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Posted 4 years ago on June 22, 2014, 12:43 p.m. EST by anonymous ()
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[-] 4 points by LeoYo (5909) 4 years ago

Personally, I'm a bit more strict in that I think the highest paid employee should be paid no more than twice the lowest paid employee who should also be earning a livable wage.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33496) from Coon Rapids, MN 4 years ago

Just think of how much more would be available ( within reach ) to all with such a program.

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 4 years ago

A Daring Bid to Stomp Out CEO Pay Excess

Saturday, 23 November 2013 13:25
By Sam Pizzigati, Too Much | Report


Something astounding is happening in Switzerland. For the first time ever, voters in a modern developed nation are going to be voting on whether to create what essentially amounts to a “maximum wage.”

The vote will come this Sunday, November 24, on a ballot initiative that bans any Swiss corporate executive compensation that runs over 12 times worker pay.

In effect, under this “1:12 Initiative for Fair Pay,” no Swiss company would be able to pay its top executives more in a month than the company’s lowest-paid workers make in a year.

Swiss corporations currently compensate their top execs more generously than any other nation in continental Europe. At pharmaceutical giant Roche, CEO pay runs 236 times the firm’s lowest wage. At Nestle, the divide spreads 188 times.

Gross margins like these four years ago caught the attention of activists in Juso, the youth wing of Switzerland’s Social Democratic Party. The activists sensed growing public outrage at a corporate pay system that has, as former Juso president Cédric Wermuth recently told Too Much, “greedy managers earning millions while other people earn too little for living.”

Juso decided to challenge corporate pay inequality head-on, through Switzerland’s “direct democracy” initiative process. Under current Swiss law, propositions that gain 100,000 signatures can trigger a national referendum.

The “1:12” initiative that Wermuth and his Juso vice-president Mattea Meyer organized would go on to gain broad union support and backing from Switzerland’s top two progressive parties, the Social Democrats and the Greens.

This past spring, the 1:12 effort filed enough signatures for ballot status — and Corporate Switzerland has been feverishly attacking the initiative ever since.

Any move to limit CEO pay to 12 times worker pay, charges SwissHoldings, the federation of Swiss-based multinationals, would constitute “a frontal attack on freedom” — and “prosperity,” too! If the measure passes, the SwissHoldings anti-1:12 manifesto declares, “almost all” of Switzerland’s 57 corporate giants “would be forced to restructure or move parts of their companies abroad.”

One Swiss lawmaker, Zurich’s Ruedi Noser, has ratcheted up the hysterics to an even higher level. A “yes” vote on the 1:12 proposition, he’s claiming, would turn Switzerland into the “North Korea of Europe.”

But Swiss society, 1:12 supporters counter, has functioned quite successfully in the not-so-distant past with quite narrow gaps between executive and worker compensation. In 1984, points out the Swiss Denknetz think tank, CEOs in Switzerland only averaged six times more in pay than average Swiss workers.

Many Swiss today still remember those more equal times, one reason why headlines about 21st century executive paydays — like the $100.5 million Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan grabbed in 2010 — so infuriate the general public.

In 2007, Swiss chief execs nationwide averaged 56 times more than average worker pay. But big companies pay their execs far more, the Swiss trade union federation points out, and these execs desperately want their gravy trains to continue. Nestle, the drugmaker Novartis, and other Swiss companies have been bombarding their employees with letters decrying the dangers 1:12 poses.

Swiss corporate execs unleashed a similar political blitz earlier this year when corporate gadfly Thomas Minder, a successful entrepreneur, led a campaign to give shareholders more say over top executive pay — and ban executive new-hire and “golden parachute” bonuses.

Swiss multinationals bitterly opposed Minder’s proposal. But his initiative passed anyway this past March, with a stunning 67.9 percent of the vote.

Corporate interests don’t have to reveal how many millions they’re pouring into the campaign to kill the 1:12 initiative, and some observers are estimating that initiative opponents may be outspending supporters by as much as 50 times.

Adding to the huge drumbeat against 1:12: official opposition from Switzerland’s Federal Council, the country’s ministerial cabinet. The Swiss media, meanwhile, have been overwhelmingly hostile as well.

“No major Swiss newspaper is supporting the 1:12 initiative,” Juso activist Mattea Meyer tells Too Much, and only about 15 percent of major media coverage, she estimates, has been friendly to the pay cap effort.

