Spike (mr1spike) wrote,

CEO pay... part 1

(cross posted on my new journal: http://spike-lewis.livejournal.com/)

I thought I would be able to do more writing lately, but I haven't really gotten around to it. The following is the first part of a concept I've been mulling around for a while. We'll see what comes of it. I haven't really written anything for ages, so please pardon the rust... ;)

I like to tell my boss the only way I'll miss work is if I have a limb dangling from my body. Why? To begin with, I am a herder (I walk dogs), which is a pre-industrial revolution job. One just didn't have the luxury of taking time off back then. You had to go out and work whether it was raining, snowing, over 100 degrees, etc. I've gotten some really funny looks while picking my dogs up during the few days we've had heavy rain. I've also suffered through painful lectures from other clients when the mercury was in the 100s. It just comes with the job.

The other reason I have the dangling limb policy when it comes to sick days is I just can't afford to take the time off. I'm an independent contractor, and a day (or five) off is a day (or five) without pay. It seems like I'm not alone. NPR, the Harvard School of Public Health, and the Kaiser Family Foundation recently came out with a poll on work habits (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92762761&ft=1&f=1095). One of the things they found there were two reasons people work while they are sick: pressure from the company to be there whether you are sick or not, and there just isn't any paid sick leave.

The article goes on to say San Francisco and Washington DC are now requiring some employers to offer sick leave, and there is talk of legislation on a national level. Then NPR brings in someone from the California Chamber of Commerce. Marc Burgat is the organization's vice president of government relations, and, surprise, he is against mandated paid sick leave. His rationale? Businesses can't afford it. I guess Mr. Burgat missed the news item about the CEO of Freddie Mac.

Richard Syron, Freddie Mac's chairman and CEO, pocketed a cool $19.8 million (http://ori.msnbc.msn.com/id/25740405/) last year. Yeah, this is the same Freddie Mac that is getting a bailout from the federal government (yup, us taxpayers). Now, I haven't researched this at all, but I keep hearing about workers loosing their benefits, or getting fewer benefits, while the folks at the top of these companies are bringing home an astronomical amount of bacon. Don't get me wrong -- I don't begrudge someone earning an honest dollar, but what did Mr. Syron do to earn that 19.8 million? What did he do with it? I can't even imagine what I'd do with that amount of money, but I think it would pay for a lot of benefits (and wages, but that's a story for another day) for Freddie Mac's workers. I also can't imagine Mr. Syron donating any of that money to help folks without health insurance.

So, sports fans, this is the bottom line: What is the relation between CEO pay and the loss of benefits for the American worker? Also, if there is a direct correlation between the two, where is the outrage from those American who've gotten the proverbial short end of the stick?

Stay tuned...
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