Author Topic: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"  (Read 17455 times)

SharkStomper

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #100 on: September 13, 2017, 08:07:09 AM »
I'm curious if the people complaining about CEO salaries believe it should be the government's role to dictate how companies distribute their payrolls?
Well yes, of course.

Do you not realise that companies only exist because governments make it so?  That they are an artificial legal structure entirely dependent on the will of government to create the laws that enable them to exist?  That the reason all the CEO's wealth is not at risk to pay the company's debts is because the government says so?  That the reason the CEO doesn't go to prison when the company kills someone, or defrauds someone, is because the government says so?  That in return for this limited liability it is entirely right that companies operate within the regulatory and tax structures that those governments think appropriate in return for those extraordinary benefits?  That there is no conceptual difference between regulating for a minimum wage and regulating for a maximum wage?

Good dog, people.  Such blinding ignorance.

So if I want to hire someone to do work for me it's ok for the government to dictate the maximum that I can pay that person?  And by default you're ok with the government dictating how much my time is worth?

I just want to be clear on your position here since I'm obviously blinded by ignorance and not as enlightened as you are.

starguru

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #101 on: September 13, 2017, 08:25:31 AM »
I'm curious if the people complaining about CEO salaries believe it should be the government's role to dictate how companies distribute their payrolls?
Well yes, of course.

Do you not realise that companies only exist because governments make it so?  That they are an artificial legal structure entirely dependent on the will of government to create the laws that enable them to exist?  That the reason all the CEO's wealth is not at risk to pay the company's debts is because the government says so?  That the reason the CEO doesn't go to prison when the company kills someone, or defrauds someone, is because the government says so?  That in return for this limited liability it is entirely right that companies operate within the regulatory and tax structures that those governments think appropriate in return for those extraordinary benefits?  That there is no conceptual difference between regulating for a minimum wage and regulating for a maximum wage?

Good dog, people.  Such blinding ignorance.

So if I want to hire someone to do work for me it's ok for the government to dictate the maximum that I can pay that person?  And by default you're ok with the government dictating how much my time is worth?

I just want to be clear on your position here since I'm obviously blinded by ignorance and not as enlightened as you are.

It depends what we want as a society.  There as those that believe we should live in a survival of the fittest economic environment, and to regulate that environment away would limit our ultimate economic prosperity.  People that can't make it in this survival of the fittest model do what happens in nature.  Most companies are good and by trying to maximize their profit they are ultimately benefiting everyone.  Without judgement, I feel like you probably fall into this category.

There are those that believe that unregulated capitalism results in the strong exploiting the weak, and growing wealth (and other) inequalities.  Furthermore, there are those that believe that if all that motivates a company is a profit motive, then that company will ultimately harm whatever lies in the way of it making its profit, be it people, the environment, etc.   As a result those people seek "regulation", one way or another, to smooth out the inequality and limit what companies can do.  Regulation can take the form of laws that ban bad practices.   I personally think we should change the corporate tax rate to something minimal like 5% and then start adding taxes back for things corporations do which do not help society.  With respect to wages it can be something like, pay your CEOs as much as you want, but if if you are a company that makes a few very wealthy and keeps everyone at minimum wage, society is going to tax you.   Put as much carbon into the air as you want, but if you do, more tax, since you are ultimately harming everyone. 

I personally believe there are too many examples, even ongoing right now, of companies prioritizing profit over how their actions affect everyone else, to think that unregulated capitalism really works to benefit everyone.

sol

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #102 on: September 13, 2017, 08:26:14 AM »
I'm curious if the people complaining about CEO salaries believe it should be the government's role to dictate how companies distribute their payrolls?

What does that have to do with the discussion at hand?

If someone were to answer "yes" would that satisfy your desire to discard this intellectually challenging problem by giving you a convenient excuse to ignore viewpoints you find uncomfortable?  Because it sure does seem like you're just fishing for an excuse to throw up your hands and cry out "damn liberals!" and go back to your safe space.  Here's a thought, maybe just think it through for yourself instead of looking for oversimplified reasons to avoid thinking it through for yourself.  Do the hard work.

Wealth inequality in American capitalism is a complicated problem.  It doesn't have any easy or obvious solutions, but it is absolutely a moral question that speaks directly to the kind of society we aspire to be.  As such, I think it deserves more careful attention than the flippant response you have offered.

Gondolin

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #103 on: September 13, 2017, 08:31:44 AM »
Quote
OK, on people behaving badly at work...

Yeah, I made it up. It was just an (egregious) example I constructed to illustrate the point that quite often responsibility is uncorrelated with salary and accountability is a four letter word.
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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #104 on: September 13, 2017, 08:48:00 AM »
I'm curious if the people complaining about CEO salaries believe it should be the government's role to dictate how companies distribute their payrolls?
Well yes, of course.

Do you not realise that companies only exist because governments make it so?  That they are an artificial legal structure entirely dependent on the will of government to create the laws that enable them to exist?  That the reason all the CEO's wealth is not at risk to pay the company's debts is because the government says so?  That the reason the CEO doesn't go to prison when the company kills someone, or defrauds someone, is because the government says so?  That in return for this limited liability it is entirely right that companies operate within the regulatory and tax structures that those governments think appropriate in return for those extraordinary benefits?  That there is no conceptual difference between regulating for a minimum wage and regulating for a maximum wage?

Good dog, people.  Such blinding ignorance.

So if I want to hire someone to do work for me it's ok for the government to dictate the maximum that I can pay that person?  And by default you're ok with the government dictating how much my time is worth?

I just want to be clear on your position here since I'm obviously blinded by ignorance and not as enlightened as you are.
Not an analogous situation: you are a private individual contracting another private individual to do a job for you.  The government doesn't get involved (except to take you to court if there is something illegal going on, such as you hiring a drugs mule).

The point I am making is that as a legal entity a company only exists because the government creates the conditions which enable it to exist - a company is a creature of the legal world not the natural world.  And as a legal creation it exists under the rules created for it by the government and the government has the right to say what it should pay its CEO.  If the company does not want to abide by those rules it can dissolve itself and the CEO can take all the resulting personal risks that they are shielded from by the legal structure of a company.

Clearer?
Be frugal and industrious, and you will be free (Ben Franklin)

SharkStomper

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #105 on: September 13, 2017, 08:51:53 AM »
I'm curious if the people complaining about CEO salaries believe it should be the government's role to dictate how companies distribute their payrolls?

What does that have to do with the discussion at hand?

If someone were to answer "yes" would that satisfy your desire to discard this intellectually challenging problem by giving you a convenient excuse to ignore viewpoints you find uncomfortable?  Because it sure does seem like you're just fishing for an excuse to throw up your hands and cry out "damn liberals!" and go back to your safe space.  Here's a thought, maybe just think it through for yourself instead of looking for oversimplified reasons to avoid thinking it through for yourself.  Do the hard work.

Wealth inequality in American capitalism is a complicated problem.  It doesn't have any easy or obvious solutions, but it is absolutely a moral question that speaks directly to the kind of society we aspire to be.  As such, I think it deserves more careful attention than the flippant response you have offered.

It is relevant in that several posts in this thread have referenced CEO salary inequality and what to do about it:

I'm not talking about those guys.  You can't turn around without reading a story about a CEO who makes millions while driving a company into the ground, cutting jobs, cutting salaries and benefits.  I mean, come on.  You've got the Walmarts vs the Costcos, and everything in between.

The problem is: what can we do about that behavior? Corporations are voluntarily hiring their CEOs, and setting their pay structure. The workers of said corporations are voluntarily working there. And, the customers are voluntarily buying the products/services provided by said corporations.


I simply want to know what those people think should be done about it and by whom.  I don't see how my question is irrelevant to the conversation.

My opinion is that I own my time and can sell it to whoever I desire at whatever price both parties agree upon.  I don't think it's the government's business to regulate that, but I guess that's a very libertarian ideal that's impractical when wealth equality is the goal.

SharkStomper

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #106 on: September 13, 2017, 09:03:06 AM »
I'm curious if the people complaining about CEO salaries believe it should be the government's role to dictate how companies distribute their payrolls?
Well yes, of course.

Do you not realise that companies only exist because governments make it so?  That they are an artificial legal structure entirely dependent on the will of government to create the laws that enable them to exist?  That the reason all the CEO's wealth is not at risk to pay the company's debts is because the government says so?  That the reason the CEO doesn't go to prison when the company kills someone, or defrauds someone, is because the government says so?  That in return for this limited liability it is entirely right that companies operate within the regulatory and tax structures that those governments think appropriate in return for those extraordinary benefits?  That there is no conceptual difference between regulating for a minimum wage and regulating for a maximum wage?

Good dog, people.  Such blinding ignorance.

So if I want to hire someone to do work for me it's ok for the government to dictate the maximum that I can pay that person?  And by default you're ok with the government dictating how much my time is worth?

I just want to be clear on your position here since I'm obviously blinded by ignorance and not as enlightened as you are.
Not an analogous situation: you are a private individual contracting another private individual to do a job for you.  The government doesn't get involved (except to take you to court if there is something illegal going on, such as you hiring a drugs mule).

The point I am making is that as a legal entity a company only exists because the government creates the conditions which enable it to exist - a company is a creature of the legal world not the natural world.  And as a legal creation it exists under the rules created for it by the government and the government has the right to say what it should pay its CEO.  If the company does not want to abide by those rules it can dissolve itself and the CEO can take all the resulting personal risks that they are shielded from by the legal structure of a company.

Clearer?

I see it as completely analogous.  If my company (A legal entity known as a sole proprietorship), ie. me should be regulated by the government in the maximum I can pay someone?  Or are you saying that only certain legal entities (corporations) should be limited?

Should this apply to sports franchises and the movie industry?

Dabnasty

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #107 on: September 13, 2017, 09:14:24 AM »
I simply want to know what those people think should be done about it and by whom.  I don't see how my question is irrelevant to the conversation.

My opinion is that I own my time and can sell it to whoever I desire at whatever price both parties agree upon.  I don't think it's the government's business to regulate that, but I guess that's a very libertarian ideal that's impractical when wealth equality is the goal.
As mentioned previously, your example of an agreement between you and another party oversimplifies the CEO scenario. In the cases we're talking about owners (shareholders) are paying the CEO, however not all shareholders get a say in how much to pay him, the board of directors makes that decision. In theory they are representative of the shareholders and have the same interests but their incentive to benefit the company is distorted by their salary.

This is just an example - but if the CEO has a say in board members' salaries, they have incentive to be generous in hopes of reciprocation. I scratch your back you scratch mine.

In this scenario, is it reasonable that the government steps in to protect shareholders?


SharkStomper

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #108 on: September 13, 2017, 09:23:12 AM »
I simply want to know what those people think should be done about it and by whom.  I don't see how my question is irrelevant to the conversation.

My opinion is that I own my time and can sell it to whoever I desire at whatever price both parties agree upon.  I don't think it's the government's business to regulate that, but I guess that's a very libertarian ideal that's impractical when wealth equality is the goal.
As mentioned previously, your example of an agreement between you and another party oversimplifies the CEO scenario. In the cases we're talking about owners (shareholders) are paying the CEO, however not all shareholders get a say in how much to pay him, the board of directors makes that decision. In theory they are representative of the shareholders and have the same interests but their incentive to benefit the company is distorted by their salary.

This is just an example - but if the CEO has a say in board members' salaries, they have incentive to be generous in hopes of reciprocation. I scratch your back you scratch mine.

In this scenario, is it reasonable that the government steps in to protect shareholders?

My opinion is no, the shareholder should look to his own protection.  If he doesn't like the company's policies then sell the stock and buy a company he finds agreeable.

Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #109 on: September 13, 2017, 09:33:27 AM »
This conversation has happened many times on this forum and no one has ever actually shown how the salary of a CEO hurts anyone or encroaches on anyone's freedom.

KBecks

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #110 on: September 13, 2017, 09:42:09 AM »
Each company I have worked at has had a Bob

I know there are Bobs out there, but I'm sure your company also has plenty of people, most people, who are wonderful at their jobs.  In the big picture, the Bobs are outliers.

Plus, even if Bob is behaving badly, s/he might be good at the job, just an ass.

starguru

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #111 on: September 13, 2017, 09:44:37 AM »
This conversation has happened many times on this forum and no one has ever actually shown how the salary of a CEO hurts anyone or encroaches on anyone's freedom.

It's not that CEOs get paid too much, it's that the small worker gets paid too little.  Income inequality.   It's possible to address by either limiting top pay or paying the small worker more. 

former player

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #112 on: September 13, 2017, 09:45:55 AM »
I'm curious if the people complaining about CEO salaries believe it should be the government's role to dictate how companies distribute their payrolls?
Well yes, of course.

Do you not realise that companies only exist because governments make it so?  That they are an artificial legal structure entirely dependent on the will of government to create the laws that enable them to exist?  That the reason all the CEO's wealth is not at risk to pay the company's debts is because the government says so?  That the reason the CEO doesn't go to prison when the company kills someone, or defrauds someone, is because the government says so?  That in return for this limited liability it is entirely right that companies operate within the regulatory and tax structures that those governments think appropriate in return for those extraordinary benefits?  That there is no conceptual difference between regulating for a minimum wage and regulating for a maximum wage?

Good dog, people.  Such blinding ignorance.

So if I want to hire someone to do work for me it's ok for the government to dictate the maximum that I can pay that person?  And by default you're ok with the government dictating how much my time is worth?

I just want to be clear on your position here since I'm obviously blinded by ignorance and not as enlightened as you are.
Not an analogous situation: you are a private individual contracting another private individual to do a job for you.  The government doesn't get involved (except to take you to court if there is something illegal going on, such as you hiring a drugs mule).

The point I am making is that as a legal entity a company only exists because the government creates the conditions which enable it to exist - a company is a creature of the legal world not the natural world.  And as a legal creation it exists under the rules created for it by the government and the government has the right to say what it should pay its CEO.  If the company does not want to abide by those rules it can dissolve itself and the CEO can take all the resulting personal risks that they are shielded from by the legal structure of a company.

Clearer?

I see it as completely analogous.  If my company (A legal entity known as a sole proprietorship), ie. me should be regulated by the government in the maximum I can pay someone?  Or are you saying that only certain legal entities (corporations) should be limited?

