We’re hoping a family chariot replacement is still down the road a bit, but beautiful wife Sandy and I have been checking out new cars in a preliminary way. We love our aging Pontiac, but it won’t last forever.
I’ve been leaning toward a Ford as a replacement for several reasons: (1) Ford has been producing high-quality vehicles in recent years; (2) Ford has several models that fit most of our needs; (3) Ford deserves a little edge for having good management in troubled times (it didn’t need government loans to survive the Great Recession); and (4) Ford is an American company. Even if some parts and models are produced elsewhere, a good share of the corporate profits comes back to Michigan, and right where cash is most needed within the state.
I quit leaning Ford’s way Saturday. The news from Detroit was that Ford CEO Alan Mulally’s compensation last year totaled a breathtaking $29.5 million. That was up 11 percent from the year before. That amounted to $5 for every vehicle Ford sold.
I believe that people who do exceptional work should be rewarded for it. Mulally has done exceptional work. Ford registered good profits for three consecutive years after he took over. Stock prices soared. It appears that Ford’s strategies under Mulally will carry the corporation forward for some time to come.
BUT, who on this earth is worth nearly $30 million for one year’s work? Mulally is correct in saying much of his pay depends on performance bonuses. He does earn his pay. The problem is that his base pay is outrageously high and the bonuses ridiculously generous. This is the kind of stuff that the “99 percent” is up in arms about. This sort of tremendous gulf between the ultra rich and everyone else is not good for our society.
I have some issues with the “99 percent,” including that they represent a much lower percentage of Americans than their slogan implies. BUT, if a lot of them think Mulally and other corporate execs are grossly overpaid, we are in agreement on that point.
Now I’m leaning toward a Prius. If Mulally is in serious financial straits when we are ready to buy one, I’ll send him $5.