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Time for another Gooberhead Award – presented periodically to those in the news who have their tongues running 100-miles an hour… but forgot to put their brains in gear.
Today’s Goober comes from that rich treasure trove of gooberness: congress. At issue is an effort to establish just a little bitty bit of shareholder democracy in corporate America. Shareholders are, after all, the owners, but arrogant and aloof CEOs want them only to be seen, not heard. In particular, the top dogs don’t want the owners messing in a matter of ultimate importance to CEOs: their own fat paychecks.
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There has been a growing rebellion by shareholders against the exorbitant amount of their invested dollars that are being siphoned straight into CEO pockets. When the owners have risen up at annual corporate meetings, however, they’ve found that the executives have rigged the rules so shareholders have no say on pay.
Thus, congress is now moving to give shareholders the legal right to take an annual non-binding vote on executive pay levels. Oh, my – you’d think that Karl Marx just walked in the corporate door! Even a non-binding vote was too much democracy for these autocratic plutocrats – so they’ve unleashed their congressional defenders to fend off this assault on their towers of privilege.
Their chief defender is today’s gooberhead, Rep. Tom Price. This Georgia Republican wails that poor, beleaguered CEOs should not be compelled by bad ol’ government to let in the voice of the corporate owners. “I’m all in favor of a shareholder vote [on executive pay],” cried Tom, “if it’s done without a mandate from Washington.”
Yoo-hoo… Tom… the CEOs have already shown that if there’s no mandate, there’ll be no votes! Besides, why are executives so afraid of their own investors? Could it be that they know that their pay is indefensible?
“House backs bill to rein in executive pay,” Austin American Statesman, April 21, 2007