Corporate Governance

Most of both houses of Congress, and possibly a majority of high-level politicians these days (especially G.W. Bush and Co.), all seem to operate American affairs the way executives operate global businesses. Which isn't surprising, since so many politicians come from business and law backgrounds, scores having worked as CEOs or for corporate lobbyists and the like. The problem, though, is that modern business has become extremely top-heavy, eagerly rewarding everyone of the executive class regardless of how much work they're doing on a daily basis or how much they're truly contributing to the company overall. And thus that same attitude has crept into government thinking.

Yes, good management can do great things for a company, as can a CEO with vision and passion. But real day-to-day operations are successful based on good middle -management and the quality of the staff beneath them. While executive-level management spends 90% of their time taking meetings where ideas are discussed but nothing is accomplished, and then they all give themselves raises.

Sound familiar? Think it’s just an urban myth? Well, that's the U.S. government for you. And it's Halliburton, GM, and every other corporate business and big-city bureaucracy in the country.

Case in point:

When Delphi Corp. started considering bankruptcy as part of it's efforts to slash auto-worker pay in half and remove benefits from retired employees, they immediately commenced a flurry of meetings, in which the executives decided that, well, all of the executives in the company weren't getting paid enough. Also, if any executives were fired, it was reasonable to assume that they should be healthily compensated with at least six months of pay and a partial bonus. So for the sake of staying competitive in the market place, maintaining quality, and retaining the best workforce possible, the day-to-day laborers and bottom-level management types would have their salaries drastically reduced, while the executives would have theirs raised. What kind of logic is that?

Of course, many people cried foul and Delphi Corp. had to backpedal some. But the fact remains that even after all of the corporate greed and corruption uncovered in the aftermath of the entire 1980s and then, more recently, Enron and its spiritual brethren, companies such as Delphi Corp. will still happily, publicly, boldly, blatantly try to pull off schemes such this where the money of the masses is transferred to the pockets of few.

’Tis not surprising then, that Congress continues to give itself raises and increased health and retirement benefits while also turning down opportunities to bring better health, retirement, and education benefits to the general public. Will a senator or representative a give themselves a raise? Sure. And more power too ’em. But will they raise the minium wage by a buck? Nahhhhhhh....


Word of the day: Manichaeism, a philosophy that centers around the concept of dualism (good vs. evil, light vs. dark, yin vs. yang). The ancient religious form of Manichaeism combines Zoroastrian, Christian, and Gnostic beliefs and elements with Babylonian folklore and Buddhist ethics. Also see: Manichaean. Wild stuff.

Comic creator of the hour: Chester Brown, writer-artist of "The Playboy," "I Never Liked You," "Ed the Happy Clown," "Underwater," "Louis Riel: A Comic-Strip Biography," etc.

Site of the minute: Dogsbody, TCJ reviews of art/indie comics, including archived reviews by good ol' NYC-Florida writer Daniel Holloway.

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