Jon for President!!

Greed Busters

A few people are making too much money. Whether they deserve it or not is a topic for another discussion. But there should be some restraint put upon how much a “hired” person can make. Possibilities range as follows:

• Persons making over a certain amount per year are taxed on their gross compensation, not earnings after deductions. Tax shelters begone.

• CEO’s may only be compensated up to 1% of a company’s net profits, or, up to .05% of a company’s gross sales . VP’s can only be compensated up to half of what the CEO makes. $10 million maximum limit, unless approved by congress. [If we have minimum wages, we should have maximum wages.][In both of the above suggestions, the 90% tax for the super rich would not apply to executives. I’m thinking that if their income is out in the open, that 35% should suffice. A good way to check this is to see just how much they are actually paying now after all the evasions and manipulations.][Which I would do too if I were them.][Note: There are only 200 CEO’s who make more than $10 million per year.]

• CEO and upper management bonuses to be voted upon by share holders, which shall then be immediately deducted from their dividends. (This is indirectly what happens when a bonus is paid, but this method is more dramatic and less likely for abuse.)

• If a person wants to make more money than this, let them start their own company, or BUY shares in the company they work for, or moonlight with another company. (When one sits on a board of directors and gets paid for it, that’s exactly what’s happening.)(Of course do it too much and I suppose you’ll get fired.)[We should not be jealous of the Bill Gates’ of the world. They are receiving the fruits of their labors and savvy. Ownership should never be judged by the same standards as management, even when the owner also manages. I rejoice when someone’s idea blossoms into a financial bonanza, because I know that it was work and sweat and risk and opportunity that got them there. More power to them (as long as they play fair).]

• Professional sports athletes should be paid by the points they put on the scoreboard, but would also receive compensation for assists, saves, denials and blocks, and any other metric take can be tabulated. After each game the players would vote for game MVP(s), and that person would get a bonus. If the team wins the game, all receive 50% more of the game’s tabulated payouts. If that team goes to the finals, the whole team receives a bonus that is proportional to the season’s payouts (low performing players would get less, high performers would get proportionately more).

What would be wonderful for the fans is that the whole thing would be based on a percentage of the ticket sales (and all other revenues, like food, souvenirs, advertising revenue from broadcasts, endorsements, and other). Nevertheless, until ticket prices come down, you won’t see me darkening the doors of a sports arena any time soon.

• Elected officials should have their salaries and office budgets tied to a percentage of whatever part of the government budget they are being called to oversee. So if your “department” administers a $100 million dollar budget, you and staff will always get ___% of that to manage it. How you, as the elected official, parcel out your department’s budget (including how much you get paid) is up to you.

“What about lawmakers?” The percentage gambit should still work. It’s the amount of the percentage that the budget committees will have to dicker about. Actually I think it kind of works this way already in government, it’s just that to rein in spending, congressmen and women need to scale back their budgets some.

Perhaps if we rewarded them by saying that if you are ___% under budget, you get half of that added to next year’s budget. Or maybe everyone will get 10% of that ‘underage’ as a Christmas bonus. Or perhaps it can contribute to “frequent campaigner miles”, namely, it can be redeemed for free air time on the broadcast channel of your choice. Or maybe we’ll just put in the newspaper every Sunday so we can see how you spent your money this week.

• But going beyond the limiting of excess of a few individuals or occupations, I am wondering if a universal pay scale might be workable. Such things as years of schooling necessary and years of express experience could be factored upon the scope of responsibilities and risk of a job. To be sure, it is the job that dictates the pay ranges, not the education or experience of the applicant. You don’t pay a degreed lawyer “lawyer’s wages” to lay bricks. But when talent or creativity or extra effort produce tangible results, rewards are in order.

I’m sure that someone smarter than I has done a doctorial dissertation on this. Maybe we should dig a few of them out and think about it. PS – Don’t forget to multiply the whole thing by a “regional ratio”, that is, if life in the South are uniformly less expensive, multiply the compensation by .9, if in NYC, by 1.5  Note: This also should work with foreign countries whose overall economy sees lower pay scales for everyone.

Always remember however, ownership is not to be judged the same as employeeship. Owners bear a greater risk and often work unspeakable hours. Perhaps they can abuse their authority (and this should be fined or punished), but no one cares when they forgo a paycheck or go into debt just to make payroll or expand their business. I suppose because I myself am a small businessman is why I feel such sympathy for them. Tho I lose my compassion when they begin to forget their obligation to their employees (for a 40 hour check, a secure job, safe working conditions, and benefits if possible) or start to live an opulent life style.

Oh, you say I am a hypocrite for forbidding them this, that they should be allowed unhindered access to their hard earned profit. Perhaps so, but then the hypocrite I will remain. It scandalizes me when I see people who should know better, because they had to work for it, to forget that others still have to work for it. How is it that these can so easily forget their roots? How is it that these, who before all others should know the value of money, waste that money on extravagant living? And so, my compassion dries up, and I am indeed the hypocrite. [Actually, the good news is that most prosperous business owners usually start more businesses. It’s in their nature.]
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