Tuesday, January 4, 2011

For Every Bill Gates, There Are Thirty-Six of These Executives of UC

Yesterday, Steve Masover commented about the demands of thirty-six highly paid executives of severely under-funded University of California for ever higher retirement pension:

The Whinging 36 are threatening legal action if they don't get their pensions plumped.

These executives claim in their letter and attached position paper (from which the foregoing quote was drawn) that the changes they demand were promised by the University's governing Board of Regents and other executives. This is actually pretty important, and I'm inclined to believe them on that point. I'm not qualified to debate signatory and Whinging 36 leader Christopher J. Edley, the dean of UC Berkeley's law school, on questions to do with the legal obligations in play.

I do note, however, that it was apparently legal for the princes of Wall St. to slurp down bonuses that make UC executive compensation look like couch-cushion change, even after financial firms accepted billions of taxpayer dollars in bailouts for the mess they made of the economy. Never mind that the "recovery" that this bailout effected has yet to return millions of people to work at real-world wages.

So it's not so surprising that some executives at the University of California feel entitled to demand exceptional pensions to wash down their exceptional pay, even though the state's and university's budgets are in crisis, layoffs are rampant, belts are tightening, employee pension plans are requiring greater contributions from staff and faculty, retirement age is being pushed back, new-employee benefits will be offered on lesser terms, and ...
Naturally, it is always the powerful to wield weapons of legality to protect their perks.  When the Wall Street capitalists were bailed out, Obama administration didn't demand them to take less payment or bonuses, due to existing contracts.  Yet, when auto companies were rescued, the existing contracts of the auto workers were modified and the waged workers were make to take less home.

People here don't like to talk about class struggle.  But ignoring it won't make it disappear.  In my blog article Nobility of the Bailliage of Blois, George Soros and Wen Jiabao, I commented that:

When I examined certain terrible political situations, I was often struck by the inability and ineffectual of some enlightened insiders' attempt to improve the situation and the great weight of societal inertia.

The ever-larger income inequality in the US is marching the entire nation towards a precipice.  In the face of a clear and present danger, someone in the upper crest of the society, such as George Soros, Bill Gates and Nancy Pelosi are trying valiantly to stem the redistribution of wealth from the middle- and lower- class to the supremely rich, in order to create a more sustainable social structure.  But the oppositions from deceptive figures like Meg Whitman and Sarah Palin, some ignorant members of Tea Party, and indifferent "independent voters", thwarted their efforts repeatedly and at the brink of decimate such attempts.  If that happens, it would be tragic for the people those enlightened insiders trying to help, and it would be even more tragic for these enlightened insiders if the order of the society collapses and they become personal victims to the situations they had tried to change, either out of selfless compassion or calculated long-term view.  Then the scale their tragedy would mount to Shakespearean.
Try they might, these enlighten members of establishment won't succeed, I'm afraid.  For every Bill Gates, there are thirty-six of these executives of University of California.

Matthew Felix Sun's Drawing_7254

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