In Australia, ‘Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing’

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

In Australia, people still get angry about CEO pay packages that would draw a ho-hum in the United States, and that has John Mullen, the board chair at Aussie telecom giant Telstra, more than somewhat bent out of shape. At Telstra’s annual meeting earlier this month, 62 percent of the company’s shareholders gave an advisory thumbs down to the $4.5 million the Telstra board has okayed for CEO Andy Penn. That brought Mullen to his feet for a “furious” retort. He told the Telstra board’s critics to “get real” about the tough business climate the company is facing. Corporate directors, he went on, don’t “sit around like witches of Macbeth scheming as to how they can manipulate incentive schemes to give improper benefit to already excessive executive salaries.” Mullen’s “staunchly” delivered defense of CEO Penn, who this past June announced a plan to lay off 8,000 workers, left critics distinctly unimpressed. Last year, economist Jason Murphy points out, Aussie CEO pay overall increased six times faster than worker wages.

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Reposted from Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the online weekly on excess and inequality. He is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C. Last year, he played an active role on the team that generated The Nation magazine special issue on extreme inequality. That issue recently won the 2009 Hillman Prize for magazine journalism. Pizzigati’s latest book, Greed and Good: Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality that Limits Our Lives (Apex Press, 2004), won an “outstanding title” of the year ranking from the American Library Association’s Choice book review journal.

Posted In: Union Matters

Union Matters

He Gets the Bucks, We Get All the Deadly Bangs

Sam Pizzigati

Sam Pizzigati Editor, Too Much online magazine

National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre has had better weeks. First came the horrific early August slaughters in California, Texas, and Ohio that left dozens dead, murders that elevated public pressure on the NRA’s hardline against even the mildest of moves against gun violence. Then came revelations that LaPierre — whose labors on behalf of the nonprofit NRA have made him a millionaire many times over — last year planned to have his gun lobby group bankroll a 10,000-square-foot luxury manse near Dallas for his personal use. In response, LaPierre had his flacks charge that the NRA’s former ad agency had done the scheming to buy the mansion. The ad agency called that assertion “patently false” and related that LaPierre had sought the agency’s involvement in the scheme, a request the agency rejected. The mansion scandal, notes the Washington Post, comes as the NRA is already “contending with the fallout from allegations of lavish spending by top executives.”

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Corruption Coordinates

Corruption Coordinates