Should this apply to sports franchises and the movie industry?
The difference is that you are a natural person (a human being resident in the USA, I assume) and it is lawful for you to do anything unless the government passes a law to restrict what you do (eg do not murder).  A company is a legal person and only exists because the government has said it may exist under certain conditions.  If the government did not impose any conditions, the company would have no existence.  For instance, the government imposes conditions about the company having accounts and being audited, and about what is in those accounts, including CEO salaries, and that those accounts are made available to the shareholders.  If the government wants to impose a condition about the amount of the salary of the CEO because it thinks there is a societal benefit to doing that, there is no logical reason why it shouldn't.

Sports franchises and the movie industry are also based on the existence of the legal entity known as a company.  If you are referring to the salaries of sports stars and movie stars, then they are not running the companies as part of their executive structures but are either employees or are contracted by the companies, which is an entirely different status from that of CEO.
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Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #113 on: September 13, 2017, 09:50:51 AM »
This conversation has happened many times on this forum and no one has ever actually shown how the salary of a CEO hurts anyone or encroaches on anyone's freedom.

It's not that CEOs get paid too much, it's that the small worker gets paid too little.  Income inequality.   It's possible to address by either limiting top pay or paying the small worker more.

These statements contradict each other. Why would we limit top pay if its not that CEO's get paid too much?

Let me rephrase my question: How does the difference between the salary of the CEO and the lowest paid worker hurt anyone or encroach on anyone's freedom?

 

FINate

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #114 on: September 13, 2017, 09:53:35 AM »
I simply want to know what those people think should be done about it and by whom.  I don't see how my question is irrelevant to the conversation.

My opinion is that I own my time and can sell it to whoever I desire at whatever price both parties agree upon.  I don't think it's the government's business to regulate that, but I guess that's a very libertarian ideal that's impractical when wealth equality is the goal.
As mentioned previously, your example of an agreement between you and another party oversimplifies the CEO scenario. In the cases we're talking about owners (shareholders) are paying the CEO, however not all shareholders get a say in how much to pay him, the board of directors makes that decision. In theory they are representative of the shareholders and have the same interests but their incentive to benefit the company is distorted by their salary.

This is just an example - but if the CEO has a say in board members' salaries, they have incentive to be generous in hopes of reciprocation. I scratch your back you scratch mine.

In this scenario, is it reasonable that the government steps in to protect shareholders?

My opinion is no, the shareholder should look to his own protection.  If he doesn't like the company's policies then sell the stock and buy a company he finds agreeable.

Board compensation is detailed in the corporation's bylaws and prospectus. The government should ensure this is transparent and fully disclosed, but it's up to investors to decide if they want to go along with it before investing. Same for how executives are compensated.

Also, I disagree with the premise that corporations only exist because governments allow them to exist. They exist because governments need corporations just as much as corporations need governments, it's a symbiotic relationship. In a society w/o taxes or liability laws (to be clear, this would be a terrible idea) corporations would be unnecessary, it's only because of our legal framework that we've had to come up with the idea of the corporation. This doesn't mean they shouldn't be regulated, but at the same time modern government would not function without corporations.

Dabnasty

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #115 on: September 13, 2017, 09:55:23 AM »
This conversation has happened many times on this forum and no one has ever actually shown how the salary of a CEO hurts anyone or encroaches on anyone's freedom.
It's not that CEOs get paid too much, it's that the small worker gets paid too little.  Income inequality.   It's possible to address by either limiting top pay or paying the small worker more.
I would add to this that I don't think most of us (or at least myself) are arguing for a "limit" on pay so much as rules and incentives that would encourage corporations to reduce pay. An outright limit would be too easy to work around.

And yes, there is very good reason to believe that income inequality is detrimental to society.

Dabnasty

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #116 on: September 13, 2017, 10:13:06 AM »
I simply want to know what those people think should be done about it and by whom.  I don't see how my question is irrelevant to the conversation.

My opinion is that I own my time and can sell it to whoever I desire at whatever price both parties agree upon.  I don't think it's the government's business to regulate that, but I guess that's a very libertarian ideal that's impractical when wealth equality is the goal.
As mentioned previously, your example of an agreement between you and another party oversimplifies the CEO scenario. In the cases we're talking about owners (shareholders) are paying the CEO, however not all shareholders get a say in how much to pay him, the board of directors makes that decision. In theory they are representative of the shareholders and have the same interests but their incentive to benefit the company is distorted by their salary.

This is just an example - but if the CEO has a say in board members' salaries, they have incentive to be generous in hopes of reciprocation. I scratch your back you scratch mine.

In this scenario, is it reasonable that the government steps in to protect shareholders?
My opinion is no, the shareholder should look to his own protection.  If he doesn't like the company's policies then sell the stock and buy a company he finds agreeable.
Technically what I described in this example is already illegal. Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders so the government could step in if someone knew this was happening.

Do you think this law should be changed?

Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #117 on: September 13, 2017, 10:16:01 AM »
This conversation has happened many times on this forum and no one has ever actually shown how the salary of a CEO hurts anyone or encroaches on anyone's freedom.
It's not that CEOs get paid too much, it's that the small worker gets paid too little.  Income inequality.   It's possible to address by either limiting top pay or paying the small worker more.
I would add to this that I don't think most of us (or at least myself) are arguing for a "limit" on pay so much as rules and incentives that would encourage corporations to reduce pay. An outright limit would be too easy to work around.

And yes, there is very good reason to believe that income inequality is detrimental to society.

How?

starguru

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #118 on: September 13, 2017, 10:23:20 AM »
This conversation has happened many times on this forum and no one has ever actually shown how the salary of a CEO hurts anyone or encroaches on anyone's freedom.

It's not that CEOs get paid too much, it's that the small worker gets paid too little.  Income inequality.   It's possible to address by either limiting top pay or paying the small worker more.

These statements contradict each other. Why would we limit top pay if its not that CEO's get paid too much?

Let me rephrase my question: How does the difference between the salary of the CEO and the lowest paid worker hurt anyone or encroach on anyone's freedom?

You took two phrases of what I said, not even complete sentences, and claim I'm contradicting myself.  Why would you do that?  Do you really think I'm saying "CEOs don't get paid too much" and "limit top pay"?  Is that all I wrote?

starguru

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #119 on: September 13, 2017, 10:27:00 AM »
This conversation has happened many times on this forum and no one has ever actually shown how the salary of a CEO hurts anyone or encroaches on anyone's freedom.
It's not that CEOs get paid too much, it's that the small worker gets paid too little.  Income inequality.   It's possible to address by either limiting top pay or paying the small worker more.
I would add to this that I don't think most of us (or at least myself) are arguing for a "limit" on pay so much as rules and incentives that would encourage corporations to reduce pay. An outright limit would be too easy to work around.

And yes, there is very good reason to believe that income inequality is detrimental to society.

Im not even arguing for that.  I'm suggesting incentivize companies to pay the little worker more.  Really what I'm saying is we  move from the philosophy that says "it's a corporations duty to maximize profits for shareholders" to the philosophy that says "it's a corporation's duty to maximize benefits for society".   I suggested earlier by doing that thru the corporate tax codes.  If a company doesn't pollute, is carbon neutral, creates a good amount of wealth all around, pays women the same as men for the same work, is inclusive, etc, they shouldn't pay any tax at all.  The more a company doesn't do those things, the higher their taxes. 

Dabnasty

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #120 on: September 13, 2017, 10:27:51 AM »
I would add to this that I don't think most of us (or at least myself) are arguing for a "limit" on pay so much as rules and incentives that would encourage corporations to reduce pay. An outright limit would be too easy to work around.

And yes, there is very good reason to believe that income inequality is detrimental to society.

