Charity for the 1%?

It seems like it’s a good time to remember some history. Do you sometimes forget relatively recent history? G. Santayana was reputed to have said something about (paraphrasing for syntactical fit) those of us who don’t remember the past being condemned to repeating it. Of course, ancient history may be inaccurate (did Nero really fiddle while Rome burned?), and this recent history might be, too. But see for yourself. Check this little bit of history from 2008 about how downtrodden the 1% were back then.


Thanks, This Hour Has 22 Minutes.

Getting More Serious

Barbara Hansen of USA TODAY used GMI Ratings, Standard & Poor’s data, and other USA TODAY research to analyze the pay of chief executive officers of US corporations in 2011. Matt Krantz and Ms. Hansen reported the results of that analysis 28 March 2012. Here is a listing of the top 10 earners for 2011. Ms. Hansen’s table, available with the story they reported, can be sorted in other ways to allow one to see data on 151 companies’ executive’s earnings.

Viacom Philippe Dauman $43,077,942
Honeywell International David Cote $35,378,249
Walt Disney Robert Iger $31,363,013
Marathon Oil Clarence Cazalot $29,911,662
Altera John Daane $29,576,725
Motorola Solutions Gregory Brown(1) $29,313,864
IBM Samuel Palmisano $24,221,865
Johnson & Johnson William Weldon $23,362,939
United Technologies Louis Chenevert $22,878,306
American Express Kenneth Chenault $22,490,401
Qualcomm Paul Jacobs $21,722,333
Coca-Cola Muhtar Kent $21,161,811
Cooper Industries Kirk Hachigian $21,116,678

Now, I don’t begrudge people making money, especially if they work hard, and I presume these men work hard, probably as hard as I do. And it’s not about me and them. But, what does one do with this sort of money. In one year, they’re making more than what a well-paid teacher made (including nice retirement and health benefits) over the past 35 years. Equitable?

Well, if these men gave 1% of their incomes to an endowment for a local school for five years, that would amount to something. Those schools would suddenly have budgets that would allow them to buy curricula that they might not otherwise be able to purchase, given the anti-tax and anti-education mood of many neighbors. And, if these savvy business men said, “You have to buy curricula that have a proven track record of success with the funds from this endowment (and here are the sensible rules for deciding what counts as such a curriculum),” then they might be “giving back to the community,” as their similarly wealthy athletics stars say.

In fact, mayhaps we could just ask that these way-wealthy folks would form coalitions and tackle problems such as this, just as the Buffet, Gates, Broad, and other families have addressed international problems. Mr. Atlanta Falcon Matt Ryan, Atlanta Coca Cola Mr. Muhtar Kent, Mr. Atlanta Hawk Joe Johnson, and Mr. Atlanta Braves Chipper Jones…y’all could do some good works among you, if you formed a team. Just 1-2% of your incomes a year for a three-year run for schools, boys-and-girls clubs, community music programs, shelters for indigent elderly folks…. Do you think you could afford 10%?


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Filed under Amusements, Civil rights, Free speech, Notes and comments, Politics

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