January 3, 2010

As a small business owner, I recently subscribed to a couple of business magazines to get a firsthand look at how the upper echelons of American business express their thoughts.

The philosophy of greed I found on display by corporate leaders was astounding.

I now understand why average CEO compensation that was about 40 times the lowest employee’s in 1970 is about 400 now.

Nothing has happened to make CEO’s worth so much more; their riches are the direct result of institutionalized greed.

When the people in charge make every decision based on personal enrichment, the consequence is exactly what we have in America today — a chasm between the elite and the people they exploit.

The result is such anger in the rest of us that even socialism begins to appear a better choice, which of course it is not.

This latest embodiment of “money changers” needs to be held accountable.

We need to go back to local businesses with our money. Yes, it will cost each of us more in the short run, but the alternative is going to be corporate fat cats making 4,000 times worker’s income in another few years, along with more suppression of worker’s pay.

We all need to first check executive compensation for the company that sells any product we are considering buying. For example, Walmart’s CEO received $31.6 million in 2008, more than 1500 times what the average Walmart full time associate was paid.

So when you buy at Walmart, that $15,800 per hour you are helping to pay their CEO is actually coming out of the pocket of some of your neighbors.

That same philosophy of greed at the upper echelons of Walmart is evident at many other large companies and, even if it isn’t suppressing your wages, it is likely suppressing wages for people you care about.

Rex A. Hoover