By Chet Yarbrough
Narrated by Arthur Morey
It is past time for Americans to re-read Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man”. Though his primary purpose is to refute Edmund Burke’s condemnation of the 1789 French revolution, his observations on British Aristocracy are the essence of today’s American “Money-ocracy”.
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and punched faces at Donald Trump rallies are an amorphous scream of disgust by a population that resents American “Money-ocracy’s” control of the economy, elected representatives, the election system, and the “Rights of Man”. “Money-ocracy” has become an inheritable line of an American aristocracy.
Instead of 18th century Aristocratic control of British government, 21st century America substitutes the wealth of individuals and corporations (classified as individuals) to control American Democracy.
Management executives that are employees of corporate America take salaries 300 times more than the salary of their average employee. Once a corporate executive reaches that level of compensation, money becomes fuel to maintain America’s “Money-ocracy”, the new hereditary right of succession; i.e. the new controller of our economy, the primary interest group of elected representatives, the master of the American election system, and ultimately, the thief and ruler of inherent “Rights of Man”.
Tax change to soak the rich is a smoke screen that obscures the real danger of American decline in the 21st century. It is a smoke screen because it is too blunt an instrument to bludgeon the rich to benefit the less rich. It smacks of the worst characteristics of Ayn Rand’s attack on government interference in free enterprise. American history shows that Americans believe that hard work is the source of success; being American does not guarantee a free ride; i.e. being American (at least theoretically) means equal opportunity for all, based on ability, without limitation based on race, color, or creed.
America needs to return to the ideals of equal opportunity by allowing entrepreneurs to create wealth through human productivity. Money is not an end but it has become an end that has no end; i.e. high salaries perpetuate themselves through an Aristocratic “Money-ocracy”. Salaries should be determined by human productivity; i.e. salary should be based on individual contribution to company performance, not hierarchical position or an artificially created salary competition for the latest best performing company CEO. Every time a CEO changes jobs, they should have a new mountain to climb, a new productivity scale to be measured against.
Questioning salaries that exceed 300 times average employee compensation is not denying the creation of wealth. Entrepreneurs who create productive companies that grow to multi-billion dollar enterprises have opportunity to become billionaires; not from salaries, but from building human productivity that creates wealth.
Stockholders in American companies need to fight employee compensation inflation that is disconnected from human productivity. It is time for corporate boards to truly set the standard for CEO s rather than meet 4 times a year to receive exorbitant and unjustified million dollar bribes for sitting at the boardroom table.
Entrepreneurs that create productive enterprises should be rewarded by as much money, power, and prestige as their contribution warrants but not by ridiculous salaries that make a mockery of human productivity.
“Occupy Wall Street” is an unlikely precursor of another American Revolution; however, it may be a symptom of an American cancer that debilitates productive life without killing the patient. “Occupying Wall Street” is not a hippie “sit in” but a plea for reform of American “Money-cracy” just as Thomas Paine’s “Rights of Man” was a plea for reform of Aristocratic inheritance.
Donald Trump undervalues or misunderstands the importance of equal opportunity for all people of the world. Trump may be a patriot but the same is said of Vladimir Putin.