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February 13, 2009

Limit the Pay of Fat Cat CEOs! Except the Ones I Do Business With


Suddenly, every time I turn around, someone is trying to figure out a way to keep me from making too much money. That’s actually sort of funny, because I usually do a pretty good job of this all by myself.


But with the economy in the sewer and headed for the wastewater treatment plant, the prevailing wisdom is that unrestrained capitalism has caused all these problems. President Obama has already ordered that companies receiving federal bailout funds cannot pay their executives more than $500,000 a year. Congressman Barney Frank has an even better idea: Let’s impose that compensation limit on the executives of all companies!


We CEOs are the problem with everything. When we used our capital to start a company, there was no chance we would end up in debt, work for years for very little reward or lose everything because we tried to build a building on a piece of land where the EPA found a wetland or a colony of snails.


And there was every guarantee we would be able to flip a switch and watch while portraits of Benjamin Franklin gently fell on our heads. Then all we would have to do was climb into a hot tub with six or seven NFL cheerleaders while our accountants funneled the money into our Swiss bank accounts.


That’s what happens when you start a company. Didn’t you know that? It’s just that easy. I can’t believe so many of you morons haven’t done it yet. Become a CEO. Make $1 million. Don’t pay taxes. (Oh wait. That last part is for Obama cabinet appointees. Never mind.)


Maybe it bothers President Obama that some CEOs make more than $500,000 when he only makes $400,000, and he arguably has a more important job. Then again, if you count the really sweet house (comes furnished from what I hear), all the free food, the chef – isn’t that the sort of thing the government counts as income for the purpose of determining the taxes you owe?


At any rate, let’s consider how limiting the pay of CEOs would help the economy. I’m envisioning it now:


Me: “Hey Larry, it’s D.F. Hey, have you looked at that business proposal I ran by you? If you let us do that for you, it could triple your profits!”


Larry: “Why should I go to the trouble of trying to triple my profits? I’m already making $500,000 a year and the government says I can’t make any more than that. More profits wouldn’t do me any good.”


Me: “Well, you could pay your employees more. Maybe they’d work harder for you, and at least you could collect your $500,000 without having to exert so much effort.”


Larry: “Good thinking. Not. Take your proposal and shove it, D.F. Increasing my profits is no longer useful to me.”


Me: “But Larry, just because you’re making $500,000 a year already doesn’t mean I am. Why don’t you give me the contract so I can join you in the maxed-out club?”


Larry: “Know what I like about you, D.F.? You’re funny. Good bye!”


Uh oh. The government thought it was screwing Larry, but it turns out it was actually screwing me! You don’t think that was the idea all along, do you?


I guess the solution for me will be to pitch my business proposals to poor CEOs, since they’ll be motivated by the increased profits, unlike Larry, who already has enough. And when they don’t pay my bills because – oh yeah, that’s right, they’re poor – well, I’ll just write it off! Because we CEOs do that all the time.


Maybe it’s not too late for me to become a baseball player. They make pretty good money. Unless . . . uh oh!


© 2009 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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