Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Welcome to Americagua

Our Banana Republic -
In my reporting, I regularly travel to banana republics notorious for their inequality. In some of these plutocracies, the richest 1 percent of the population gobbles up 20 percent of the national pie.

But guess what? You no longer need to travel to distant and dangerous countries to observe such rapacious inequality. We now have it right here at home — and in the aftermath of Tuesday’s election, it may get worse.
Americans have no problems bitching about baseball player salaries, yet when it comes to acknowledging that the capitalist system is fundamentally flawed and broken in practice, they seem to have a hard time acknowledging what a failure Boards of Directors are at protecting shareholders from parasitic CEOs. What a surprise, right? A bunch of self-serving plutocrats sitting on the boards of the largest companies have found ways to rig golden parachutes, rapacious salaries, and shield themselves from accountability for their crimes and incompetence. Conservatives will no doubt claim CEOs make what the market says they're worth, and nobody has any right to limit that, or heaven's forbid, apply progressive tax rates to them. They will conveniently ignore examples of mismanagement, cooked books, cronyism, rewards for failure. Corporations are defined by law, and officers of corporations are bound by rules of conduct, just as we the people had the right to define the set up and tax treatment of corporations, we have the right to enforce, and even change the laws when they are shown to be ineffective or counterproductive.
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