Remarkably enough, given this deeply unequal political playing field, the 1:12 initiative has remained competitive in the opinion polls. In October, one survey had the measure in a virtual dead-heat, with 44 percent both pro and con.

Polling released last week does have the “no” side gaining ground, and passage this Sunday, observers feel, remains a longshot. But however the vote goes, activist Cédric Wermuth stresses, egalitarians have made substantial progress.

“We’ve launched,” he notes, “a major debate about wage equality and a just income distribution, a subject regarded as taboo before.”

Advocates for the 1:12 initiative see their effort as part of a broader “strategic counter-project” to reverse top 1 percent-friendly rule changes that have made Switzerland so much less equal over recent decades, and next steps are filling the Swiss referendum pipeline.

Among these next steps: an initiative to create a basic minimum income for everyone in Switzerland — at the equivalent of $2,800 a month — and campaigns to put in place both a stiff inheritance tax and a new tax on foreigners using Switzerland as a tax haven.

Switzerland’s 1:12 activists also see themselves as part of a global effort, and 1:12-like campaigns, they note proudly, have taken root in France and Germany.

“We stay in close contact with them,” says Cédric Wermuth, who currently serves as a member of Switzerland’s federal parliament.

The Swiss 1:12 activists are also staying in close contact with leading global egalitarian thinkers. They’ve hosted talks in Zurich, Basel, and Bern, for instance, from the British epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the impact of inequality on our daily lives.

The 1:12 effort, Wilkinson told Too Much last week, has already made a major contribution — by helping the entire world understand that businesses “do not have to be organized as systems for the undemocratic concentration of wealth and power.”

Interested in helping support the 1:12 initiative? Supporters can make donations through the campaign’s online presence.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33496) from Coon Rapids, MN 4 years ago

Something astounding is happening in Switzerland. For the first time ever, voters in a modern developed nation are going to be voting on whether to create what essentially amounts to a “maximum wage.”

Cool - let us ALL wish them much success in this endeavor. I mean really - just exactly how much does any single person need to have/make?

[-] 3 points by LeoYo (5909) 4 years ago

Upon organizing a National Democratic Congress http://occupywallst.org/forum/omni-organizing-municipal-national-initiatives/ we could do the very same thing here.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33496) from Coon Rapids, MN 4 years ago

One of many things to accomplish.

OSTA one subject at a time legislation - being another.

So much to do - and so little time left to accomplish much that would then extend the clock to accomplish other necessary but less important ( in comparison - less life threatening ) issues.


[-] 2 points by LeoYo (5909) 4 years ago

Only 24 states could do it by initiative and if only they did it, it would be very effective in creating national pressure to be passed in the other states. Even if it only passed in just one state or one municipality, it would be worth it for the lives of those to benefit from it.

[-] 0 points by wickerman (62) 4 years ago

That sums it up. I will check, but I think it is too late here to get anything on the ballot this fall. Any suggestions on getting something written up, I don't speak legalize well enough to work something like that up. I am sure that someone on this site has at least a working knowledge though.

[-] 1 points by BradB (2693) from Washington, DC 4 years ago

your being stupid.... the top are subject to zero rules or laws... regardless of what laws are in place ...the wealthiest will find ways around them... a minimum wage can only help

[-] 1 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 4 years ago

They are subject to the law of gravity. In fact, I'd like to prove this by throwing Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter together off the top floor of the Empire State Building. My theory is that they will both hit the ground at the same time.

[-] 2 points by DKAtoday (33496) from Coon Rapids, MN 4 years ago

If they were falling in a vacuum - so - I would predict Rushing Limpballs hitting just slightly after Coulter due to the higher wind resistance of his bulk.

[-] 0 points by flip (7101) 4 years ago

we could simply go back to the tax rates of eisenhower in 1955 - 91% - let the ceo's make all they want just tax the shit out of them

[-] 0 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 4 years ago

Damn right.

[-] 0 points by turbocharger (1756) 4 years ago

The multinationals can afford to swallow the costs of a $15 minimum wage.

The little people will be absolutely crushed.

We want to crush the multinationals. Legislating them out of existence is not going to happen, as they have enough cash to handle it.

Only through a conscious awakening where we realize our own day to day roles in the machine, voting with our wallets, will we be able to stop them.

[-] 0 points by StillModestCapitalist (343) 4 years ago

So you're suggesting some sort of regulated pay scale rather than just a minimum wage. Good idea. Unfortunately, it would take an act of God.