Thursday, January 5, 2012

Why pick on CEOs?

The media is full of stories about the gap between the salaries of chief executive officers and those of average workers. I suppose I shouldn’t be too surprised, since the most recent stories are prompted by leftist, union-financed/supported “Occupy” protests and a think tank study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), which claims to be an independent, non-partisan, policy research institute, but more than “leans” to the political left.

The CCPA may claim non-partisanship, but I very much doubt its authors support any of Canada’s conservative parties or their basic principles. So when the CCPA claims to be for “policy alternatives,” it pretty much means policies that are alternatives to conservative policies. CCPA policies are those one would expect to be espoused by progressives like socialists and social democrats. These folks are usually anti-profit and for big government and a cradle-to-grave welfare state.

Since the CCPA began in 1980 with funding from trade unions, it has largely been true to its colours. Its Facebook page states it was founded by “a group of largely Carleton University professors who wished to re-create something akin to the League for Social Reconstruction…” [emphasis mine].

The LSR’s views were regularly articulated in the pages of the New Commonwealth magazine, which was a publication of the United Farmers of Ontario, whose party platform included nationalization of railways and legislation that would facilitate co-operatives. The LSR is also responsible for two books, Social Planning for Canada (1935) and Democracy Needs Socialism (1938).

The Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF)—which merged with the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) and became the New Democratic Party—had some of its roots in the United Farmers of Ontario party. So it should come as no surprise that the CCPA should be advocating against a pay structure that generously rewards CEOs. Heck, these folks advocate against the capitalist system in general.

Non-partisan indeed!

If one is genuinely concerned with the gap between rich and poor, why pick on CEOs? What about the difference between the hockey star and the ticket-taker at the arena? Or the usher at the door of a cinema and the blockbuster star on the screen. For the year 2008, Forbes listed Jennifer Aniston’s earnings as $27-million—how much does an usher make?

How about the progressives’ darling of letters, Margaret Atwood? I bet the old dame makes a pretty penny and many, many times the earnings of the average Canadian writer. Why aren’t the progressives calling for a cap on her earnings?

I have sympathy for those who complain about U.S.-based investment bankers who contributed to the 2008-2009 financial crisis, then accepted tax-funded bailouts, then paid themselves millions in bonuses. But wasn’t that as much the fault of politicians who did not properly protect the interests of taxpayers?

We live in a free society and shareholders should be free to pay their CEOs whatever they believe their “super-stars” are worth.

Copyright © 2012 Russell G. Campbell. All Rights Reserved.


  1. Just more attempts to drum up class envy and jealousy. It plays to base human inclination and produces nothing good or constructive. The bottom line is that no matter how much these people make, it does not mean there is less money for everyone else or that they are stealing it from others.

  2. Maybe, Russ, because too often CEO's see to be immune from the laws of consequences. If I mess up, I'm road-kill; if my officer supervisor doesn't perform, (s)he's gone; but if senior management misperforms, there are minimal consequences - and I speak as a shareholder.

    I've been doing the job of which I speak for many years, albeit on a part-time basis. And I have always endeavoured to perform at a professional level, even with a grotty workplace, inadequate equipment, and minimal to negative support. I do what I do because of my clients and my colleagues; not for my company or my 'superiours'. I am not alone in this: out there real men and women are giving their best to their jobs despite pressures (subtile or not) to just do the minimum and then slack off.

    We're the real 99%!!!