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A Just Wage and Executive Salaries
ROME, APR. 25, 2010 (Zenit.org).- As accusations over the responsibility for the global financial crisis continue apace, the subject of salary levels for executives remains a contested issue.
The British government announced a supertax on bonuses for banking executives, but a Jan. 8 report by the Financial Times said most London bankers will suffer little or no impact as banks will absorb all or part of the cost of the tax.
On March 20, the Financial Times reported that Richard Lambert, director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, the U.K.'s largest business organization, warned that top executives "risk being treated as aliens" by politicians and the public because their pay is so out of step with that of the population at large.
Read more: Zenit
Distributism, also known as distributionism and distributivism, is a third-way economic philosophy formulated by such Roman Catholic thinkers as G. K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc to apply the principles of Catholic Social Teaching articulated by the Catholic Church, especially in Pope Leo XIII's encyclical Rerum Novarum and more expansively explained by Pope Pius XI's encyclical Quadragesimo Anno. According to distributism, the ownership of the means of production should be spread as widely as possible among the general populace, rather than being centralized under the control of the state (state socialism) or a few large businesses or wealthy private individuals (plutarchic capitalism). A summary of distributism is found in Chesterton's statement: "Too much capitalism does not mean too many capitalists, but too few capitalists."
Essentially, distributism distinguishes itself by its distribution of property (not to be confused with redistribution of capital that would be carried out by most socialist plans of governance). While socialism allows no individuals to own productive property (it all being under state, community, or workers' control), and capitalism allows only a few to own it, distributism itself seeks to ensure that most people will become owners of productive property. As Hilaire Belloc stated, the distributive state (that is, the state which has implemented distributism) contains "an agglomeration of families of varying wealth, but by far the greater number of owners of the means of production." This broader distribution does not extend to all property, but only to productive property; that is, that property which produces wealth, namely, the things needed for man to survive. It includes land, tools, etc.
Distributism has often been described as a third way of economic order opposing both socialism and capitalism. Thomas Stork argues that "both socialism and capitalism are products of the European Enlightenment and are thus modernizing and anti-traditional forces. In contrast, distributism seeks to subordinate economic activity to human life as a whole, to our spiritual life, our intellectual life, our family life".
Originally posted by Cabaret Voltaire
This is not a dog help dog world. This is a very competitive world that is getting even more competitive. Mothers send sons to die defending the right to get and keep what one works for.
How are these huge gains possible for the top 400? It's due to cuts in the tax rates on capital gains and dividends, which were down to a mere 15% in 2007 thanks to the tax cuts proposed by the Bush Administration and passed by Congress in 2003. Since almost 75% of the income for the top 400 comes from capital gains and dividends, it's not hard to see why tax cuts on income sources available to only a tiny percent of Americans mattered greatly for the high-earning few.
By the height of the credit bubble between 2000 and 2007, the financial industry earned a staggering 40 percent of all corporate profits recorded in the United States, four times what they earned in 1980. Over the same period, average pay on Wall Street doubled, while bonuses at the top sextupled.
As of 2007, the top 1% of households (the upper class) owned 34.6% of all privately held wealth, and the next 19% (the managerial, professional, and small business stratum) had 50.5%, which means that just 20% of the people owned a remarkable 85%, leaving only 15% of the wealth for the bottom 80% (wage and salary workers). In terms of financial wealth (total net worth minus the value of one's home), the top 1% of households had an even greater share: 42.7%.
In terms of types of financial wealth, the top one percent of households have 38.3% of all privately held stock, 60.6% of financial securities, and 62.4% of business equity. The top 10% have 80% to 90% of stocks, bonds, trust funds, and business equity, and over 75% of non-home real estate. Since financial wealth is what counts as far as the control of income-producing assets, we can say that just 10% of the people own the United States of America.
According to a study published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, only 1.6% of Americans receive $100,000 or more in inheritance. Another 1.1% receive $50,000 to $100,000. On the other hand, 91.9% receive nothing (Kotlikoff & Gokhale, 2000). Thus, the attempt by ultra-conservatives to eliminate inheritance taxes -- which they always call "death taxes" for P.R. reasons -- would take a huge bite out of government revenues for the benefit of less than 1% of the population.
Here are some dramatic facts that sum up how the wealth distribution became even more concentrated between 1983 and 2004, in good part due to the tax cuts for the wealthy and the defeat of labor unions: Of all the new financial wealth created by the American economy in that 21-year-period, fully 42% of it went to the top 1%. A whopping 94% went to the top 20%, which of course means that the bottom 80% received only 6% of all the new financial wealth generated in the United States during the '80s, '90s, and early 2000s (Wolff, 2007).
Most amazing of all, the top 0.1% -- that's one-tenth of one percent -- had more combined pre-tax income than the poorest 120 million people (Johnston, 2006).