Steve Jobs in Memphis
I enjoyed John Branston's story about Steve Jobs' stay in Memphis (City Beat, October 13th issue). There is a footnote to that story. My friend, David Brookings, got a job from Jobs at that time. Jobs took a private tour of Sun Studio, and David was assigned to be his tour guide. Not long after that tour, David accepted his employment offer and moved to San Jose. As far as I know, David is still employed at iTunes.
Steve Jobs in Memphis in secret for a liver transplant was a touching story. Jobs was an amazing man and contributed much to our world. He was born an American and lived the American Dream. His vision and drive enabled him to put together others with the same dream. Apple products have changed the world.
What Jobs failed at was his commitment to his fellow Americans. We bought his world-changing products, but tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs went to China. Of course, in his home country there are those troublesome labor and environmental laws. While in China, child labor, forced overtime, low wages, toxic waste, and the health of employees are overlooked.
Apple isn't alone. There are many American companies whose idea of success is manufacturing their products in nations that allow them to pollute and pay less than a living wage. Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Vizio, and Motorola, among others, find higher profits are more important than loyalty to their home country.
A Maximum Wage?
The Supreme Court has given corporations rights that have been historically reserved for people. If we are going to view corporations as people, then corporations should shoulder some of the same responsibilities as people.
To protect shareholder value and to protect employees, Congress should pass legislation that limits the compensation of all corporate officers to no more than the combined salaries of the corporation's 100 lowest-paid employees. A "one-hundred rule" would also limit executives' salaries at publicly traded companies to 100 times minimum wage. The minimum wage produces an annual income of approximately $18,000. Executives would therefore have their salaries capped at $1,800,000 per year.
If executives want to increase their pay, they would have to raise the salaries of their base. This salary cap would help shareholder value and help raise many poor working people to middle class.
Only 100 times minimum wage? I can hear the yowls of protest now. My deeply considered response to their complaints is, "Piggy, piggy, piggy." We should remember that Steve Jobs accepted one dollar a year as a salary at Apple. His wealth was in stock. The one-hundred rule would not inhibit innovation or prevent people of vision and skill from becoming billionaires and will help build a strong middle class.
"Occupy" Playing Cards
Come on, where are the clever entrepreneurs? Those behind the Occupy Wall Street movement should consider the American occupation of Iraq and the printing of playing cards with the Iraqi bad guys on them. How about 52 cards of Wall Street scammers, merchant bankers, and crooked corporate leaders? If cards are too expensive, a softer, more disposable form of paper with an everyday use could be employed.
Yet again, county commissioner Terry Roland, "public servant," is allowed to make hateful remarks in a public forum with impunity (Politics, October 13th issue). His assertion that "girls in Frayser missed the bus" when it comes to abstinence education was hateful and insulting, especially in the context of the family planning hearing. This is not the first ugly comment from this racist misogynist, and it won't be the last. We cannot depend on his fellow commissioners to stand up to him, and he is apparently representing his district as it wants him to.
Wake up, Memphis! This man is at best an embarrassment, at worst the epitome of the backward image of the South prevalent in the U.S.
Karen Jo Smiley