I read the other day that a media company with which I used to be associated paid its CEO almost $10 million last year, including a cash bonus of $1.25 million. The same company’s COO received a salary of $8.2 million, more than double what she earned in 2009.
Those checks, and others, were issued to the leadership of a company that laid off hundred of workers, thereby increasing tax burdens for the rest of us as those employees went on unemployment. In addition to the layoffs, thousands of employees who survived the layoffs faced wage cuts and unpaid furloughs.
The logic for such rewards for the top brass, presumably, is that they came up with a plan that kept the company from going under completely.
But it also seems to me that they exhibited a clear “failure of imagination” that resulted in their company running inefficiently: the fact that they needed to trim the payroll clearly shows that they could have been getting by with fewer people from the start.
There should be laws in place to prevent the heads of companies for receiving one cent in bonus compensation if the company lays off anyone or requires so much as a single furlough day.
The CEOs can do without a lot easier than the hourly employee. And if he can’t, then he isn’t responsible enough with money to deserve a top echelon position in a major company.
Maybe if there were a way to prevent executives from cashing in on firing employees, they’d think twice about upping unemployment during already-rough times.