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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 9, 2012 10:42 AM. The previous post in this blog was Another affordable housing breakthrough in Portland. The next post in this blog is On a roll. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, April 9, 2012

Portland's own 1%

Do these people deserve this kind of money? Of course not. Nobody does.

Comments (27)

It's not the salary figure that bothers me, it's the percentage change from the previous year. Who deserves a 54% raise? What did Nicholas Konidaris do to deserve that kind of increase?

I have no idea what people "deserve" to get paid and I'm not sure it serves any purpose to talk about it.

Each of us can boycott a company that we think has bad policies (regarding compensation or any other subject), and as long as that company is not getting our money through some hidden back door (via subsidies, hand-outs, special protection) then the boycott itself should suffice to protect our interest.

The issue is a bit different with public employees, because our tax dollars are used and paying taxes is not a voluntary activity. Regulated utilities also deserve detailed scrutiny since they are monopolies.

The salary for the guy at Precision Castparts is particularly appalling. Does he walk on water or something? And I seem to recall that not too long ago, ESI was experiencing hard times, laying people off and also involved in a lot of nasty wrangling over a severance package for a disgraced CEO?

When I see this kind of largesse, my first reaction is to avoid the companies involved. Can stockholders like this any better?

Well, let's see, as a law professor, you apparently believe that someone other than the [ostensibly] democratically elected Directors of each corporation is better qualified to determine their CEO's compensation. Would that be you, the philosopher king, who decides what each employee "deserves"? If not, who? The government, setting limits on salaries? Clearly there are problems with "captive" boards of directors in particular and corporate governance in general, but shareholders can "vote with their feet" if things get too out of hand, and it's much easier to spout off about what someone else "deserves" than to have someone else determine what you "deserve" to make.

Here is the ex-CEO ESI item I was talking about. Not all that long ago . . . in 2010.

"In the Soviet Union, capitalism triumphed over communism. In this country, capitalism triumphed over democracy."

How can anyone object to a person expressing the opinion that this or that executive is overpaid? You may have a different opinion. If so, why not give us that, in place of attacking others for theirs?

Clearly there are problems with "captive" boards of directors in particular and corporate governance in general

You don't say!

Take a look at the companion list of board of directors' compensation. Hundreds of thousands a year for showing up for a few meetings, going along with what management tells them, and above all, not making waves.

One hand washes the other.

Anyone who makes more than $1 million a year as an employee is overpaid. Some day the system will be fixed. It will involve bloodshed, of course.

This is still a free country. The US is also still capitalist country. These people and their salaries are determined by negotiations with the board of directors for their company. If they don't meet expectations, then they will get less pay and ultimately risk losing their job. If you want to complain, then buy their stock and complain to the BoD as a stockholder.

Before going off the deep end criticizing Jack, please read this:

http://www.alternet.org/economy/154873/3_corporate_myths_that_threaten_the_wealth_of_the_nation

These Portlandia execs are small potatoes compared to the hedge fund and bankster boys and girls. At least some of their compensation is "earned income".
And yes as the income inequity ratio increases there may be bloodshed.
But no one reads history anymore.

al m - capitalism and communism are economic systems. Democracy is not an economic system.

Leaving soon, you gotta think about it longer.

Deserve? What has that got to do with someone's compensation? The ONLY people who get to make that determination are the shareholders of a corporation. Kind of like the real market value on a house. What's it worth? Whatever someone is willing to pay. Obviously someone feels these execs deserve what they are getting.

I always like it when Bojack's populist streak shines bright.... and it's even better when it triggers a few automated "capitalist" retorts pretending that modern American corporate compensation represents anything resembling the value of executive labor, relative to that of other employees, or even arms length dealings between executives and boards.

Interesting comparison between the price of a corporate CEO and the price of a house. One might only hope corporate pay structure could go BOOM just like the housing market did. To better effect.

Anyone who makes more than $1 million a year as an employee is overpaid.

What about athletes who may only be able to perform for a few years at top form? Should they only be allowed to earn $999,999 per year? Similar question about entertainers; must they stop performing once they earn $1 million? What about business owners who are not employees? Should their earnings be limited?

From what I see, there are two basic ways to make a lot of money. (1)Do what others cannot do, or (2)Do what others do not want to do.

There's a reason why some (smart) business entities stay private.

Anyone making more than a million ought to have the decency to give all the overage above a Mil. to the schools [laying off all those teachers] , hospitals [poor folk without care] , or the food bank [families without dinner]. I am looking at all ten of you lucky guys and gal. You live here in PDX and you should have the heart to care about your neighbors..

One hand washes the other.

You're right, Jack. I knew as soon as I opened up the link what type of comments you would have.

I truly don't understand people who pop out of the woodwork to defend someone making this kind of money. If compensation decisions in the corporate world really worked as all of you defenders seem to think they do, I would have no argument, and in fact, would be saying the same things you do. But that's not how it works and you're deluded to think so.

Written on a PC running Microsoft's Windows OS.

Amusing.

Excessive executive pay is a really tough nut to crack. I worked at a Fortune 500 company for a few years where the CEO was an fruitcake, but that didn't stop the board from throwing money at her. It drove moral in the company down like you wouldn't believe. Most everyone in the company felt they were smarter than CEO, but she was making $20M a year and the rest of us were making working wages.

But it is a really tough problem to solve since the board of directors set the pay, but they have an obvious conflict of interest.

We see the same problem in Oregon with PERS. The people sitting at the table making the decisions have deep conflicts of interest which is why the PERS payouts are so rich. The insiders game the system for themselves and for their friends and family. Board of directors do the same thing.

To bust up that system would be almost impossible. Various solutions have been tried but they are all pretty easy to game.

(1)Do what others cannot do

The CEOs are not smarter than a lot of other people. They have talent, but in most cases it's not unique. They get paid the big bucks because they're well connected, they suck up to power, or both.

They get paid the big bucks because they're well connected, they suck up to power, or both.

Maybe that is #2 - Do what others do not want to do.

A system is a system is a system and all of them affect the lives of human beings.

Jack, Maybe you shoul do some deeper background checks before you judge them. you might be surprised. Waldren Rhimes is a very smart guy. Bruce Davis has many patents. Don Kania has a phd in physics. You are underestimating them.

This is painting with a broad and brittle brush which explains, in large part, why I find so-called “progressive” politics noxious and offensive. I have no problems whatsoever with outsize CEO compensation packages if they are highly variable and tied to performance.

My best investments, for example, have been in corporations whose CEO’s were lavishly rewarded for pulling a rabbit or two or three out of the hat. Their compensation was well deserved. Employees benefited from the opportunities afforded by growth (or survival). Customers obviously benefited, as affirmed by their patronage. And shareholders (the biggest are unions, pension funds and insurance company reserve funds) benefited handsomely as well. And I am rewarded for having saved and invested so I can support myself in retirement and send my kids to college.


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