I Dreamt I Wished I Saw Joe Hill

aig1I wish I saw Joe Hill. Actually, I dreamt we all went bankrupt.

I’ve been wanting to write about the outrageous executive salaries and bonuses of AIG and the rest, but the shamelessness of these people has left me almost speechless. It’s almost too hard to know where to begin. I feel lucky to have a State job and have only had to take a few furlough days — I have several friends who have been laid off and are now unemployed, with families to support. But it’s as if there are two distinct realities here: the one I live in (with my unemployed friends), and the one the rich people live in. And while people in my world are struggling to pay our utility bills, the rich people are, well, read this:

Constellation Energy Group, which narrowly avoided bankruptcy last year, negotiated a deal with France’s largest utility ensuring senior managers would receive up to $32 million in long-term performance and retention incentives during the next two years.

The move comes as the Baltimore company, which agreed to sell half of its nuclear power business to Electricite de France for $4.5 billion, has laid off hundreds of workers, slashed its stockholder dividend and is seeking rate increases for its BGE customers.

How can these two situations even be in the same universe? Who are these people who take million dollar bonuses when others are being laid off? What the hell has happened to us?

As a writer for the Baltimore Sun notes:

How odious must executive pay abuses become, people kept wondering, before Congress and corporate boards recoil in horror? When will a company devise a compensation scheme so laughably grasping, so utterly counter to the idea of a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work, that the jig will finally be up?

Ladies and gentlemen, we appear to have a winner. The people at AIG‘s financial products unit did such a great job crippling the economy that they’re getting $165 million in bonuses.

Again I wonder, how can these people exist in the same world where calls are being put forth for teachers — teachers! people who are already woefully underpaid for the work they do — to be paid based on the merit of their job performance, while these people — whose job performance resulted in the destruction of the American economy as we know it — these people are being paid millions and millions of dollars.

Someone please wake me up.

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3 comments

  1. I want to know where the cutoff (salary or management level) is between the real world most of us live in and the world where poor performance gets rewarded. It’s perverse — drive a company off a cliff and get a multi-million dollar bonus as a reward.

  2. it’s about doing what european and japanese companies have done for a long time- no employee can make more than ten times the lowest paid employee.

    if the mail room clerk only makes 17,000 a year, then no one can make more than 170,000. which is pretty damn good money.

    nothing wrong with incentives, but everyone shoudl get them, and again, on the same par.

    it’s about balance, fairness and respect. period. no one needs millions of dollars in salary a year. no one.

  3. i wish there could be a base salary with incentives. your company makes a billion (legitimately and without accounting hocus pocus) you can get a big bonus. your company loses money, no bonus, and your are fired! end of story.

    should be the same in sports. base salary for all and bonuses paid for production. bet a few more of those whinning millionaires would play just a bit harder!!

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