How?
That's a pretty big 3 letter question.

The most basic argument is that greater economic inequality gives the wealthy greater control over the lives of everyone else. This is inevitable but when the inequality becomes extreme the poor are essentially no longer free.

Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #121 on: September 13, 2017, 10:33:31 AM »
This conversation has happened many times on this forum and no one has ever actually shown how the salary of a CEO hurts anyone or encroaches on anyone's freedom.

It's not that CEOs get paid too much, it's that the small worker gets paid too little.  Income inequality.   It's possible to address by either limiting top pay or paying the small worker more.

These statements contradict each other. Why would we limit top pay if its not that CEO's get paid too much?

Let me rephrase my question: How does the difference between the salary of the CEO and the lowest paid worker hurt anyone or encroach on anyone's freedom?

You took two phrases of what I said, not even complete sentences, and claim I'm contradicting myself.  Why would you do that?  Do you really think I'm saying "CEOs don't get paid too much" and "limit top pay"?  Is that all I wrote?

I'm sorry I misunderstood. I took "It's not that CEO's get paid to much" to mean that you don't care how much CEO's get paid. You care how little the workers get paid. My bad.

Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #122 on: September 13, 2017, 10:38:57 AM »
I would add to this that I don't think most of us (or at least myself) are arguing for a "limit" on pay so much as rules and incentives that would encourage corporations to reduce pay. An outright limit would be too easy to work around.

And yes, there is very good reason to believe that income inequality is detrimental to society.

How?
That's a pretty big 3 letter question.

The most basic argument is that greater economic inequality gives the wealthy greater control over the lives of everyone else. This is inevitable but when the inequality becomes extreme the poor are essentially no longer free.

I fail to see how a rich person can have control over a poor persons life. A rich person can't make me buy their product or service, force me to work for them, stop me from pursuing my goals, etc.

Can you give me more details on what you mean?

SharkStomper

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #123 on: September 13, 2017, 10:44:48 AM »
I simply want to know what those people think should be done about it and by whom.  I don't see how my question is irrelevant to the conversation.

My opinion is that I own my time and can sell it to whoever I desire at whatever price both parties agree upon.  I don't think it's the government's business to regulate that, but I guess that's a very libertarian ideal that's impractical when wealth equality is the goal.
As mentioned previously, your example of an agreement between you and another party oversimplifies the CEO scenario. In the cases we're talking about owners (shareholders) are paying the CEO, however not all shareholders get a say in how much to pay him, the board of directors makes that decision. In theory they are representative of the shareholders and have the same interests but their incentive to benefit the company is distorted by their salary.

This is just an example - but if the CEO has a say in board members' salaries, they have incentive to be generous in hopes of reciprocation. I scratch your back you scratch mine.

In this scenario, is it reasonable that the government steps in to protect shareholders?
My opinion is no, the shareholder should look to his own protection.  If he doesn't like the company's policies then sell the stock and buy a company he finds agreeable.
Technically what I described in this example is already illegal. Board members have a fiduciary responsibility to shareholders so the government could step in if someone knew this was happening.

Do you think this law should be changed?

Out of curiousity, how many times has that been prosecuted? 

As an investor, I have zero confidence that any CEO or board member has my best interests at heart.  I don't want them to worry about my interests, I want them to grow the company and revenues which by virtue will cause my stock prices to go up.  I could care less what the CEO or board members make and I'm not really sure why I should.

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #124 on: September 13, 2017, 10:48:22 AM »
Also, I disagree with the premise that corporations only exist because governments allow them to exist. They exist because governments need corporations just as much as corporations need governments, it's a symbiotic relationship. In a society w/o taxes or liability laws (to be clear, this would be a terrible idea) corporations would be unnecessary, it's only because of our legal framework that we've had to come up with the idea of the corporation. This doesn't mean they shouldn't be regulated, but at the same time modern government would not function without corporations.
It's not modern government that wouldn't function without corporations, it's the modern economy.  And the modern economy only exists because governments created the concept of the modern company and put in place the laws that allow it to operate.

Does nobody learn any economic history or constitutional law any more?
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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #125 on: September 13, 2017, 10:48:44 AM »
This conversation has happened many times on this forum and no one has ever actually shown how the salary of a CEO hurts anyone or encroaches on anyone's freedom.
It's not that CEOs get paid too much, it's that the small worker gets paid too little.  Income inequality.   It's possible to address by either limiting top pay or paying the small worker more.
I would add to this that I don't think most of us (or at least myself) are arguing for a "limit" on pay so much as rules and incentives that would encourage corporations to reduce pay. An outright limit would be too easy to work around.

And yes, there is very good reason to believe that income inequality is detrimental to society.

Im not even arguing for that.  I'm suggesting incentivize companies to pay the little worker more.  Really what I'm saying is we  move from the philosophy that says "it's a corporations duty to maximize profits for shareholders" to the philosophy that says "it's a corporation's duty to maximize benefits for society".   I suggested earlier by doing that thru the corporate tax codes.  If a company doesn't pollute, is carbon neutral, creates a good amount of wealth all around, pays women the same as men for the same work, is inclusive, etc, they shouldn't pay any tax at all.  The more a company doesn't do those things, the higher their taxes.

Your criteria are very subjective and involving the government via the corporate tax structure would only complicate things. I think the better option would be for people to vote with their dollars by only buying products, and investing in, companies that meet their criteria. 

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #126 on: September 13, 2017, 10:52:12 AM »

The difference is that you are a natural person (a human being resident in the USA, I assume) and it is lawful for you to do anything unless the government passes a law to restrict what you do (eg do not murder).  A company is a legal person and only exists because the government has said it may exist under certain conditions.  If the government did not impose any conditions, the company would have no existence.  For instance, the government imposes conditions about the company having accounts and being audited, and about what is in those accounts, including CEO salaries, and that those accounts are made available to the shareholders.  If the government wants to impose a condition about the amount of the salary of the CEO because it thinks there is a societal benefit to doing that, there is no logical reason why it shouldn't.

Sports franchises and the movie industry are also based on the existence of the legal entity known as a company.  If you are referring to the salaries of sports stars and movie stars, then they are not running the companies as part of their executive structures but are either employees or are contracted by the companies, which is an entirely different status from that of CEO.

I guess my point about a sole proprietorship being a 'legal entity' was not made clearly enough for you.  Why should a sole proprietorship not be limited on what it can pay someone for their services, but a corporation should be?

shenlong55

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #127 on: September 13, 2017, 10:58:55 AM »

The difference is that you are a natural person (a human being resident in the USA, I assume) and it is lawful for you to do anything unless the government passes a law to restrict what you do (eg do not murder).  A company is a legal person and only exists because the government has said it may exist under certain conditions.  If the government did not impose any conditions, the company would have no existence.  For instance, the government imposes conditions about the company having accounts and being audited, and about what is in those accounts, including CEO salaries, and that those accounts are made available to the shareholders.  If the government wants to impose a condition about the amount of the salary of the CEO because it thinks there is a societal benefit to doing that, there is no logical reason why it shouldn't.

Sports franchises and the movie industry are also based on the existence of the legal entity known as a company.  If you are referring to the salaries of sports stars and movie stars, then they are not running the companies as part of their executive structures but are either employees or are contracted by the companies, which is an entirely different status from that of CEO.

