Who are you to decide how much money I make and how I should spend it?

I normally relegate my political posts to my politics blog or the popular Douche of the Day, but this is something I had to share with everybody.

The Occupy Wall Street protests have been going on for about a month now. To me, the protestors symbolize much of my generation who don't want to put in the necessary effort to achieve success. They'd rather take handouts than work hard to succeed.

Today I shared a link on Facebook to the story about Peter Schiff, a CEO who protestors dub as part of the "1%." Schiff visited a protest to have an honest conversation about their demands. (I suggest watching this video before continuing.)

After I shared the link to the post, a friend of mine from college wrote a comment saying what the protests mean to him (emphasis mine):

It's not that he needs to pay more in taxes; he just needs to make less money. More of the money made by whatever company he is CEO for, needs to donate more and put more back into the lesser paid employees. Why does the person who cleans the toilets for a company like his make barely enough, when he himself stacks more money in a year than he or his dependents could even spend? That's all I really disagree with. Corporations are corrupt in the sense that their business practices in such a manner that does not coincide with the CEO's belief in the value of life. Being CEO, he has the power to change that, I will protest with OCCUPY for that change.

I'm sorry, but who are you to decide how much money a CEO is allowed to make? Who says you should decide how profit should be spent?

The leaders of companies spend long days for years to achieve the success they have. They miss time with their families to see their businesses succeed. People are motivated by making money, so if people who start companies aren't incentivized by a big payday for becoming successful, what's the point in even trying at all?

On top of that, many of the protestors are protesting against the bailouts that banks and financial instutions received over the past few years. However, it's surprising to me that none of them seem to realize that the bailouts were institued by the guy they voted in as president, Mr. Barack Obama. Why do they continue to go after the institutions who were the beneficiaries of the bailouts rather than the guy who handed them out in the first place?

To those older than me, I'd just like to apologize for my generation. We are a generation raised under the belief that we should be handed success rather than achieving it on our own. We would rather complain about not being able to find a job than to actually go out and make ourselves marketable. But I maintain that success is achievable; it just has to be pursued.

In college, I took on a handful of internships, then began several entreprenurial projects of my own in addition to having a fulltime job. I want to be successful, but I realize it's not something that is going to be handed to me. If I want to be successful, I have to make it on my own. I wish more people my age understood this concept, rather than making fools of themselves complaining about the unjustness of society.

Success is achievable. People should spend more time pursuing it than asking the successful to share their success with them.


I can see where you're coming from here, people should be allowed to make as much as they can. I think where the corporations and other get really short sighted is that if they over compensate the top and under compensate the bottom, the bottom don't have enough money to buy their products any more and the company prices themselves out of customers.

One small correction, Busy signed the 2008 bill that created TARP and bailed out the bank, not Obama. Easy jump to make since it was in 2008, but it was just before he went into office. Obama did do the car companies, which worked a lot better because it kept a whole industry from going under when we didn't need to lose any more jobs in Detroit or any of the supporting businesses.

Another one that Schiff got wrong, mostly, is that the Bush tax cuts won't make anybody's taxes go up to 50%... The federal government hasn't taxed anybody that high since WWII. Plus, even if it was, he still wouldn't pay that much because of the various write offs, loopholes, etc. that anybody with a decent salary or a house or children get to use. So, kind of misrepresentation, so it's not a shock that these protesters, who aren't economic professors, wouldn't know how to respond to this video.

Cory, long time reader, first time commenter.

This is coming from a "moderate" Republican. Enjoy your posts but I think you've got the nuances wrong. First of all as your first commenter pointed out, a Republican president presided over the Bear Stearns bailout and the TARP bailout. A Republican Treasury Secretary, Hank Paulson, was the point person for these deals as well. Yes, Barack Obama voted for and was a proponent of these bailouts, but so was McCain as well as a host of Republicans. History has already pointed this out so the political bend is incorrect.

I think what I and many other people have a problem with is the exorbitant payouts the CEOs get, whether they are successful or run their companies to the ground. Notice Bartz at Yahoo ($10mil payout), Prince at Citibank ($29mil severance), Stanley O'Neal at Merrill ($160mil payout). All CEOs that ran the company to the ground, yet their respective boards OK'd the money. What I think is the problem is that fellow CEOs are usually on the board so they have an incentive to "help their own" and will greenlight the most favorable severance, irrespective of results. This behavior has got to stop.

