In the wake of BP’s calamitous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, CEO Tony Hayward is stepping down, but he will be receiving a severance package amounting to an estimated $18 million.
“That’s what he gets for presiding over a record oil disaster and massive losses,” commented Chris Hayes, Washington editor of The Nation, who was guest hosting MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show on Tuesday.
Hayes went on to note, however, that “Tony Hayward’s $18 million payoff is an absolute pittance compared to the kind of cash top CEO’s are raking in.” He cited a recent Wall Street Journal story which revealed that over the past decade, the two highest-paid CEOs at public companies each took in over a billion dollars in compensation, while others in the top 25 received compensation in the hundreds of millions.
What makes these pay rates really “infuriating,” says Hayes, is that “CEO pay is both a cause and partly a symptom of the staggering increase of inequality in this country.
Hayes cited a study recently released by the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities which shows that if you’re in the bottom 20% of earners, “you’re making only 16% more today than you would have in 1979.” If you’re in the middle fifth, you’re making 25% more. “But the top fifth of earners in this country — they’re making 95% more.”
“And that’s not the really shocking part of this graph!” Hayes exclaimed. “Check this out. This is how much better the top 1% of Americans are doing now. The income of the very richest among us has shot up by 281% since 1979.”
“There’s a social pyramid in this country,” Hayes commented, “and as you climb it, you encounter a smaller and smaller group of people doing better and better, while everyone at the bottom stays where they were. And it’s precisely this kind of systematic inequality that incentivized the corporate fraud of the last decade.”
“A select group of people are able to completely immunize themselves from the fate of the rest of the society,” Hayes concluded. “Our entire social and economic way of life in this country is broken and unfair and inequitable and we need to figure out a way to repair it.”
Noting that the George Bush tax cut for the wealthy is due to expire next January, Hayes suggested, “We could let it. What remains to be seen is whether the Democrats in Congress have the political will to take that step.”
This video is from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast July 27, 2010.
Morning Joe’s Mika rains hell on ‘pathetic’ Trump for White House smear campaign against Dr Fauci
MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Mika Brzezinski went off on an extended diatribe on Donald Trump and the White House for attempts to smear the reputation of Dr. Anthony Fauci based upon a report from NBC News.
According to the NBC report, "The White House is seeking to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's leading infectious disease expert, as President Donald Trump works to marginalize him and his dire warnings about the shortcomings of the U.S. coronavirus response."
Using that as a jumping-off point, the "Morning Joe" host called the president "pathetic," and blamed the massive and resurgent spread of the coronavirus solely on the president's bungling of the government's response from day one.
‘Criminal malpractice’: MSNBC doctor shreds Betsy DeVos for evidence-free plan to reopen schools
A public health expert blasted Education Secretary Betsy DeVos for pushing to send children and teachers back to school as coronavirus cases explode.
President Donald Trump's education secretary repeatedly dodged questions about safety during Sunday morning interviews on CNN and Fox News, and Dr. Vin Gupta told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" that the administration's lack of planning was unconscionable.
‘Donald Trump is the most successful bio-terrorist in human history’: psychologist
The June 6 edition of the German newsweekly Der Spiegel described Donald Trump as a "fire devil" and a president who "sets fire to his country."
This article first appeared in Salon.
The English edition of Der Spiegel continues with this damningly accurate description of America in the Age of Trump: