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The Liberal Bias of Excessive Executive Pay, and the Fashionable Flaunting Thereof

Effects of Value Added by Banksters and MOTUs on US Economy, 2007-present (click to embiggen)

I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

Two economics researchers went out and compared actual productivity data with the actual ranks of employees and his/her actual compensation and discovered that executive pay is inflated and pay for low-level workers is depressed.

But . . . but . . . but . . . but everyone knows that CEOs are the best most productive folks in the whole world, adding value to their companies just by walking in the door, while unions and governmental regulations and interfering politicians with their minimum wage laws screw up the clear preferences of the market, and they don’t add anything down there on the production lines or in the customer service windows. Right? Right? I mean, everyone knows that . . .

I know, I know: you’re shocked too.

Yet another example proving legendary economist Stephen Colbert’s observation that reality has a well-known liberal bias.

Which brings us to a delightful piece from Barbara Ehrenreich, who is full of faux-sympathy for the oppressed and demonized rich people among us. A taste:

For a year or two after the financial crash, relative modesty reigned; sales of private jets fell, and the luxury-goods market declined. The rich shunned shopping bags bearing tell-tale brand names such as Hermes or took up “stealth shopping” — buying online or meeting furtively to consume in hotel suites and private showrooms.

But in the past year or so, the richest among us have been embarked on a fresh orgy of spending that would make Nero qualify as a contributor to Real Simple. Women’s Wear Daily finds that the word “luxury” no longer suffices to describe the escalating tastes of the wealthy, so in August the magazine invented a new term — “hyper luxury.”


Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s latest vacation home — 11,062 square feet of oceanfront in La Jolla, Calif. — would be an example of old-fashioned luxury. Meanwhile, “hyper luxury” is represented by the 123-room Los Angeles mansion just purchased by 22-year-old British heiress Petra Ecclestone, which might be able to comfortably house about 50 homeless families while leaving plenty of room for its owner, should she care to remain on the premises. The term probably also applies to the new vogue of high-end children’s playhouses, one of which sells for $248,000. As one leading purveyor of such air-conditioned toys put it, “A special playhouse is not the sort of thing you can put off until the economy gets better.”

I wouldn’t know about such air-conditioned toys myself, but I’ll take the leading purveyor’s word for it. I just hope my kid doesn’t hear about these things, though, as his birthday is approaching. “But Dadddddddd, I really want a special playhouse, and it’s just not the sort of thing to put off.”

As Ehrenreich notes, “flaunting is fashionable again.”

Me, I’m slumming today in my faded jeans with a torn and paint-splattered t-shirt, as it’s painting day in my mansion and I’m really into fashionably flaunting my not-so-hyper non-luxury.

Oh, and one more thing.

Joining with Mike Huckabee and Chris Christie and Mitch Daniels and Sarah Palin, let me be blunt: I am not running and will not run for the GOP presidential nomination. The folks who are dissatisfied with Newt and Bachmann and Cain and Romney and Perry and whoever else *is* trying to get the GOP nomination will just have to look elsewhere. I’m sorry, but I’m firm in my resolve.

Just in case you were wondering.

But if you were set on contributing to my GOP Presidential campaign and are wondering what you could do with that extra money, let me suggest becoming a member of FDL. For just a couple of bucks, you can flaunt your fashionable firedogishness on the way to the market in your FDL t-shirt and carrying your FDL tote bag. Oh, and you’ll really irritate folks like these looking down on folks like these. (Great reporting, Kevin!)


chart h/t to Calculated Risk, home to some of the best economics charts online.

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I'm an ordained Lutheran pastor with a passion for language, progressive politics, and the intersection of people's inner sets of ideals and beliefs (aka "faith" to many) and their political actions. I mostly comment around here, but offer a weekly post or two as well. With the role that conservative Christianity plays in the current Republican politics, I believe that progressives ignore the dynamics of religion, religious language, and religiously-inspired actions at our own peril. I am also incensed at what the TheoCons have done to the public impression of Christianity, and don't want their twisted version of it to go unchallenged in the wider world. I'm a midwesterner, now living in the Kansas City area, but also spent ten years living in the SF Bay area. I'm married to a wonderful microbiologist (she's wonderful all the way around, not just at science) and have a great little Kid, for whom I am the primary caretaker these days. I love the discussions around here, especially the combination of humor and seriousness that lets us take on incredibly tough stuff while keeping it all in perspective and treating one another with respect.

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