I guess my point about a sole proprietorship being a 'legal entity' was not made clearly enough for you.  Why should a sole proprietorship not be limited on what it can pay someone for their services, but a corporation should be?

"The sole proprietorship is the simplest business form under which one can operate a business. The sole proprietorship is not a legal entity. It simply refers to a person who owns the business and is personally responsible for its debts. A sole proprietorship can operate under the name of its owner or it can do business under a fictitious name, such as Nancy's Nail Salon. The fictitious name is simply a trade name--it does not create a legal entity separate from the sole proprietor owner."

https://www.entrepreneur.com/encyclopedia/sole-proprietorship

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #128 on: September 13, 2017, 10:59:30 AM »
This conversation has happened many times on this forum and no one has ever actually shown how the salary of a CEO hurts anyone or encroaches on anyone's freedom.

It's not that CEOs get paid too much, it's that the small worker gets paid too little.  Income inequality.   It's possible to address by either limiting top pay or paying the small worker more.

These statements contradict each other. Why would we limit top pay if its not that CEO's get paid too much?

Let me rephrase my question: How does the difference between the salary of the CEO and the lowest paid worker hurt anyone or encroach on anyone's freedom?

You took two phrases of what I said, not even complete sentences, and claim I'm contradicting myself.  Why would you do that?  Do you really think I'm saying "CEOs don't get paid too much" and "limit top pay"?  Is that all I wrote?

I'm sorry I misunderstood. I took "It's not that CEO's get paid to much" to mean that you don't care how much CEO's get paid. You care how little the workers get paid. My bad.

But it gets even more complex; where above we are talking about CEO to worker pay but 'workers' are not randomly sampled from the population.  We could still get bad inequality effects even if CEO vs worker pay were of a modest ratio.  ie google may only hire highly skilled engineers/phds and pay them very well and this could leave out large groups of people - people not skilled at things google needs.  So the question may not be 100% CEO vs worker pay but rather a larger question wealth inequality. 

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #129 on: September 13, 2017, 11:06:44 AM »
Also, I disagree with the premise that corporations only exist because governments allow them to exist. They exist because governments need corporations just as much as corporations need governments, it's a symbiotic relationship. In a society w/o taxes or liability laws (to be clear, this would be a terrible idea) corporations would be unnecessary, it's only because of our legal framework that we've had to come up with the idea of the corporation. This doesn't mean they shouldn't be regulated, but at the same time modern government would not function without corporations.
It's not modern government that wouldn't function without corporations, it's the modern economy.  And the modern economy only exists because governments created the concept of the modern company and put in place the laws that allow it to operate.

Does nobody learn any economic history or constitutional law any more?

The two are so intertwined neither would function without the other. Supposedly progressive California ranks 44th in income inequality (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_Gini_coefficient) and it's *highly* dependent on corporations in the tech sector, along with the high incomes this industry creates. Without corporations California would be insolvent. It's magical thinking to assume that we could just do away with corporations, that we don't actually need them.

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #130 on: September 13, 2017, 11:12:59 AM »
But it gets even more complex; where above we are talking about CEO to worker pay but 'workers' are not randomly sampled from the population.  We could still get bad inequality effects even if CEO vs worker pay were of a modest ratio.  ie google may only hire highly skilled engineers/phds and pay them very well and this could leave out large groups of people - people not skilled at things google needs.  So the question may not be 100% CEO vs worker pay but rather a larger question wealth inequality.

Ok, I'll bite. Why do you think wealth inequality is bad?

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #131 on: September 13, 2017, 11:15:07 AM »
I would add to this that I don't think most of us (or at least myself) are arguing for a "limit" on pay so much as rules and incentives that would encourage corporations to reduce pay. An outright limit would be too easy to work around.

And yes, there is very good reason to believe that income inequality is detrimental to society.

How?
That's a pretty big 3 letter question.

The most basic argument is that greater economic inequality gives the wealthy greater control over the lives of everyone else. This is inevitable but when the inequality becomes extreme the poor are essentially no longer free.

I fail to see how a rich person can have control over a poor persons life. A rich person can't make me buy their product or service, force me to work for them, stop me from pursuing my goals, etc.

Can you give me more details on what you mean?

In wealthy California (can't speak for other areas) the affluent talk a great deal about how much they care about the plight of the poor, yet they use every tool at their disposal to exclude them from their neighborhoods: zoning, CEQA, lawsuits, political pressure, intentionally under developing infrastructure, and so on. These are the neighborhoods with good schools, good jobs, and good policing. Nothing gets the community up in arms like a proposal to build high density and/or affordable housing, and competing neighborhoods play hot potato with it until the proposal dies. It's the latest incarnation of redlining. So yeah, the wealthy do have control over some very important areas of a poor person's life.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 11:18:04 AM by FINate »

Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #132 on: September 13, 2017, 11:17:50 AM »
Also, I disagree with the premise that corporations only exist because governments allow them to exist. They exist because governments need corporations just as much as corporations need governments, it's a symbiotic relationship. In a society w/o taxes or liability laws (to be clear, this would be a terrible idea) corporations would be unnecessary, it's only because of our legal framework that we've had to come up with the idea of the corporation. This doesn't mean they shouldn't be regulated, but at the same time modern government would not function without corporations.
It's not modern government that wouldn't function without corporations, it's the modern economy.  And the modern economy only exists because governments created the concept of the modern company and put in place the laws that allow it to operate.

Does nobody learn any economic history or constitutional law any more?

The two are so intertwined neither would function without the other. Supposedly progressive California ranks 44th in income inequality (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_Gini_coefficient) and it's *highly* dependent on corporations in the tech sector, along with the high incomes this industry creates. Without corporations California would be insolvent. It's magical thinking to assume that we could just do away with corporations, that we don't actually need them.

I agree with you they are intertwined, but a corporation only exists because the government says it does. If we just did away with corporations we would devolve into a state of anarchy and the government would become a dictatorship or something to maintain control.

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #133 on: September 13, 2017, 11:19:20 AM »
This conversation has happened many times on this forum and no one has ever actually shown how the salary of a CEO hurts anyone or encroaches on anyone's freedom.
It's not that CEOs get paid too much, it's that the small worker gets paid too little.  Income inequality.   It's possible to address by either limiting top pay or paying the small worker more.
I would add to this that I don't think most of us (or at least myself) are arguing for a "limit" on pay so much as rules and incentives that would encourage corporations to reduce pay. An outright limit would be too easy to work around.

And yes, there is very good reason to believe that income inequality is detrimental to society.

Im not even arguing for that.  I'm suggesting incentivize companies to pay the little worker more.  Really what I'm saying is we  move from the philosophy that says "it's a corporations duty to maximize profits for shareholders" to the philosophy that says "it's a corporation's duty to maximize benefits for society".   I suggested earlier by doing that thru the corporate tax codes.  If a company doesn't pollute, is carbon neutral, creates a good amount of wealth all around, pays women the same as men for the same work, is inclusive, etc, they shouldn't pay any tax at all.  The more a company doesn't do those things, the higher their taxes.

Your criteria are very subjective and involving the government via the corporate tax structure would only complicate things. I think the better option would be for people to vote with their dollars by only buying products, and investing in, companies that meet their criteria.

I agree with you, it would be ideal if this worked.  Sadly, it doesn't seem to in real life.

