the Mississippi Bubble, as it was a new realm for investment).

      Among other reasons, bubbles occur when certain goods are trendy… another source of the Mississippi bubble, the storied Tulip Bubble, or in this case, CEOs. I think this bubble is pushed much less by the general market and more by the exclusive market of vote wielding investors. They see a quick turn around on their investment, for what would be a relative modicum of cost. without going into the details, this cycle is sitting on a whole heap of inflated value completely disproportionate to what would be a logical market value.

      I haven’t studied it deeply enough to see what governmental influences may be pumping air into the bubble as well, but I don’t doubt it is there. Soon (maybe 10 years, certainly 20) the general market will correct itself, although some think it will take governmental action. I would love to see the correction result in more, smaller competitors, where big time CEO’s are far less a factor in the companies.

      But I also think the correction will compel us to revisit the ethics motivations of companies beholden to distant investors, who, although add money to companies, don’t add value. It will require us to shift back to a biew that our individual roles in the Free Market aren’t “to make money” but rather “to provide value that is needed and wanted” and to view money as a happy by product of providing value to others.

      • I suspect your last sentence is the way capitalism is supposed to work, but, as you say, we seem to have gotten off-track somewhere along the line.

  3. This is tough. As someone with a high salary, I can tell you that I pay a ton of taxes. But, I also don’t fool myself that I should weep tears over this. When some of my similarly situated friends complain about money, I remind them that we are top 10%, and most likely higher than that. So what if I don’t have any vehicles to “hide” my money in — I could get some of course, but I like the cash flow right now and I do feel that these types of investments are more than a little dishonest given our current tax code.

    This topic should be discussed. Do I think it astonishing that Mitt Romney pays a lower percentage tax than me? Of course I do. It’s beyond outrageous. Do I think Hillary should be the spokesperson on this? Obviously not — but not because she earns crazy sums on the talky-talk circuit. (Whatever — lots of people do, and I have little interest in buying the $1000 chicken dinner but I don’t care if other people throw away their money.) It’s because this argument should be championed by someone who is truly burdened by taxes yet still pays more (percentage wise) than those who enjoy tax-haven-I-need-a-third-vacation-home-in-Aspen status.

    Oh, and leave Chelsea alone. So she crashed and burned, but I can see a network taking that risk. Anderson Cooper probably never would have been given a break but for his family connections and he is seen as good at his craft.

    • $600,000? Seriously? Anderson Cooper paid his dues as a broadcaster—nobody cage him an extra decimal point because mom was the jeans queen. Why is Chelsea more off limits than Ronin Farrow, or Ron Regan?

        • What gamble? Come on. You really think they thought that Chelsea was worth that, other than to advance a de facto gift to the Clintons mere and pere? In most states, such a deal would be an automatic ethics violation if either Clinton were an elected official.

          • How much does Cuomo make on CNN? Family connections matter. My understanding is that Chelsea is smart — they probably hoped that she had the same charisma as her dad and would boost ratings. They were wrong.

            • Cuomo was a trained broadcaster. He wasn’t given that job cold. He previously was the ABC News chief law and justice correspondent, and co-anchor for ABC’s 20/20. Nobody can do that cold…any more than you can throw someone up on a Broadway stage who’s never acted before. There are trained, career broadcasters who would kill for Chelsea’s job at a tenth that salary, and would have done a professional job. It’s unconscionable.

  4. This is in stark contrast, by the way, to similarly high-salaried entertainers and sports figures, who tend to really earn their money. There is, after all, only one LeBron James, Tiger Woods, or Jon Stewart.

    What exactly did they do to earn their money?

    • Huh? People pay money to watch them, buy their merchandise, win games and championships, attract ad dollars. There’s a direct relationship between what their employers make and their unique talents.

          • When a company gets large enough, it tends to take on the attributes of a bureaucratic state; for better or worse. When it courts and achieves the favor of an actual government- and when both entities have the ethics of sharks at the top- then God help the citizen who can’t avoid them. On the other hand, if the stockholders are prepared to heap huge salaries on executives of dubious merits- or when citizens elect officials of the same stripe- they sow the seeds of their own destruction.

            • When a company gets large enough, it tends to take on the attributes of a bureaucratic state; for better or worse. When it courts and achieves the favor of an actual government- and when both entities have the ethics of sharks at the top- then God help the citizen who can’t avoid them. On the other hand, if the stockholders are prepared to heap huge salaries on executives of dubious merits- or when citizens elect officials of the same stripe- they sow the seeds of their own destruction.

              I would not pay Pinch Sulzberger a penny to publish a one-page neighborhood newsletter.

  5. I suspect that the CEO’s of major media conglomerates (NBC, CBS, CNN, Associated Press, New York Times) are way overpaid.

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