On Tuesday, the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reminded us that it takes the country’s 100 highest-paid corporate CEOs less than an hour to make $58,800 – the average Canadian worker’s pay for an entire year.
This morning, for those of us brave enough to look at the execrable National Post on our tablets and smartphones, we got to see what the one of the Big Brains of the Canadian Conservative movement thinks Canadians ought to be worrying about, deep thoughts that are certainly quite in tune with the concerns of the corporate big-bucks boys. (And, as the CCPA pointed out, they are almost all boys.)
As a thought experiment, let’s juxtapose these two stories.
In the CCPA study, called Breakfast of Champions: CEO pay in 2021, the progressive think tank’s senior economist shows that with an average pay packet of $14.3 million in 2021, the Top 100 CEOs now make 243 times more than the average Canadian worker does in a year.
“If you measure this massive pay disparity in time, less than an hour after the first working day of the year begins, Canada’s highest-paid CEOs will have already made $58,800,” David Macdonald said. “That’s by 9:43 a.m. on Jan. 3, 2023, to be precise.”
And inflation, which is killing Canadian working families, is driving corporate pay packages and the corporate profits that are used to justify them, Mr. Macdonald noted.
Meanwhile, over at the Post, former federal finance minister Joe Oliver had his eye on the ball that really matters to the Conservative Party of Canada, notwithstanding its not-very-persuasive insistence it’s the party of the working person.
To wit: a sprawling woke “multifaceted project” bent on taking away your kitty cats and lowering everyone’s standard of living!
OK, Mr. Oliver admitted this morning in the Financial Post, as the National Post pretentiously brands its business section, it’s not “a vast left-wing conspiracy,” quite, but it might as well be.
“Proponents include Liberals, progressives, socialists, hard leftists and crypto-marxists who support climate alarmism, globalism, big government, stakeholder capitalism, critical race theory and wokeism,” he warned, edging closer to full-Q mode. “The transformation they seek is already well under way.”
Meanwhile, back at the CCPA, Mr. Macdonald describes something that’s actually happening, and that really is getting progressively worse.
“We think of inflation as bad for everyone, but for CEOs it’s the gift that keeps on giving,” he said. “Historically high profits based on historically high inflation mean historically high bonuses for CEOs.”
Moreover, he noted, “when times are bad, like during the pandemic, CEO bonus formulas are altered to protect them; in good times, like 2021, the champagne never runs dry.”
“In the context of rapid price inflation, we’re in one of two situations,” Mr. Macdonald’s report explains. “Companies are passing along higher prices to consumers, which would lead to questions about why CEOs enjoyed huge bonuses, or companies are using pricing power to drive inflation and CEO bonuses are a direct result of the inflation they create.”
In other words, out-of-control corporate pay has outcomes that directly hurt Canadians who are struggling with inflation.
Getting back to the Post, Mr. Oliver has worries that Canada’s corporate sector presumably shares as well.
“Quasi-religious virtue-signalling dictates we reduce farmland, ban coal even in countries without affordable alternatives, rely predominantly on wind and solar in spite of their intermittency, stop eating meat, get rid of our pets, not fly (unless to international meetings on climate or social justice) and abstain from expressing ‘unacceptable’ opinions,” he rambled. “Yet our betters luxuriate in their own private jets, multiple homes and lavish consumables, all seemingly without a scintilla of embarrassment about their massive personal carbon footprint.”
Note that “our betters” in this phrase are not principally the Canadian corporate elites profiting from the current state of the world. You know, the ones who actually have corporate jets in which to fly hither and yon as they please.
Even worse, Mr. Oliver warned, there are obviously turncoats in the camp of the capitalists. You got it, the notorious WEF! (The World Economic Forum, that is, the Geneva-based business talking shop that has become the nexus of numerous conspiracy theories among the Q-adjacent.)
“Sustainable finance and stakeholder capitalism are two tools WEF activists want to use to transform society,” he grimly warned. “Under them, companies and investors embrace environmental, social and governance goals in addition to pursuing financial returns.”
My God! What next? (Mr. Oliver understands: “That will inevitably undermine the free enterprise system.” Which, when you think about it, is an interesting observation about capitalism.)
Over at the CCPA, Mr. Macdonald suggests some remedies to the problem of corporate pay.
His report calls for limiting corporate deductibility of compensation over $1 million, closing the capital gains inclusion rate loophole that is used almost entirely by the rich, implementing higher top marginal tax brackets, and – quelle horreur! – introducing a wealth tax.
Talk about crypto-marxism!
Next thing you know the CCPA is going to be coming after Kitty just because she enjoys dining on a songbird now and again!