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CEOs have a lot to answer for

I need letter writer Ed Konecnik to explain how the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights are being nullified by trying to put American workers on an equal playing field with CEOs.

I agree with his statement (“People can’t rely on gov’t for everything,” Dec. 20-16) that the top 10 percent of America’s wealthy paying 70 percent of the country’s taxes is wrong. They should pay more, especially since they own more than 80 percent of the country’s wealth.

According to the U.S. Labor Department, CEO pay went up 15 percent last year after a 28 percent rise the year before. CEO pay spiked 725 percent between 1978 and 2011 while worker pay rose just 5.7 percent, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute.

The income inequality between CEOs and workers has exploded. Last year, CEOs earned 209.4 times more than workers, compared to just 26.5 times more in 1978. All this despite workers nearly doubling their productivity during the same time period when compensation barely rose.

Worker productivity increased 93 percent between 1978 and 2011, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Meanwhile, workers saw their inflation-adjusted wages fall in recent years as corporations postponed giving raises while adding to their record corporate profits.

Konecnik continues by asking if anyone with an ounce of integrity can clarify which international law authorizes confiscation of private wealth. That is a question he should ask the CEOs who have kept the American worker from earning a decent living wage while lining their pockets with obscene profits. I cannot speak about international laws, but I can speak about the universal laws of compassion, fairness and human dignity.

The pope knows what I am talking about. The pope, whom Republicans used to hold in high reverence until he condemned them for their greed.

Does Konecnik not recall the economic collapse of 2008? The taxpayer-funded government bailout of companies such as Lehman Brothers and AIG that cost the average American family more than $30,000? Did any of the people directly responsible go to jail? Were any CEOs held accountable? No.

Wall Street profits are at an all-time high yet unions are to blame? Look off into the horizon: It is the next taxpayer-funded bailout for banks.

He ends his letter by saying “no amount of government redistribution can overcome the ultimate poverty of spirit.” I would like to give him a different viewpoint: No amount of personal wealth and self-righteousness can overcome knowing your fellow man is dying of starvation while you light a cigar with a $100 bill.

Robert LaRosa

Whitestone

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