Top executives of such corporate giants as American Airlines, IBM, General Mills, Lowe's and McDonald's have a secret, and — shhhhhh — they're lobbying in Congress to keep it from you and me. What they don't want us to know is that CEO pay is a whole lot more — mucho mucho more — than the pay these same CEOs dole out to their typical worker.
Oh, you knew that already?
Of course, corporate bosses have not exactly been shy about stuffing their pockets with multimillion-dollar paychecks, bonuses and other loot, while knocking down the pay and benefits of workers.
But what you don't know are the specifics of just how outrageous the income gap has become in the past few years between the elites and the rest of us.
A new provision in last year's financial reform law, however, requires major corporations to start reporting annually on this pay disparity.
Having to reveal such a deliberate and dangerous level of inequality will be embarrassing to the corporate chiefs and infuriating to their downsized employees, plus it will be considered immoral by many consumers, investors and the general public. Hence, their rush to Congress.
As usual, Republican lawmakers have greeted the poor rich executives with open arms, soothing their fevered brows with a hush-up bill to repeal the disclosure provision, letting the execs keep their dirty little secret from us. Rep. Nan Hayworth, the GOP's point lady on this piece of plutocratic pampering, resorted to absurdity to rationalize the repeal, asserting that comparing paychecks would "confuse investors."
Bovine excrement! Such savvy investors as the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary have been leading the charge for paycheck comparisons.
What's truly confusing is that Republican lawmakers are so willing to expose themselves publicly as shameless corporate butt-kissers.
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.
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