America, the land of opportunity, the land we all love.
In America, if one chooses to take risks, believe in themselves and work hard, there are no limits as to what they can achieve. This is one of the many reasons I love this country.
But lately we see many who are rising up against many of those who have become successful in this country. Those who have come to be known as “The One Percent”.
It should be noted that of those who voice objection to the wealthy are not all middle class or poor (“The 99%”). Some are actually wealthy themselves and claim that things are out of balance. That the system is too much in favor of the wealthy.
Then, there are those among “The 99%” who are opposed to those who object, and in fact support the 1%. They seem to see their wealth as righteously earned by the means of our democracy, in spite of the fact that they themselves may be struggling.
I hold no animosities toward anyone among the 1% for being financially successful, and in fact, I am an enthusiastic cheerleader of those who succeed at reaching their dreams.
But could it be that the power that comes with wealth has caused some to manipulate our system, to diminish the common persons worth by raising their own worth far above it’s actual value?
Could it be that when a company is successful, all the rewards of that success is given to the person at the top without consideration to the ones doing all the actual work?
Why do we see companies that are making record profits cutting employees, which in effect adds the work of those let go, onto those that remain? They call this efficiency, cost savings, yet each year the CEO’s pay goes up exponentially, and as consumers we never see the price of the product go down.
From 2007 to 2011, Verizon’s cash holdings and short-term investments grew to $14 billion, a more than 300 percent increase since before the financial crisis at the end of 2007. Meanwhile, Verizon thinned its employee rolls by 17.5 percent.
And so, the employees duties multiply, yet their lucky in these times to receive a meager cost of living raise, and some are even taking concessions (pay/benefit cuts).
I read somewhere the other day, that the USDA is going to cut staff inspectors. And, using the example of a meat inspector at a chicken processing plant, each inspector would have to inspect 3 chickens per second.
Who with any common sense wouldn’t know that this isn’t possible?
Tell me what the resulting quality would be from such a demand?
Would you want to trust eating a chicken that has been inspected for 1/3rd of a second?
This brings me back to the issue of “value”. How is a persons worth determined by the work that they do?
Actually, the work one does seems to have nothing to do with how one is valued.
Did you know that the guy sweeping the floors at the leading beer brewery makes more money than the average nurse caring for patients at the bedside?
Does that not strike anyone outside of the healthcare industry as odd?
If wages were determined by demand, then why are healthcare workers underpaid? Is there less demand for healthcare than there is for beer? Or is it because the spotlight is on healthcare costs and we’re being told that those costs are breaking American’s backs, and so healthcare employees have to sacrifice?
Healthcare costs are a real concern of course.
But, instead of focusing on cutting healthcare staff and keeping wages low, which piles more work and demands on those who remain while not compensating for their trouble (as well as sacrificing quality of care), why do we not look at saving money at the top? In fact, how does keeping wages low and cutting staff translate into savings when those at the top are absorbing most of it in increased earnings?
Below is just one example, in the form of a healthcare industry CEO.
Wayne T. Smith
Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer
COMMUNITY HEALTH SYSTEMS INC
Headquarters: FRANKLIN, TN
Industry: Health Services
In 2010, Wayne T. Smith received $20,960,569 in total compensation. By comparison, the average worker made $34,053 in 2011. Wayne T. Smith made 616 times the average worker’s pay.
The following is an excerpt from an email I received from Richard L. Trumka, AFL-CIO <firstname.lastname@example.org>:
• The average CEO of an S&P 500 company got a nearly 14 percent increase last year. They now make an average of almost $13 million—while millions of jobless workers spent countless hours searching for work. Many jobs were shipped overseas, and people fortunate enough to keep a job were lucky to get a basic cost-of-living increase.
• S&P 500 companies last year had more than $1 trillion amassed in cash. That’s enough money to create a living-wage job, for a year, for every single American who is unemployed, underemployed or has stopped looking for work.
Runaway CEO pay isn’t just bad for our economy, it’s bad for the morale of working families, too. All workers, from the executive suite down to the shop floor, contribute to making a company successful. But these corporations are buying into the myth that the success of a corporation is the result of its CEO alone.
Without the nurse, direct care staff, painter, office assistant, welder, electrician and hundreds of millions of workers who work every day to support their families and keep our economy going, our society could not work.
America can continue with failed policies that offer increasing rewards to corporate profiteers who cut jobs and load up their own pockets—like Mitt Romney did when he was at Bain Capital (1)—or we can work together to make our economy work for everyone. A simple place to start is getting CEO pay under control.
I believe there is more than sufficient evidence that shows a tilt in value in our country today that favors the wealthy.
Some don’t like the sound of that. They have been taught to believe this way of thinking is socialism. That it is the socialist view of “spreading the wealth”.
This isn’t about socialism.
This is about attributing the appropriate amount of value to those who actually supply the labor in providing the service or product.
It’s a simple concept that those in the pockets of the wealthy love to complicate and confuse.
And with good reason.
I don’t post this to enhance the negative turn our country has made due to the greed and power some of the few have been allowed to obtain.
Rather I write this to point out the fact that we are at a place in which a great change is at hand. A change that will result in value being recognized and rewarded fairly, according to ones efforts. A change that will result in employing enough labor to do the job effectively, with the highest standard of quality, without sacrifice of ones health and sanity and without placing the worker or consumer under undue risk of harm.
As American’s we are responsible for bringing these changes about.
I hope that more of us will do our part and let our voices be heard.
With this media offered to all of us today, it’s an easy thing to do and it works!
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.