September 13, 2010

We’ve all heard that the top 1% of taxpayers pay more than 40% of total taxes. What is not being discussed is how that 1% gets so much of their inflated income.

The American dream of prosperity for each person willing to work hard has faded. Before the collapse of financial institutions in the late 1920’s, 1% of the population received almost 20% of the total income of all earners in the United States. This dropped over the following decades to reach about 7.5% during the 1960’s and 70’s and began the upward trend back to 20% in the late 1980’s.

What this means to working Americans is that many executives are back to the practice of disproportionately enriching themselves at the expense of those who provide the products and services for the companies they manage.

And this phenomenon is not limited to business executives. People at many levels of Government are doing the same thing. The mayor’s annual salary in a California town of 40,000 was $787,637, and the Sheriff’s $457,000. One hundred school administrators in Illinois make $205,590 to $380,227.

Corporate and Government boards that make poor compensation policies need to be held accountable. The only people who can do that are the people responsible for putting them in their positions.

To fix this, each of us must be involved in the process. For publicly-traded corporations, that means stockholders.

For Government, that means voters. It was the local politicians who endowed those folks in California and Illinois with outrageous compensation packages. The only way that can happen is for people like us to let it happen through our apathy.

We all need to show up at every voting opportunity, informed and ready to impose our will. We must ignore slick marketing and search for a candidate’s true character. And we must vote for the benefit of all, not just us personally. This great nation’s survival depends on it!

Rex A. Hoover