Do CEOs and Wall Street deserve the money? (video)

Oct 04, 2011

Join Brad Hirschfield as he talks about the ethical and moral issues raised by the week's biggest stories.

Hello and welcome. Today we'll discuss a debate that seems to be growing in the country about the income earned by CEOs and others at the top of the economic heap. Is this fair? Do CEOs deserve such high pay?

 

We'll also discuss the controversy over Rick Perry's hunting ranch and its racially-charged name.

 

And we'll discuss  Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad's comparison of Israel's security fence/wall to the Berlin Wall. 

 

And we'll also discuss other questions and comments you submit. Lets start.

 

"Deserve?" Is that really the operative word? After the enormous bank bailouts, economic recession, mortgage fiasco, and sustained high unemployment, how can anyone think these Wall Street execs "deserve" the huge sums they earn?

Here's what @CXAlexander posted on Twitter, responding to the question "Do CEOs deserve huge paychecks?"

 

"obviously. Wouldn't you like something to work towards [as you] climb the corporate ladder?"

Another reply to the "Do CEOs deserve huge paychecks?" question from Twitter, this from @tweetwashdc:

 

"larger than other employees? yes. millions of dollars? no. half of a corporate ladder climb is politics anyway."

Another from Twitter:

 

@KittyChew says, "If a company is doing well and you are treating your employees well, I don't care. But if you are spending tax money, heck no!"

From @maura4u on Twitter:

 

"My only question is: Just how much is enough for a CEO? [This is a] deep question that really asks WHY. Do CEO's only work for money?"

From @ethomm on Twitter:

 

"Yes. Seriously? Some work so hard & sacrifice so much to not get them."

If the "Occupy Wall Street" protesters are focused on lessening the gap between the rich and the poor, why are they mentioning only Wall Street? Why would they not want to target, say, the elite in Los Angeles?

By what criteria do you judge whether a company performs in the interest of the greater good--what does such a company look like?

Related, another chatter asks, "How do you classify effective? Economical or moral?"

Let's flip the script - how should employees be paid in relation to their CEO's pay? If a company's CEO is paid many millions because he works hard and the company's BOD sees him as successfully running the company, then shouldn't the company's employees also benefit from a successfully run company? How can a CEO's pay steadily increase when the company is NOT doing well, and employees are asked to pay higher health insurance premuims and forgo raises?

Is it possible, by Freudian theory, that if the people who are protesting on Wall Street want to be taken seriously and make a change they will need follow the super ego and clean up their acts? Instead of looking disheveled, should they not clean up their appearance and play by society's rules instead of allowing the Id to run free?

Next topic: Rick Perry's ranch and its name. 

Regarding whether standing by while racism is in your midst makes you a racist or not, why shouldn't Rick Perry be held to a higher standard than others, as every politician seems to be?

What ethics does a newspaper needd to have when it publishes a story like this about a politician? Nothing in the story about Perry's leased hunting camp indicates that he was a racist or even insensitive to racism, but The Post ran it anyway.

Do you believe that Rick Perry would have shown a lack of respect for his father had he spoken up about the ranch's name? Should one go against his or her family in order to stand up for what they think is right?

Next topic: Palestinian Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad's comparison of Israel's security fence/wall to the Berlin Wall. 

How can you compare Israel's security issues with East and West Berlin? Is it about keeping people in or keeping people out?

Last question: Do you truly believe what Fayyad said? There is a war on and thousands of people are dying. Things like that do not get solved in days.

In This Chat
Brad Hirschfield
Brad Hirschfield is the president of Clal - The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. He writes the For God's Sake blog for The Washington Post. A regular on Lou Dobbs Tonight on the Fox Business Network. he appears frequently on NPR, PBS, and CNN, and is routinely listed as one of America?s "most influential rabbis." His most recent book is You Don't Have To Be Wrong For Me To Be Right: Finding Faith Without Fanaticism.
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