Now, I do agree with your commentary that the younger generation has got bad work values and in general are not as motivated or expect certain results. Hence, I disagree with most of the junk coming from the Occupy Wall Street movement. However, the inequity of the super-rich exists and THIS fact has to be fixed.

I agree that (many) kids are lazy today, but do you really think that (most) CEOs who make $20 million in annual compensation got there _just_ by "working hard" and that anybody who works hard enough can eventually be in that group?

Even the "self-made" successful businessmen had more help than just working hard. Someone like Sam Walton, who created _the_ Fortune 1 company after growing up on his family's farm in the great depression, didn't do it just by working hard. He got money from his family (about $500,000 in today's dollar, adjusted for inflation) to start his first store. Not a lot of people I know are going to get a half-million dollar loan from their family no matter how hard they work.

Working hard is only part of the equation, and there's no disagreement that there is a huge and growing gulf between the rich and the middle-class. If you want to argue that the enormous distance between "the 1%" and "the 99%" is just because the 1% worked harder... I think you're turning a blind eye to the reality.

If people like you and I continue to work hard our entire life, we will never be in "the 1%", and we don't need to be to be very successful. Maybe we'll build a business where we can take $500,000 salaries each year. Maybe we'll do double that and pay ourselves $80,000 every month. Not much you can't do with an $80,000 check every month (even if you pay 40% in taxes). But even if we're both taking $1,000,000 salaries, we won't be in the 1%.

Maybe on top of our million-dollar salaries, we'll also treat ourselves with company bonuses and buy ourselves each a new Tesla every six months (no reason to drive an old car, and this way we don't ever need to put license plates on our car...). Even with all our hard work and our hugely successful business and our million dollar salaries plus our pair of $100k car-bonuses every year. Even with all of that, we still won't be in the 1%.

That is what I see is the problem with the distribution of wealth. No, I don't think that we should be capping CEO salaries or some other nonsense. But I _do_ think that they should be paying the same fraction of their income in taxes compared to the software developer who makes $100,000/year. Those CEOs are getting paid huge salaries (hopefully) because their company is making tons of money, and the company is making tons of money not just because the CEO is a great visionary leader, but because the people who work at that company are making the company profitable. And because other people who don't work at that company are buying scotch tape, or cars, or software, or whatever that company makes. No company is successful in a vacuum - they need workers and consumers and roads and law enforcement - and so I firmly believe that the company and people who are benefiting hugely from the company are responsible for paying it forward so that some in next generation can maybe, just maybe, have the same opportunity to build a successful company that yesterday's founders had.

This just shows the impact of the mainstream media. They aren't protesting others success (although there are quite a few morons in there who are protesting *not* being handed jobs).

What's being protested is the fact that income disparity is at the highest rate that it's ever been. During a period where there was massive budget cuts to education followed by teacher layoffs, in that same time 13 of the top hedge fund managers alone were allowed an *additional* amount of taxes benefits that exceeded the salaries of 300,00 teachers.

When large businesses claimed that tax breaks allowed higher employee wages, yet once given, the largest beneficiaries actually had layoffs and INCREASED executive bonuses that had to performance that reflected this proportionately.

And, and, and. I can go all day. The offender isn't "success" (even though success and income are two different things). The issue is a culmination of a million highly unethical and even illegal events.

You can make $400,000 a year and still be a valuable protester.

^had *no performance that reflected.

Etc. spelling errors.

Answer this quick question......

Who's absence would cause the company to fold the quickest?
a) the CEO
b) the toilet cleaner

My answer, b)

I'd suggest that the company would go along just fine for much longer without the CEO, but heaven help a company where the toilets are not cleaned. I've never understood why people with the crappiest jobs that nobody else wants to do are the lowest paid. Seems totally unfair to me but then again fairness is not the way of capitalism is it? Maybe I'm just red.

Everyone focus on corporations and CEOs. Look at sports. CJ Wilson just got >20M per year for baseball. That is absurd but it capitalism. However, America is pricing ourselves out of work. Thats why hollywood lots billions of work to Vancouver, work goes to India, We over pay and overtax which inflates the price making it easier/cheaper to go elsewhere.

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