Let’s examine “job creation” – and a solution

The news about the economy is good (according to Nan Whaley and Matt Joseph and national statistics) with very modest job growth. But the real question is what kind of jobs are we creating?

I have a friend with a terminal degree in his field, working two jobs, one at Wright State, another at UD as a professor. Neither offers health-care benefits for him or his wife. She is working as a barista, a “career: she has held off and on for the last 8 years. They get their health care from another job he has- working 25 hours a week as an office manager for a small professional services firm.

Four jobs, 2 people, just to get health insurance. These aren’t “jobs”- they are rentals of personal services. We don’t need more jobs in this country- we need careers- with job security. We used to have them, right here in Dayton. We had people who built trucks for GM, car parts for Delphi, ran a  pet food business at Iams, created the systems for financial services management at NCR to name a few. You could go to work at any of these places and never have to write a resume or go on a job interview.

Some say those careers are forever gone- that our country has become a free-agent nation. I say horse hockey.

As a small business owner, I can tell you the most valuable assets you have are your people. It doesn’t matter what your business is – selling burgers in fast food is a job that is designed for low skills and high turnover is expected, but the best in the business will tell you that having good, reliable, committed, dedicated workers whom you may have to pay a little more is well worth it compared to having to train someone new every 90 days. Real businesses are best when real people are treated with respect.

Respect is what’s taken a leave of absence in our country. We’ve stopped caring about our workers and become slaves to the corporate line- the bottom one. There is no connection between our leadership and our rank and file. There is no accountability from the top to the bottom. Laying off people, ending careers is something that actually increases the benefits to those at the top. There is no reward for paying people more, unless you are at the top of the food chain.

It’s time, especially when our country has been at war for a decade, to require civic duty to trump the corporate quest for profit.

It’s a sad country where for many, the only option to support a family or to be able to afford college, is to have to volunteer to risk your life in the armed services to protect the people who won’t protect your family’s welfare one iota. While the CEO of Premier Health Partners has no problem making $4 million a year (that’s $77K a week) while running a “non-profit” health-care company, your job in “housekeeping” is something to be bid out to some subcontractor on an annual basis to see if they can save a few bucks.

Yet, Premier Health Partners can’t deliver 3 stitches to an uninsured contract laborer for less than $1,400? A procedure that should cost no more than $250 if done by a doctor in a private office. Instead, Premier claims that they provided “services to the indigent” and write off the exorbitant bill (while pursuing payment from the poor working stiff with the cut hand for years). Yet, the major source of income for these “non-profit” shysters is our tax dollars- through payment from Medicaid and Medicare.

Until we put America back to work, with real careers with real pay and real benefits, it’s time for some shared sacrifice. It’s time to bring accountability back to the spending of our tax dollars.

The United States government is the biggest purchaser of goods and services in this country. We’re horrible at controlling costs, if you need proof, just look to the F35 program for the military- a plane to fight other planes that don’t exist in a type of battle that disappeared with the propeller age. It’s doubled in cost in the last 10 years and it wasn’t cheap to begin with.

So instead of all our fancy Federal Acquisition Guidelines that make every bid proposal to the government look less like a contract and more like a bible, let’s just put a rule in place that we, the American people, won’t do business with any company that pays their top people more than 35x what they pay their average U.S. worker. And if you are a non-profit, the ratio is 20 to 1.

Un-American you say? Limiting the “American dream?” That’s fine. Don’t do business with the citizens of the United States. If the company’s average U.S. worker’s paycheck is $50K a year, the  CEO can make $1.75 million a year. That’s pretty good spending money.

We’d have to stop doing business with the Wall Street banks and do business with the remaining small banks in the country. We’d stop doing business with insurance companies, hospitals, defense contractors. We’d not be able to buy any cars from American car companies, or computers from American computer companies- but, that would only be a for a few days, because none of these companies can afford to survive without our money.

When employment is back to 95% and we’re not fighting wars that cost billions a day, we may relax this policy, but, I’m not sure we’ll find a need to. Because when all is said and done, you can’t spend $77K a week, even if you tried- that is unless you keep having to buy off all the politicians who’ve put us in the mess we’re in. These political campaigns are getting more expensive by the day- and it’s the only tax, the political campaign donation tax, that the richest people running this country aren’t complaining about- yet.

We’ll only see politicians accountable to us, when their price tag falls as fast as our earnings have. I’m David Esrati, and I approve this message.

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5 Responses

  1. bobby February 7, 2012 / 1:38 pm
     John Ise, Ralph Nader fails to mention HOW to save the post office, merely that Democrats should campaign on saving it. The Postal Service has revenue of 65 billion dollars, employs more than half a million workers and lost over five billion dollars last year.
     The Postal Service should be doing quite well, as they are following the  Esrati metric of executive compensation of a non-profit of no more 20 to 1. The Postmaster General makes a salary of $276,840. The Chief Operating Officer’s salary is $235,000.   
       
  2. David Lauri February 10, 2012 / 4:26 pm
    I saw an infographic on payscale.com, “CEO Pay Put into Perspective,” that made me think, David E, of your repeated argument that the government shouldn’t “do business with any company that pays their top people more than 35x what they pay their average U.S. worker. And if you are a non-profit, the ratio is 20 to 1.”
     
    The Fortune 50 company with the highest ratio of CEO to worker pay is UnitedHealth Group, whose CEO makes $101,965,000 while his company’s median worker pay is $58,700, a ratio of 1737:1. Next is Wal-Mart, with a ratio of 717:1 ($16,270,000 for the CEO vs. $22,700 for the average worker). The average CEO/worker pay ratio for the Fortune 50 is 213:1.
     
    Interestingly some big companies have big losses and still pay their CEOs way more than the average employee.  For example, Bank of America has an annual loss in 2010 of $2,238,000,000 but paid its CEO $6,450,000, or 144 times its average employee’s salary of $44,900.
     
    Some of the Fortune 50 actually do have CEO/worker pay ratios of less than 30:1.  There’s General Motors (22:1), Citigroup (17:1), Microsoft (13:1), Dell (13:1) and Berkshire Hathaway (10:1).
  3. David Esrati February 10, 2012 / 7:24 pm

    @David L- thanks for finding that- it was on my list of things to do. BofA is really embarrassing- I lose that kind of money- and I’m in jail.

  4. Gary February 11, 2012 / 6:47 pm
    OH has 1/2 a million folks who need work out of work/jobs.

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