A new Democratic disclosure proposal

Posted by Marc Hodak on March 24, 2010 under Collectivist instinct, Invisible trade-offs, Politics, Stupid laws |

The Senate Banking Committee is now taking up the Dodd bill to re-make the financial services sector more into the image of how the government thinks it should be run, e.g., more beholden to Congressmen.  Senator Menendez (D-NJ) offered an amendment to include disclosure of pay disparity, i.e., the ratio of CEO pay to the pay of the average (non-CEO) employee in the company.  It’s clear that this amendment is meant to inflame passions about CEO pay, and nothing more.  It won’t change what CEOs are paid because the premise behind this amendment, like so much else about pay regulation–that CEOs are paid arbitrarily high amounts–is wrong.  CEOs are, on average, paid what the market says they’re worth, a law of supply and demand that Congress cannot rewrite or amend, only distort.

One of the many possible distortions that come to mind would be an increasing trend to outsource low-skilled (and, therefore, low-paid) help, either to temp or admin agencies, or overseas.  That would help reduce that ratio.  It would also help to bring in-house the employment lawyer who will have to make the silly legal distinctions between who is an “employee” for the purposes of this bill.   Would a part-time worker be included?  Interns?  A lawyer skilled at such useless arcana would presumably bump up the average.

Hey, Senator, if you’re looking for useless ratios, why not mandate disclosure of the highest price product sold by a company versus its average priced product?  Or something slightly more productive like the ratio of the highest tax versus the average tax jurisdiction they operate in?

HT:  Broc Romanek

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