Symbolism Over Substance (and Social Justice Over Both)

8 12 2016

Portland, Oregon

The Oregonian:

Steve Novick’s CEO tax wins close vote, putting Portland on world map

In a move that’s drawn international headlines, Portland will launch a first-of-its-kind tax on public companies that pay their chief executives vastly more than they pay an average worker.

Portland City Council approved the controversial plan 3-1 Wednesday, making a statement about growing income disparity in the United States while giving Commissioner Steve Novick a legacy piece in his final weeks in City Hall.

The tax targets publicly traded companies whose chief executives report salaries at least 100 times higher than the salary of a median worker. Officials expect to raise $2.5 million a year starting in January 2018, with Novick hoping the money will help pay for homeless services.

“This is as close as I’ve ever (come) to a tax on inequality itself,” said Novick, the first incumbent tossed from city council in 24 years after an upset loss to housing activist Chloe Eudaly last month.

Novick said he also hopes the tax might discourage companies — well beyond Portland — from paying disproportionate salaries to their CEOs. He cited French economist Thomas Piketty, who calls escalating pay for top executives a major cause of the consolidation of wealth among the world’s top 1 percent of earners.


Under Novick’s tax plan, a company with a CEO-to-worker ratio of at least 100-to-1 will pay a surcharge equal to 10 percent of the amount it pays for Portland’s business tax. A company with a 250-to-1 ratio or greater would pay a 25 percent surcharge.

I’m really supposed to believe that people who are professional excuseologists for burgeoning income and wealth inequality are going to do anything of substance to reverse it.  All I needed to read was “Piketty,” the crackpot who tells us that mass immigration and open borders reduces inequality, instead of what everyone can see it does, exacerbates it.  Conveniently, the Portland-area world headquarters of Nike, a company that owns a money tree which is rooted in the soil of inequality, (Chinese shoe factory laborer doesn’t pay that well, in case you haven’t heard), is not in Portland itself, but in nearby Beaverton, Oregon.  And won’t be liable for this tax.

They’ll throw one symbolic useless gesture after another at us, and then eventually get back to waging World War T.

Because, that what’s-her-face that just lost the election, can’t remember her name, how soon we forget, put it best:





3 responses

8 12 2016

One other thing. Ridiculous CEO compensation for publicly traded companies shouldn’t exist, and homelessness shouldn’t exist. And they are both possible consequences of the inequality problem. But I don’t see the through line or the direct correlation-causation between the two, to justify the logic of both the collection and the dispensation of these funds.

8 12 2016
Alex the Goon

This will totally work, because companies and CEOs will never be smart enough to get around this tax, by paying him a nominal $50,000 salary while slipping stock options or other goodies into his back pocket (or his wife’s purse). Why, I’ll bet they couldn’t even hire a jew to figure this one out.

9 12 2016
The Gentle Grizzly

It’s simple enough that we aren’t needed to explain how it’s done.

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