If you're barely scraping by and need to buy bread for your family, you're going to buy the cheapest bread.  Even if the leader of the company that makes that bread says 'Poor people are all assholes, we exploit them whenever possible.'  If you're middle class and need to buy bread for your family, you're probably going to buy the cheapest bread.  Why would you care about the exploitation of the poor?  If you're extremely wealthy your servants likely bake you fresh bread every morning, so you don't matter in this discussion.

You couple with the above phenomenon the fact that most companies are pretty good at hiding when they do bad things and that the average poor person doesn't have time or resources to do exhaustive research on the companies (and the larger mega-corporations that own them), and you start to realize that the free market is tends to be a total failure in this area.

FINate

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #134 on: September 13, 2017, 11:20:31 AM »
Also, I disagree with the premise that corporations only exist because governments allow them to exist. They exist because governments need corporations just as much as corporations need governments, it's a symbiotic relationship. In a society w/o taxes or liability laws (to be clear, this would be a terrible idea) corporations would be unnecessary, it's only because of our legal framework that we've had to come up with the idea of the corporation. This doesn't mean they shouldn't be regulated, but at the same time modern government would not function without corporations.
It's not modern government that wouldn't function without corporations, it's the modern economy.  And the modern economy only exists because governments created the concept of the modern company and put in place the laws that allow it to operate.

Does nobody learn any economic history or constitutional law any more?

The two are so intertwined neither would function without the other. Supposedly progressive California ranks 44th in income inequality (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_Gini_coefficient) and it's *highly* dependent on corporations in the tech sector, along with the high incomes this industry creates. Without corporations California would be insolvent. It's magical thinking to assume that we could just do away with corporations, that we don't actually need them.

I agree with you they are intertwined, but a corporation only exists because the government says it does. If we just did away with corporations we would devolve into a state of anarchy and the government would become a dictatorship or something to maintain control.

Hence our modern liberal government, as we know it, would cease to exist. In theory we could live without any form of government, but living in a state of total anarchy isn't an option even worth considering.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 11:22:45 AM by FINate »

Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #135 on: September 13, 2017, 11:22:58 AM »
I would add to this that I don't think most of us (or at least myself) are arguing for a "limit" on pay so much as rules and incentives that would encourage corporations to reduce pay. An outright limit would be too easy to work around.

And yes, there is very good reason to believe that income inequality is detrimental to society.

How?
That's a pretty big 3 letter question.

The most basic argument is that greater economic inequality gives the wealthy greater control over the lives of everyone else. This is inevitable but when the inequality becomes extreme the poor are essentially no longer free.

I fail to see how a rich person can have control over a poor persons life. A rich person can't make me buy their product or service, force me to work for them, stop me from pursuing my goals, etc.

Can you give me more details on what you mean?

In wealthy California (can't speak for other areas) the affluent talk a great deal about how much they care about the plight of the poor, yet they use every tool at their disposal to exclude them from their neighborhoods: zoning, CEQA, lawsuits, political pressure, intentionally under developing infrastructure, and so on. These are the neighborhoods with good schools, good jobs, and good policing. Nothing gets the community up in arms like a proposal to build high density and/or affordable housing, and competing neighborhoods play hot potato with it until the proposal dies. It's the latest incarnation of redlining. So yeah, the wealthy do have control over some very important areas of a poor person's life.

I consider this a failure of government not a failure of wealthy people. We should remove the ability of the government to hand out these benefits to the wealth, not take or condemn their wealth.

starguru

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #136 on: September 13, 2017, 11:23:17 AM »
This conversation has happened many times on this forum and no one has ever actually shown how the salary of a CEO hurts anyone or encroaches on anyone's freedom.
It's not that CEOs get paid too much, it's that the small worker gets paid too little.  Income inequality.   It's possible to address by either limiting top pay or paying the small worker more.
I would add to this that I don't think most of us (or at least myself) are arguing for a "limit" on pay so much as rules and incentives that would encourage corporations to reduce pay. An outright limit would be too easy to work around.


And yes, there is very good reason to believe that income inequality is detrimental to society.

Im not even arguing for that.  I'm suggesting incentivize companies to pay the little worker more.  Really what I'm saying is we  move from the philosophy that says "it's a corporations duty to maximize profits for shareholders" to the philosophy that says "it's a corporation's duty to maximize benefits for society".   I suggested earlier by doing that thru the corporate tax codes.  If a company doesn't pollute, is carbon neutral, creates a good amount of wealth all around, pays women the same as men for the same work, is inclusive, etc, they shouldn't pay any tax at all.  The more a company doesn't do those things, the higher their taxes.

Your criteria are very subjective and involving the government via the corporate tax structure would only complicate things. I think the better option would be for people to vote with their dollars by only buying products, and investing in, companies that meet their criteria.

Ill agree that what I wrote is just an list of things I see as problematic in society.  If society could agree they want corporations to have obligations to society instead of just their shareholders, we could then figure out how to do that and on what criteria corporations would be monitored.  An interesting note that is using the tax code in this way changes how things work in that now we just outright prohibit things.  In this tax system, corporations can do anything they want, they just have to pay more and more the worse they do. 

Going the route of people voting with their dollars sounds good in theory but I think it is simply not possible in practice all the time.  People hate comcast, but in some places that's the only provider available.   Certain drugs are only made by certain companies, and sometimes there are no alternatives.  AFAIK people can't choose which company supplies their electricity.  Not to mention the fact that many people only care about the price of a product, and don't care what the company did to achieve that price.

FINate

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #137 on: September 13, 2017, 11:30:23 AM »
I would add to this that I don't think most of us (or at least myself) are arguing for a "limit" on pay so much as rules and incentives that would encourage corporations to reduce pay. An outright limit would be too easy to work around.

And yes, there is very good reason to believe that income inequality is detrimental to society.

How?
That's a pretty big 3 letter question.

The most basic argument is that greater economic inequality gives the wealthy greater control over the lives of everyone else. This is inevitable but when the inequality becomes extreme the poor are essentially no longer free.

I fail to see how a rich person can have control over a poor persons life. A rich person can't make me buy their product or service, force me to work for them, stop me from pursuing my goals, etc.

Can you give me more details on what you mean?

In wealthy California (can't speak for other areas) the affluent talk a great deal about how much they care about the plight of the poor, yet they use every tool at their disposal to exclude them from their neighborhoods: zoning, CEQA, lawsuits, political pressure, intentionally under developing infrastructure, and so on. These are the neighborhoods with good schools, good jobs, and good policing. Nothing gets the community up in arms like a proposal to build high density and/or affordable housing, and competing neighborhoods play hot potato with it until the proposal dies. It's the latest incarnation of redlining. So yeah, the wealthy do have control over some very important areas of a poor person's life.

I consider this a failure of government not a failure of wealthy people. We should remove the ability of the government to hand out these benefits to the wealth, not take or condemn their wealth.

I agree that taking or condemning wealth is not the answer. But at the same time the wealthy need to accept that their wealth confers an outsized amount of power and influence (including the ability to influence elections and policy), and that their self interests often come at the expense of those who are less fortunate. IMO the focus on how much CEOs make is a convenient distraction from more difficult issues.

Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #138 on: September 13, 2017, 11:31:02 AM »
This conversation has happened many times on this forum and no one has ever actually shown how the salary of a CEO hurts anyone or encroaches on anyone's freedom.
It's not that CEOs get paid too much, it's that the small worker gets paid too little.  Income inequality.   It's possible to address by either limiting top pay or paying the small worker more.
I would add to this that I don't think most of us (or at least myself) are arguing for a "limit" on pay so much as rules and incentives that would encourage corporations to reduce pay. An outright limit would be too easy to work around.

