Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Employee Compensation

Our pay scales are generally upside down. Why should someone who gets to fly around in a corporate jet or sit in a cushy office make thousands of times as much as someone we ask to clean up the messes in public bathrooms?

Arguments for bloated executive compensation generally rest on the need to make our brilliant business tacticians feel good about themselves. They need to be able to schmooze and compete in the highest social circles. Start paying every one of them $30,000 a year while the custodial staff gets a quarter of a million to start and see if the highest social circles don't change abruptly. Suddenly the prize spot won't be the corner office, it'll be the broom closet.

Maybe our public restrooms will be cleaner. Shorten the shifts, sweeten the pay and watch those fixtures sparkle. Offer bonuses for better performance. We're already paying somebody a lot of money to do something. Maybe we've just been paying the wrong people to do the wrong thing. Re-allocate the budget to fluff up somebody else's account for awhile. Try it for a few years, then shift it again. I bet that will stimulate the economy much more than printing more money and stuffing it into the same holes we've been digging all along.

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