It’s not CEO pay that’s really at issue

I see that the CEO of Goodwill Industries is being jacked up for taking a $730,000 annual salary while paying disabled workers “pennies”.  The actual complaint is that Goodwill is legally taking advantage of an 80-year-old law that allows them to pay the disabled significantly sub-minimum wages.

Note carefully the word “legally”.

As Judge Learned Hand memorably said regarding taxes,

Over and over again courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging one’s affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everybody does so, rich or poor; and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands: taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant.

The same is true of wages.  Even minimum wages are a form of immoral overreach by governments, because the fact is that some jobs simply aren’t worth the minimum wage.  (Flipping burgers and asking if you want fries with that being particular examples of the concept.)  And the further fact is that the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (29 U.S.C. § 203) explicitly allows entities such as Goodwill to pay sub-minimum wages to disabled workers.*  So if you want Goodwill to pay the disabled more than “pennies”, stop bitching about the CEO’s well-deserved pay and work to get the law changed.  (And good luck with that — you’ll need it.)

That said, I do not understand the left’s penchant for chewing out CEOs of multinational corporations about their level of compensation. With the money also comes significant responsibility, and the bigger the company, the more responsibility. Plus, such CEOs probably work longer hours than most of their employees, because CEOs simply cannot be effective if they insist on being nine-to-fivers.  Most progressives probably never worked more than 40 hours a week in their lives, and probably never worked as more than middle management (let along as a CEO or small business owner), so they don’t understand this.

In the current contretemps over Goodwill’s CEO compensation, whether or not “he” pays disabled employees “pennies” (decisions about individual compensation at that level are more than likely made well below his level; he probably sees the summaries of the summaries of the budget summaries and has no idea what the average employee takes home) is not the point.

What I believe I really see in these “CEOs make too much money” complaints is envy and jealousy. If you can show me real evidence of wrongdoing, I’ll be happy to say the guy should be canned. But be warned, the guy who replaces him will want the same kind of compensation package. Probably more, because he’ll be fully aware of how his predecessor was hounded out.

FWIW, used to see the same kind of complaints about the United Way, Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc. ad nauseum. No corporation, profit or non-profit, is immune to the REEEEEEE brigade of the woke left.

(Also FWIW, I do not give any money to the United Way — and have not done for over 25 years — because I think they ARE a waste of money. I prefer to give money directly to United Way partners because that way I know where the money is going. Blindly giving money to the United Way — even if you designate a partner or partners for your donation as many do with payroll deduction — just means the money gets filtered through another layer of bureaucracy before it gets to the people it’s meant to help.)


* Let’s also remember that in this day and age, people who are disabled to the point of being qualified to do the sort of work Goodwill (and other such organizations that employ the disabled) hire them to do are by and large the recipients of monthly disability checks from the U.S. Government, paid for by the generous (?) wallet-Hoovering suffered by the rest of us on an annual basis.  While a disability check isn’t anything to write home about, it’s still money being paid out for no other reason than the person being paid is (allegedly) unable to work at a regular job.  Thus one could view what Goodwill pays the disabled as supplementary income as opposed to “gee this person only makes 58 cents an hour, holy shit, that’s immoral, reeeeeeeeeeee!”

The other point that should be made is that typically the point of Goodwill providing these jobs in the first place is to give people a) something to do and b) a sense of purpose, when they would otherwise be sitting around doing little or nothing.  If that means you can buy a little something for yourself at the end of the pay period that you otherwise would not be able to afford, that’s icing on the cake.  Nobody likes to sit around and mope simply because they don’t have the skills or abilities to do what the rest of us would consider an everyday job.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>