And yes, there is very good reason to believe that income inequality is detrimental to society.

Im not even arguing for that.  I'm suggesting incentivize companies to pay the little worker more.  Really what I'm saying is we  move from the philosophy that says "it's a corporations duty to maximize profits for shareholders" to the philosophy that says "it's a corporation's duty to maximize benefits for society".   I suggested earlier by doing that thru the corporate tax codes.  If a company doesn't pollute, is carbon neutral, creates a good amount of wealth all around, pays women the same as men for the same work, is inclusive, etc, they shouldn't pay any tax at all.  The more a company doesn't do those things, the higher their taxes.

Your criteria are very subjective and involving the government via the corporate tax structure would only complicate things. I think the better option would be for people to vote with their dollars by only buying products, and investing in, companies that meet their criteria.

I agree with you, it would be ideal if this worked.  Sadly, it doesn't seem to in real life.

If you're barely scraping by and need to buy bread for your family, you're going to buy the cheapest bread.  Even if the leader of the company that makes that bread says 'Poor people are all assholes, we exploit them whenever possible.'  If you're middle class and need to buy bread for your family, you're probably going to buy the cheapest bread.  Why would you care about the exploitation of the poor?  If you're extremely wealthy your servants likely bake you fresh bread every morning, so you don't matter in this discussion.

You couple with the above phenomenon the fact that most companies are pretty good at hiding when they do bad things and that the average poor person doesn't have time or resources to do exhaustive research on the companies (and the larger mega-corporations that own them), and you start to realize that the free market is tends to be a total failure in this area.

See, I look at this totally different. Your assuming there are only a limited number of options for people when in reality the options are unlimited. Buy flour and make your own bread. Don't eat bread, eat oatmeal.

If people still buy the bread over all other options they are saying, "I care more about cheap bread than I do poor people."

Everyday there are independent sources shining lights on the wrong doings of various companies. With technology things have never been more transparent.

Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #139 on: September 13, 2017, 11:33:21 AM »
Hence our modern liberal government, as we know it, would cease to exist. In theory we could live without any form of government, but living in a state of total anarchy isn't an option even worth considering.
True. We can debate whether it would be bad or good but your statement is correct.

Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #140 on: September 13, 2017, 11:44:00 AM »
Ill agree that what I wrote is just an list of things I see as problematic in society.  If society could agree they want corporations to have obligations to society instead of just their shareholders, we could then figure out how to do that and on what criteria corporations would be monitored.  An interesting note that is using the tax code in this way changes how things work in that now we just outright prohibit things.  In this tax system, corporations can do anything they want, they just have to pay more and more the worse they do. 

Going the route of people voting with their dollars sounds good in theory but I think it is simply not possible in practice all the time.  People hate comcast, but in some places that's the only provider available.   Certain drugs are only made by certain companies, and sometimes there are no alternatives.  AFAIK people can't choose which company supplies their electricity.  Not to mention the fact that many people only care about the price of a product, and don't care what the company did to achieve that price.

A corporations obligation to society is to produce things people want. Apple's obligation is to produce me an iPhone. Period.

I agree. If we use the tax system the way you describe your not prohibiting anything. I would limit that type of taxation to things that produce externalities (ie. Pollution). I would not want to see a company based on something like employment matters. I wouldn't want a third party to be able to determine under what conditions I can be employed.

Like I said above, there are always more options. If you believe in something strong enough.

If people care more about cheap bread than the exploitation of the poor; why should you be able to force your views on them.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 11:50:46 AM by Pooplips »

Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #141 on: September 13, 2017, 11:49:35 AM »
I agree that taking or condemning wealth is not the answer. But at the same time the wealthy need to accept that their wealth confers an outsized amount of power and influence (including the ability to influence elections and policy), and that their self interests often come at the expense of those who are less fortunate. IMO the focus on how much CEOs make is a convenient distraction from more difficult issues.

Thank you for your response. The point you make is an important one. What would you like to see to change that situation?

I would like to see government power shrink. No wealthy person can influence labor laws in their favor if there is no Department of Labor. I should be able to decide who I work for and under what conditions.

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #142 on: September 13, 2017, 11:59:03 AM »
I agree that taking or condemning wealth is not the answer. But at the same time the wealthy need to accept that their wealth confers an outsized amount of power and influence (including the ability to influence elections and policy), and that their self interests often come at the expense of those who are less fortunate. IMO the focus on how much CEOs make is a convenient distraction from more difficult issues.

Thank you for your response. The point you make is an important one. What would you like to see to change that situation?

I would like to see government power shrink. No wealthy person can influence labor laws in their favor if there is no Department of Labor. I should be able to decide who I work for and under what conditions.
We tried that already early in the 19th century and before. It was horrible. I propose that we instead not bring back child labor and other abuses like those discussed in Upton Sinclaire's The Jungle.

Here's a thought. Most other industrialized countries have happier, healthier, safer populaces than the United States. Most of them also have more protection for labor, higher taxes, etc. Maybe we should try emulating models that we know work, rather than ones we know don't.

Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #143 on: September 13, 2017, 12:14:50 PM »
I agree that taking or condemning wealth is not the answer. But at the same time the wealthy need to accept that their wealth confers an outsized amount of power and influence (including the ability to influence elections and policy), and that their self interests often come at the expense of those who are less fortunate. IMO the focus on how much CEOs make is a convenient distraction from more difficult issues.

Thank you for your response. The point you make is an important one. What would you like to see to change that situation?

I would like to see government power shrink. No wealthy person can influence labor laws in their favor if there is no Department of Labor. I should be able to decide who I work for and under what conditions.
We tried that already early in the 19th century and before. It was horrible. I propose that we instead not bring back child labor and other abuses like those discussed in Upton Sinclaire's The Jungle.

Here's a thought. Most other industrialized countries have happier, healthier, safer populaces than the United States. Most of them also have more protection for labor, higher taxes, etc. Maybe we should try emulating models that we know work, rather than ones we know don't.
If a child wants to work I don't see why they shouldn't be able too.

The 21st century is much different than the 19th. Also, why are you comparing one static time in history with another? The progress and technology innovations over those century's was astounding. The bottom 5% of Americans live better than the kings of of the 18th century, for example.

Happier? Debatable.

Healthier? I think your splitting hairs if your comparing the health of one industrialized nation to another. Overall global heath has increased dramatically over the last one hundred years due to free markets.

Safer? Same as above. Splitting hairs. Are you talking about murder rate, weather related deaths or health related deaths?

starguru

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #144 on: September 13, 2017, 12:18:11 PM »
Ill agree that what I wrote is just an list of things I see as problematic in society.  If society could agree they want corporations to have obligations to society instead of just their shareholders, we could then figure out how to do that and on what criteria corporations would be monitored.  An interesting note that is using the tax code in this way changes how things work in that now we just outright prohibit things.  In this tax system, corporations can do anything they want, they just have to pay more and more the worse they do. 

Going the route of people voting with their dollars sounds good in theory but I think it is simply not possible in practice all the time.  People hate comcast, but in some places that's the only provider available.   Certain drugs are only made by certain companies, and sometimes there are no alternatives.  AFAIK people can't choose which company supplies their electricity.  Not to mention the fact that many people only care about the price of a product, and don't care what the company did to achieve that price.

