Friday, November 29, 2013

Let's Have a Maximum Wage

There was a time, children, and not so long ago (the 1980s), that economists were wringing their hands over American corporate executives earning salaries more than 20 times that of their lowest-paid employees. Japanese CEOs, which were kicking U.S. corporate ass at the time, earned 10 times what their workers made. Obviously, American CEOs were grossly overpaid and that was a problem.

No, seriously.

Down with Tyranny:

Lately we've come to the conclusion that the whole concept of billionaires is illegitimate and an existential threat to democracy. But, short of a guillotine, how do you protect society by getting rid of them? Progressive taxation is the obvious choice, of course. And Switzerland is voting on an interesting way of guaranteeing better income equality today. Have you heard about the maximum wage ratio yet? It sure isn't something the billionaires who control the American corporate media want you to hear about.

The plan, widely labeled "radical," limits the monthly pay of top executives to 12 times that of their lowest paid employees' yearly salary. Here in the U.S., the average CEO earns 200 times the salary of their lowest paid employee.
Limiting compensation to 1:12 would be a historic change: Currently, a lot of Swiss firms have a ratio of more than 100:1. Roche, the Swiss drug giant, reportedly paid its top executive $13.9 million in 2012, and its lowest $59,000-- a ratio of 1:236.

…The idea was proposed through Switzerland's direct democracy system, and if more than 50% of voters and representatives of the Swiss federal states (cantons) agree to it, it must become law. Voters have had a month to vote via post, and on Sunday they can attend polling stations.
UPDATE: Swiss Weenie Out Of Reining In The Plutocrats

As expected, the vote failed. Just around a third of the voters approved, What's worse, "initiatives need a majority of both voters and cantons (states) to pass in a referendum; by Sunday afternoon, results from 20 of the 26 cantons were in and all had voted against."
Sunday's referendum came after voters in a March vote voiced anger at perceived corporate greed by deciding to boost shareholders' say on executive pay and ban one-off bonuses known as "golden hellos" and "goodbyes."

However, the new "1:12 initiative" from Switzerland's Young Socialists calling for a fixed legal cap on pay appeared to be a step too far for centrist and conservative voters.
But just imagine, for a moment, that members of the Walton family could earn no more than 12 times the minimum wage - $180,000 per year instead of hundreds of millions of dollars. Think they might support a minimum-wage increase then? In order to avoid having to shop at their own disgusting stores?

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