Posts Tagged ‘Pay Ratio’
September 20th, 2013 at 11:45 am
Federal Regulators Make Move to Micromanage Company Pay
Posted by Print

Last week, we highlighted the latest in a long line of Dodd-Frank debacles.  Specifically, a federal court unceremoniously vacated a regulation forcing U.S. energy companies working abroad to disclose sensitive proprietary information to foreign competitors who aren’t subject to the same rule.  As we noted, federal bureaucrats were essentially trying to force domestic companies to surrender their playbooks to overseas rivals in the name of worldwide social engineering.

This week, we’re witnessing yet another Dodd-Frank infamy.

On Wednesday, a sharply divided Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed a controversial regulation that would require companies to tediously calculate compensation ratios between chief executives and employees for public scrutiny.  Keep in mind that public companies are already required to disclose compensation of top executives, so the proposed new rule won’t provide any useful information about a given company’s financial stability.  Rather, it is nothing more than a sop to activists who obsess over distribution of wealth and who seek to pressure businesses and executives.

To what end?  What business is it of the federal government how private companies choose to compensate every single one of their employees?  Why should companies’ time and resources be wastefully diverted to calculating ratios simply to please Washington, D.C. bureaucrats?  How will this help “protect” investors?  The simple answer is that it won’t.  Instead, it’s a provision sought by anti-corporate activists to foment discord and wage class warfare.

Moreover, the proposed rule may drive subject companies to shift even more workers overseas rather than here in the U.S., since foreign employees may be excluded from the burdensome calculations.  The proposed rule will also incentivize companies to remain or become private, rather than public, in order to escape these pointless burdens.  In turn, that would only serve to punish middle-class investors who don’t possess the wealth to participate in private investment.

While the SEC’s proposed pay ratio disclosure rule has yet to be implemented, the issue of executive compensation has also surfaced in the ongoing American Airlines bankruptcy.  This week, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Judge Sean Lane rejected the compensation package American Airlines’ creditors had approved for the airline’s CEO Tom Horton.  Largely due to the work of Horton and his management team, American’s performance in bankruptcy has exceeded all expectations — the company has experienced an almost total turnaround.  Furthermore, Horton’s compensation package is in line with industry standards.  Executives whose airlines fared far worse in bankruptcy than American received their compensation packages with little to no opposition.

An individual’s compensation at a corporation is a matter that should be decided by its leadership, board, and investors.  The government has no business intervening and micromanaging company pay, whether at American Airlines or all of the other U.S. public companies now moving within its sights.