A corporations obligation to society is to produce things people want. Apple's obligation is to produce me an iPhone. Period.

I agree. If we use the tax system the way you describe your not prohibiting anything. I would limit that type of taxation to things that produce externalities (ie. Pollution). I would not want to see a company based on something like employment matters. I wouldn't want a third party to be able to determine under what conditions I can be employed.

Like I said above, there are always more options. If you believe in something strong enough.

If people care more about cheap bread than the exploitation of the poor; why should you be able to force your views on them.

I'm not talking about forcing views on anyone.  I'm talking about building consensus about what we expect of corporations.  Is a corporations only obligation to maximize value for their shareholders?  I'm suggesting that as a society we paradigm shift to a corporation's obligation is to maximize benefit to society.  One way they do this is by making products and returning value to shareholders.  But I would submit that there are other just as important things they need to do to, like not polluting, paying their employees a fair wage, etc.  And in return for this, corporate taxes go down for those corporations that meet society's expectations.  And no corporation is forced to do anything.  If they want to do things society deems harmful, the pay for for that harm in the form of higher taxes. 

It's interesting you mention Apple.  Tim Cook seems pretty set on minimizing Apple's environmental footprint, not making products that have hazardous materials in them, etc.

« Last Edit: September 13, 2017, 12:20:02 PM by starguru »

Dabnasty

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #145 on: September 13, 2017, 12:25:04 PM »
I would add to this that I don't think most of us (or at least myself) are arguing for a "limit" on pay so much as rules and incentives that would encourage corporations to reduce pay. An outright limit would be too easy to work around.

And yes, there is very good reason to believe that income inequality is detrimental to society.

How?
That's a pretty big 3 letter question.

The most basic argument is that greater economic inequality gives the wealthy greater control over the lives of everyone else. This is inevitable but when the inequality becomes extreme the poor are essentially no longer free.

I fail to see how a rich person can have control over a poor persons life. A rich person can't make me buy their product or service, force me to work for them, stop me from pursuing my goals, etc.

Can you give me more details on what you mean?
Someone wealthy enough can own a newspaper or a TV station. These have a strong influence over what people think and believe. Money can and does influence government policy. More money buys better lawyers...

There's plenty of examples but I kind of thought it was understood that money=power.

I realize this is inevitable and we can't force things to be what we want. I'm simply responding to the basic question of "What is the problem with income inequality"


Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #146 on: September 13, 2017, 12:36:01 PM »
Ill agree that what I wrote is just an list of things I see as problematic in society.  If society could agree they want corporations to have obligations to society instead of just their shareholders, we could then figure out how to do that and on what criteria corporations would be monitored.  An interesting note that is using the tax code in this way changes how things work in that now we just outright prohibit things.  In this tax system, corporations can do anything they want, they just have to pay more and more the worse they do. 

Going the route of people voting with their dollars sounds good in theory but I think it is simply not possible in practice all the time.  People hate comcast, but in some places that's the only provider available.   Certain drugs are only made by certain companies, and sometimes there are no alternatives.  AFAIK people can't choose which company supplies their electricity.  Not to mention the fact that many people only care about the price of a product, and don't care what the company did to achieve that price.

A corporations obligation to society is to produce things people want. Apple's obligation is to produce me an iPhone. Period.

I agree. If we use the tax system the way you describe your not prohibiting anything. I would limit that type of taxation to things that produce externalities (ie. Pollution). I would not want to see a company based on something like employment matters. I wouldn't want a third party to be able to determine under what conditions I can be employed.

Like I said above, there are always more options. If you believe in something strong enough.

If people care more about cheap bread than the exploitation of the poor; why should you be able to force your views on them.

I'm not talking about forcing views on anyone.  I'm talking about building consensus about what we expect of corporations.  Is a corporations only obligation to maximize value for their shareholders?  I'm suggesting that as a society we paradigm shift to a corporation's obligation is to maximize benefit to society.  One way they do this is by making products and returning value to shareholders.  But I would submit that there are other just as important things they need to do to, like not polluting, paying their employees a fair wage, etc.  And in return for this, corporate taxes go down for those corporations that meet society's expectations.  And no corporation is forced to do anything.  If they want to do things society deems harmful, the pay for for that harm in the form of higher taxes. 

It's interesting you mention Apple.  Tim Cook seems pretty set on minimizing Apple's environmental footprint, not making products that have hazardous materials in them, etc.

I understand what your saying, but why do we need society to have a paradigm shift and why do we need government to enforce it through taxes? I buy Apple products and own Apple stock for the exact reasons you mentioned. Plus they make money.

If we can build a consensus about what we expect of corporations; why can't we build a consensus that people should buy Apple products over their competitors and keep the government out of it?

FINate

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #147 on: September 13, 2017, 12:44:59 PM »
I agree that taking or condemning wealth is not the answer. But at the same time the wealthy need to accept that their wealth confers an outsized amount of power and influence (including the ability to influence elections and policy), and that their self interests often come at the expense of those who are less fortunate. IMO the focus on how much CEOs make is a convenient distraction from more difficult issues.

Thank you for your response. The point you make is an important one. What would you like to see to change that situation?

I would like to see government power shrink. No wealthy person can influence labor laws in their favor if there is no Department of Labor. I should be able to decide who I work for and under what conditions.
I don't see government as inherently good or bad, it's a tool that can be used in either direction. Specific things:
  • Remove barriers artificially limiting housing supply along Coastal California. The cost of housing is a major problem for the poor, and pricing them out of vibrant urban centers to poor rural areas with limited job options just makes it worse. The wealthy may have to live with poor people moving into their neighborhoods.
  • Increase density of urban areas and vastly increase public transit options. There's a interesting bit of history around why BART does not extend down the wealthy SF Peninsula - those folks will need to get over their aversion to "riff-raff" riding public transit to/through their neighborhoods.
  • Increase school funding. Yes, I know this takes money, but improving education is the best long term option for addressing poverty. The wealthy *and* middle class will have to accept higher property or other taxes to pay for this.
  • Increase school choice. I'm familiar with the arguments about how school choice may negatively impact some public schools, but if a school/district is failing to meet certain standards we need to give poor parents options. The wealthy may have to accept poor students crossing district lines.
  • Single payer. Healthcare costs in the US are astronomical compared to other countries, and our outcomes aren't better. Like housing, healthcare is a burden for the poor. The wealthy will need to give up special tax treatment of employer provided insurance.

Pooplips

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #148 on: September 13, 2017, 12:46:29 PM »
Someone wealthy enough can own a newspaper or a TV station. These have a strong influence over what people think and believe. Money can and does influence government policy. More money buys better lawyers...

There's plenty of examples but I kind of thought it was understood that money=power.

I realize this is inevitable and we can't force things to be what we want. I'm simply responding to the basic question of "What is the problem with income inequality"

That's why the internet is so fantastic. I can get my news from all kinds of difference sources and opinions. The centralized narrative of media outlets has been destroyed in the last few decades.

I agree, money buys influence in government. So we should shrink the government to limit that influence as much as possible.

 

mm1970

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Re: NY Times article -- "What the Rich Won't Tell You"
« Reply #149 on: September 13, 2017, 12:56:01 PM »
Oh, atheist, ha!  I still think gov employees are more reviled!

It depends on what type of gov employee, what you do, how generous your pension is, and when you can collect it.

It's a sliding scale of hatred.