Tuesday, 6 January 2009

It's time to stop blaming the workers

The Tuesday, January 6, 2009 edition of the Regina Leader-Post has a column by veteran political columnist Murray Mandryk entitled: Collective shake of the head required. In the column Mandryk continues to regurgitate the tired old myth based argument, that worker's and their wages are to blame for the meltdown of the global economy. Without a shred of evidence or support for his position, Mandryk simply parrots the tired old lie, that unionized auto workers earn $70 per hour.

He even takes a few shots at me for my New Years interview with his collegue, Neil Scott (Hubich slams auto CEOs) where I took a shot at CEO compensation in reaction to the recent report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives - Banner Year for Canada’s CEOs, Record High Pay Increase.

I was compelled to respond to Mandryk's column, so I sent off the following letter to the editor at the Regina Leader-Post this afternoon. I'll let you know if they print it:
Update: The letter was published in the January 8 Leader-Post: 'Greedy corporate decision-makers' to blame

January 6, 2009

To The Editor

In his column of January 6, 2009, Collective Shake of the Head Required, Leader-Post columnist Murray Mandryk comments on my New Year’s interview with reporter Neil Scott regarding among other matters, the salaries of Corporate Executive Officers (CEO’s).

Mr. Scott’s article which appeared in the January 3 issue of the Leader-Post dealt with a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) “The 100 highest paid CEO’s of Canadian publicly traded corporations received an average of $10,408,054 in total compensation in 2007.” This was a 22.7 percent increase from the previous year.

The CCPA report noted a number of other facts regarding CEO compensation “The average CEO took home 259 times the pay of the average worker…that the average pay for the top 50 CEO’s was 398 times the average wage, up from 85 times the average wage in 1995.”

All Canadians should be interested and concerned with this state of affairs. Those that have wealth continue to accumulate more and more wealth. Mr. Mandryk seems convinced that such “entitlements” are coming to an end. Where is the evidence of that?

Instead of providing evidence Mr. Mandryk then criticizes my contention that CEO’s should be taken to task for their greedy ways.

Should automobile CEO’s be thrown in jail and the workers take over the factories? It may not be the entire answer to our problems but should it be totally discounted? Can we do any worse than the current corporate leadership? Perhaps forensic audits and criminal investigations would be a good first step.

The nearly trillion dollar corporate bail out in the USA mainly rewards those smart rich people who plunged the global economy almost to the bottom. And it doesn’t appear that their “period of entitlement” is ending.

Mr. Mandryk and I clearly have philosophical differences. I believe that the economy should be designed to serve the people while Mr. Mandryk seems to prefer having people serving the economy.

When the corporate leadership takes much more out of the economy then they contribute, this must be questioned. My suggestions were not far from the recent actions of Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams who took action to seize hydroelectric and forestry resources from a company that announced the plan to shut down a plant. Saskatchewan should consider similar actions to protect and properly husband our forest resources.

Mr. Mandryk and I will continue to both agree and disagree on various issues. His column is a platform that he can use to investigate issues and bring them to light. He should go beyond attacking the workers who actually produce wealth and examine why the idle rich have so much.

The powers that be want us to forget who is responsible for the economic mess we are in. Instead they want to blame workers for the current economic woes. Lost in the process are those most affected by greedy corporate decision makers – the people who have lost their jobs, their homes, their dignity and their hope.

Where did all the money go?

4 comments:

janfromthebruce said...

excellent Larry - it's the old shell game. Whether in good times or bad times, it's time to whack a worker.

the regina mom said...

Look! There's an online game to whack workers!

myworld said...

Gone are the days of real investigative journalists in our mainstream media. When was the last time you heard any reporter referred to as one?
The now all appear to be just puppets paid to entertain and brainwash whichever portion of the public who subscribes to their pre-paid opinions.
I noticed your letter did not get published in today's Leader Post. Did you expect it to? The truth can sometimes not be as entertaining, especially when it does not fall in line with the agenda. Even when it is submitted for the editorial page.

Really now - in either or any of the current financial bailouts: the worker is being blamed for the fault of the grossly over-paid, incompetent, greedy cohorts who actually run the facilities??

How gullible do they think we are??

myworld said...

It looks like your letter made it to today's Leader Post. Congratulations.
I guess the truth can only be ignored for so long: too bad it had to be presented in the form of a letter to the editor.
So what happens next? You get lambasted in tomorrow's edition for being so callous and one-sided... and the commentators lash back in the form of their commentary, not journalism.
Or - since your facts are hard to dispute, perhaps they will ignore it totally - too hard to argue the truth.
Any real reporters left out there?