FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

O California! My California!

by

Two state senators, Mark DeSaulnier (D-Concord) and Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), introduced SB 1372, a landmark bill that would help bridge the gap between rich and poor. What SB 1372 would do is raise the corporate tax on any company whose CEO makes more than 100 times the median rate of its employees, and lower the tax on any company whose CEO makes less than 100 times the median rate.

California’s corporate tax rate is currently 8.84% of a company’s net income. With passage of SB 1372, that rate could drop to as low as 7% if the company’s CEO were paid no more than 25 times as much as the average worker, but could rise to as high as 13% if the CEO were paid more 400 times the average worker. In 1965, CEOs made 20 times what the average worker made, but by 2012, that ratio was 273 to 1.

Let’s say a company’s median rate for workers is $40,000 a year. No one is asking their CEO to live on $400,000 a year, because that’s only 10 times the median rate, and that would be, well, unthinkable. What SB 1372 is asking is that this CEO consider trying to make it on $4,000,000 a year. He or she can still own the gated home, the boat and the luxury cars. The kids can still go to private schools. All they are being asked to do is piss on the average worker from a lower height.

Mind you, passage of SB 1372 wouldn’t force anyone to do anything. Hey, it’s a free country. If a company wants to overpay its CEO, it can still do so; no one is going to stop them. But overpaying them is going to entail paying more in corporate taxes, which shouldn’t be a problem, because if a company insists on paying its CEO an exorbitant salary, it can certainly afford to pay more taxes.

Of course, opponents to this bill have already presented a two-pronged argument: (1) SB 1372 amounts to a “redistribution of wealth” which would turn California into a Trotskyite/socialist/communist state, and (2) all it would succeed in doing is driving even more businesses out of the state.

As for “redistribution” of wealth,” it does nothing of the kind. The only thing SB 1372 does is offer an incentive. If you want a sizeable tax break, you need to rethink what you’re paying the Big Enchilada. If your median worker earns $40,000 a year, and you wish to take advantage of that tantalizing 7% in corporate tax, you need to pay your CEO no more than $1 million a year. It’s your choice. No one is forcing you. How is that a “redistribution of wealth”?

As for driving businesses out of California, well, that could present a messy PR problem. When a company whose workers earn an average of $40,000 a year announces that it must leave California because it wants to continue paying its CEO $8 million a year (200 times the median), there’s going to be some blowback. One would hope that such a naked declaration of greed would give organized labor enough gas to fly to the moon.

Speaking of labor, the ratio between workers and CEOs corresponds directly to the decline in union membership. That’s because there is no mechanism on earth more effective in raising the wages of working people than labor unions. But even with the middle-class shrinking, corporations have convinced people that unions are the problem, not the solution. That has to be the greatest propaganda coup in a hundred years.

David Macaray, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor,” 2nd edition), is a former union rep.  He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net

More articles by:

David Macaray is a playwright and author. His newest book is How To Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows.  He can be reached at dmacaray@gmail.com

Weekend Edition
November 24, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Jonathan Cook
From an Open Internet, Back to the Dark Ages
Linda Pentz Gunter
A Radioactive Plume That’s Clouded in Secrecy
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Fires This Time
Nick Alexandrov
Birth of a Nation
Vijay Prashad
Puerto Rico: Ruined Infrastructure and a Refugee Crisis
Peter Montague
Men in Power Abusing Women – What a Surprise!
Kristine Mattis
Slaves and Bulldozers, Plutocrats and Widgets
Pete Dolack
Climate Summit’s Solution to Global Warming: More Talking
Mike Whitney
ISIS Last Stand; End Times for the Caliphate
Robert Hunziker
Fukushima Darkness, Part Two
James Munson
Does Censoring Undemocratic Voices Make For Better Democracy?
Brian Cloughley
The Influence of Israel on Britain
Jason Hickel
Averting the Apocalypse: Lessons From Costa Rica
Pepe Escobar
How Turkey, Iran, Russia and India are playing the New Silk Roads
Jan Oberg
Why is Google’s Eric Schmidt So Afraid?
Ezra Rosser
Pushing Back Against the Criminalization of Poverty
Kathy Kelly
The Quality of Mercy
Myles Hoenig
A Ray Moore Win Could be a Hidden Gift to Progressives
Gerry Brown
Myanmar Conflict: Geopolitical Food Chain
Matthew Stevenson
Into Africa: Robert Redford’s Big Game in Nairobi
Katrina Kozarek
Venezuela’s Communes: a Great Social Achievement
Zoltan Grossman
Olympia Train Blockade Again Hits the Achilles Heel of the Fracking Industry
Binoy Kampmark
History, Law and Ratko Mladić
Tommy Raskin
Why Must We Sanction Russia?
Bob Lord
Trump’s Tax Plan Will Cost a Lot More Than Advertised
Ralph Nader
National Democratic Party – Pole Vaulting Back into Place
Julian Vigo
If Sexual Harassment and Assault Were Treated Like Terrorism
Russell Mokhiber
Still Blowing Smoke for Big Tobacco: John Boehner and College Ethics
Louis Proyect
The Witchfinders
Ted Rall
Sexual Harassment and the End of Team Politics
Anna Meyer
Your Tax Dollars are Funding GMO Propaganda
Barbara Nimri Aziz
An Alleged Communist and Prostitute in Nepal’s Grade Ten Schoolbooks!
Myles Hoenig
A Ray Moore Win Could be a Hidden Gift to Progressives
Graham Peebles
What Price Humanity? Systemic Injustice, Human Suffering
Kim C. Domenico
To Not Walk Away: the Challenge of Compassion in the Neoliberal World
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Giving Thanks for Our Occupation of America?
Christy Rodgers
The First Thanksgiving
Charles R. Larson
Review: Ta-Nehisi Coates’ “We Were Eight Years in Power”
David Yearsley
On the Road to Rochester, By Bike
November 23, 2017
Kenneth Surin
Discussing Trump Abroad
Jay Moore
The Failure of Reconstruction and Its Consequences
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Trout and Ethnic Cleansing
John W. Whitehead
Don’t Just Give Thanks, Pay It Forward One Act of Kindness at a Time
Chris Zinda
Zinke’s Reorganization of the BLM Will Continue Killing Babies
David Krieger
Progress Toward Nuclear Weapons Abolition
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail