Monday, March 16, 2009

LawPundit Posting on RSS and Atom Feed Formats Cited in MIT Masters Thesis by Anand Rajagopal: A Knowledge Services Roadmap for Online Learning

In his MIT Masters Thesis, A Knowledge Services Roadmap for Online Learning, SM, 2005 (Feb 2005), Anand Rajagopal cites to the LawPundit posting ATOM vs. RSS - Advantages of ATOM - The Monopolists Lose.

The Thesis was certified by John R. Williams and accepted by Dava J. Newman and Andrew Whittle.

We found that to be rather unique and for that reason wanted to put this down for the record.

This is a mirror of a posting at LawPundit.com.

Economic Recovery & Executive Earnings Salaries Bonuses and Compensation: Establishing Sensible Legal Guidlelines for the Distribution of Remuneration

One of the false arguments raised for paying the outrageous A.I.G. (American International Group) bailout executives millions in bonuses is the absurd claim that such payments are necessary to retain top executive talent. How much talent does it take to lose $100 billion over the space of the last five quarterly reports? which is the claim to fame of A.I.G. executive management. The $61.7 billion 4th quarter loss reported by AIG just two weeks ago is the largest in corporate history.

The other equally false argument raised is that bonuses must be paid out because A.I.G. has existing executive contracts - which, frankly, as a condition of receiving U.S. bailout dollars for A.I.G. can be nulled by the government without batting an eye, if they were smart enough and willing to do so, which is apparently not the case. Moreover, nothing prohibits the U.S.A. in this or other cases from legally voiding all exorbitant executive compensation schemes - all across the nation - as unconscionable contracts within the context of the vandalizing of corporate resources.

How much is a man worth? And what is a "conscionable contract" of compensation when measured against the median earnings in the United States?

In September, 2008, LawPundit posted the US Census Bureau Job Earnings Statistics for the year 2007 showing the median annual earnings in the United States for all jobs, occupations and professions, including the legal and health professions, which rank at the top of a very long list, of which we show only the top ones here:
"The median income data for the legal occupations (p. 34 of the report):

Lawyers - $120,400 (males), $93,600 (females)
Judges, magistrates, and other judicial workers - $108,100 (males), $69,500 (females)
Paralegals and legal assistants - $45,700 (males), $42,600 (females)
Miscellaneous legal support workers - $56,000 (males), $40,700 (females)

Health occupations are second to legal professions, with a median income of ca. $100,000 annually, although male physicians and surgeons have higher median earnings of ca. $180,000 annually, followed by male dentists with $150,000 per annum....

Physicians and surgeons - $181,200
Dentists - $150,500
Lawyers - $120,400
Chief executives (CEOs) - $116,800
"
As can be seen from the above, here shortened, list, the average yearly compensation for the CEO of a company in the USA is thus not millions of dollars, but rather something just above $100,000. The argument raised by A.I.G. that company executives at A.I.G. or at any other corporation in America need to be paid many times more than that is rhetoric for the ears of the economically gullible. There are thousands of CEO's in the country fully capable of running any corporation in America, and doing it for a lot less money than many of the currently overpaid executive mercenaries who have failed their jobs in the present economic crisis - these are often people just merely collecting their high pay checks, and having no special talents.

So why does the situation exist in America (and elsewhere) that CEO's at the country's largest corporations are as overpaid as they are? The Wikipedia writes at Executive Compensation:

"Over the past three decades, executive compensation has risen dramatically beyond the rising levels of an average worker's wage....

Forbes magazine counted the [Fortune 500] CEOs compensation to $3.3 billion during 2003 (which makes $6.6 million a piece). Notice that this figure includes gains from stock call options used; the options may have been rewarded many years before the option to buy is used.


In Searching for a Corporate Savior: The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs, Harvard Business School professor Rakesh Khurana documents the problem of excessive CEO compensation, showing that the return on investment from these pay packages is very poor compared to other outlays of corporate resources....

The U.S. stood first in the world in 2005 with a ratio of 39:1 CEO's compensation to pay of manufacturing production workers. Britain second with 31.8:1; Italy third with 25.9:1, New Zealand fourth with 24.9:1."

There is no rational reason for the top person in a company to be permitted by society to earn 40 times more than an average production worker. The reason for this great difference is GREED at the top levels of society, and foolish sanction of that greed by the legal system.

In the United States executive salaries have been spiraling upward since 1970, the beginning of the oil-cartel induced price-push inflation spiral. Indeed, Gabaix and Landler discovered that from 1980 to 2003 market capitalization of companies in the U.S. had increased six-fold and that executive compensation had kept pace with that, as opposed to normal salaries which only kept pace with the actual economic growth of ca. 2.5 % a year.

What that means is that the energy-price controlled and highly inflationary variable market capitalization and executive compensation at large corporations functions as an indirect long-term Ponzi scheme which siphons off the assets of companies and works short-term to the often vast personal wealth advantage of those who sit at the corporate controls. Since actual economic growth is far below increases in market capitalization and executive compensation, that compensation can not - by definition - derive out of any actual economic value created, but rather can - where else - only be financed by the gradual depletion of the real assets of institutions - into executive pockets. The famously failed Enron is a good example for this where "executives were paid in accordance with the estimated value of a deal at the time the deal was done, and consequently faced no incentive to make a profitable deal."

Indeed, just as in the case of the ever-spiraling salaries of college football coaches, once a given level of compensation is reached at any institution, successors often tend to receive equal or more pay, regardless of qualifications or results. Once you are on the CEO payroll of society, you are on easy street, because "the job" has a price tag, regardless of whether that price tag is economically sound or not. CEOs are thus shuffled around like sports head coaches, all the while sucking the economy dry by their presence on the executive gravy train.

Since the money being paid to executives is usually not the money of any particular private person, but belongs to incorporated legal entities, the normal monetary checks and balances which exist in the private sphere simply are not present. The people in charge of the purse strings feel no normal limitations because it is not "their" money that is being paid out. In the course of time, this bankrupts numerous institutions, because vast amounts of wealth gradually move from institutional coffers into the bank accounts of their executives and directors - all perfectly legal, if this transfer is not viewed to be the result of unconscionable contracts.

Greatly at fault for this situation is of course a legal system which permits company leadership to earn unconscionable amounts and allows greed to run rampant in corporate and legal America.

There is in law no reason whatsover not to impose on the economic system the same kind of compensation standards that rule professional sports in imposing salary caps (called wage caps in the UK). The reason for salary caps is outlined at the Wikipedia as follows:
"In professional sports, a salary cap (often called a wage cap in the United Kingdom) is a limit on the amount of money a team can spend on player salaries, either as a per-player limit or a total limit for the team's roster (or both). Several sports leagues have implemented salary caps, both as a method of keeping overall costs down, and to ensure parity between teams so a wealthy team cannot entrench dominance by signing many more top players than other teams....

Players and players' unions generally concede that the overall wealth and stability of a league is just as important as the chance at higher wages for certain star individuals, and support the application of salary caps in principle, as long as they are not set too low.
The same arguments that govern "sports leagues" also govern all other institutions, including "corporations", "states", "countries", and "nations". The overall wealth and stability of any alliance of human beings is always endangered by the greedy few, who must be kept in check by appropriate community safeguards. Protection of the common weal is in fact one of the oft forgotten major reasons for the existence of laws and legal regulations.

Many executive compensation packages are unconscionable on their face because they are a product of "insider" negotiation between executives and company board members who both run most institutions in a symbiotic - personally beneficial - relationship. The long-term health of a company is often secondary. Executive hiring is often neither neutral nor objective.

Executive compensation packages are in our opinion often unconscionable under contract law because an unconscionable contract is defined as one which is one-sided in favor of a person or persons who have superior bargaining power over other interested parties, for example, normal company stockholders. As written at shareholdersfightback.com:

"Directors in large corporations are paid well and are extended many perks by management. The level of emoluments extended to directors are more than adequate to massage and mold votes in favor of what the CEO’s want. Thus, the very notion of Director independence is questionable.

If Directors were truly "independent", many shareholder proposals would be submitted for a vote with a favorable recommendation from the Board but that is just not the case."

Executive compensation contracts drawn up by such non-independent directors often bear no relation whatsoever to the rest of the salaries being paid at a company nor to the actual economic benefit rendered by an executive's service. They are simply a payment system that has gotten totally out of hand over time due to the fact that only a very small body of people at the moneyed top of society decide who is hired and who gets what. Many corporations have become a windfall pot of gold for the people who run them, without any compensating benefit to their employees, stockholders, or customers. In fact, numerous corporations are run to the direct detriment of society as a whole.

This is a mirror of a posting at LawPundit.com.

A.I.G. to get $165 Million of Government Bailout Money for Executive Bonuses Earned While Running the Company and the Economy Into the Ground

The A.I.G. is to get $165 million of U.S. government bailout money for executive bonuses earned while running the company and the economy into the ground. (This adds to our previous posting at LawPundit).

Just how much is $165 million in REAL terms?
WHO is paying their bonuses?
YOU are, stupid.

If every man woman and child in the city and metropolitan area of Providence, Rhode Island (population about 1,650,000) paid $100 each, that would cover the $165 million in bailout executive bonuses at A.I.G.

That's right, we could just put out a hat in any of the following U.S. cities and if everybody in each of these cities contributed somewhere between $75 to $165 to their city hat, any of these cities could be the U.S. city paying the A.I.G. executive bonuses - which the government will pay anyway with your tax monies.

Here is a list of the domiciles of the dummies, whose populations each range from ca. 1,000,000 in Albany to about 2,100,000 in Sacramento:
Sacramento, Portland, Cincinnati, Kansas City, San Antonio, Orlando, Indianapolis, Columbus, Milwaukee, Columbus, Las Vegas, Virginia Beach, Providence, Salt Lake City, Charlotte, Austin, Nashville, Raleigh, New Orleans, Louisville, Memphis, Jacksonville, Grand Rapids, Hartford, Richmond, Oklahoma City, Greensboro, Birmingham, Rochester, Greenville, Fresno, Dayton, Albany.
How much do you think that any citizen in ANY of these cities would put into the hat if they knew the money was going to pay A.I.G. executive bonuses? Would in fact ANY money be collectable?

Even so, ca. $100 per capita is nothing compared to what other cities or groups of Americans would be paying if they had to foot the bill for the A.I.G. bonuses.

If every man woman and child in the city of Tempe Arizona,
(population 165,000+, home of Arizona State University, the largest undergraduate campus in the U.S.A.) paid $1000 each, that would cover it.
(or)
If 33,000 mortgage holders in foreclosure each paid $5000 each, that would cover it.
(or)
If 16,500 mortgage holders on the brink of losing their homes each paid $10,000 each, that would cover it.
(or)
If 8,250 potential car buyers would not buy new automobiles at an average price of $20,000 each but were rather forced to pay the bonuses, that would cover it.
(or)
If 825 potential new home buyers would not buy new homes at an average price of $200,000 each but were rather forced to pay the bonuses, that would cover it.

The lesson to be learned here is a simple one about economic recovery. The example of the A.I.G. bonuses has been repeating itself around the country at banks, investment houses and insurance companies, etc., over the past eight years of the Bush administration as monies which could otherwise be used productively to boost the economy and make America a better place, have been and are going into the private pockets of opportunistic mercenaries who are vandalizing the economic system.

YOU decide. It is your country. What do you want?
There is a good reason that the U.S. economy is in a shambles, and this is one very good example of why that is the case.

This is a mirror of a posting at LawPundit.com.

$165 Million in Bonuses to Go To A.I.G. Executives in Government Bailout : Theft by the Haves of Taxpayer Monies paid by the Have Nots

One of the major reasons for the present world economic disorder is the flawed and economically idiotic policy that the Bush administration followed from its very first days in cutting taxes for the rich and redistributing the nation's money from the middle classes and the poor to the wealthy.

You do NOT create economic recovery by giving money to the people at the top who are all earning much more than they are worth to begin with. That is a fantasy of economists who should be digging for coal in Siberia.

We have posted previously that bailout money should go to the thousands of investors and mortgage holders who have been bilked out of their life savings by the greedy banks and investment and insurance companies, and that no bailout money should go to the people who are responsible for the current economic malaise.

Yet, we read with astonishment in the New York Times that $165 million in bonuses are to be paid to the very same A.I.G. insurance executives whose very dealings are an integral part of the demise of that company, and who, except for the government bailout, would get nothing.

A.I.G. argues that they are contractually obligated to pay the money, whereas it looks to us like the kind of outright fraud and theft for which a good prosecutor should be hired to put a number of these people into the jails where many of them belong.

This is a scam for the ages. You sell let us say $10 million of worthless credit swaps, fleecing your customers of every penny they have, then claim your commission share in millions on that money, and the taxpayer ultimately pays you - not in worthless paper scraps like the credit swaps you sold - but in real money, for which a lot of taxpayers worked very, very hard, only to see their hard and honest work go to pay off the crooks, who have been leading the country into financial ruin.

We simply do not understand how people in the U.S. government, and particularly in the Obama Administration, can possibly account for that kind of a policy. Why, ladies and gentlemen in the government, should anyone else work honestly at all, when dishonesty and theft are so richly rewarded? That to us is the critical question. Why should anyone WORK honestly?

The attention of governments around the world seems to be focused on criminals, terrorists and crooks under the motto that birds of a feather flock together, and they are all in their own way raking off what the honest citizens around the world by their labor are producing.

Something is seriously wrong with our present world system. Perhaps instead of thinking in terms of political groups and religions, we should all start thinking about who is actually paying for the world's political circus and who in the end is being left holding the empty bag.

The answer is clear, YOU are.

When President Bill Clinton left office as the U.S. President, America had a surplus budget, which Bush after his election proceeded to dispense to the haves as so-called "tax refunds". We call what Bush did "national theft". Moreover, these already wealthy elements in society, sensing that their day had come, then proceeded to fleece the country dry in the next eight years, so that when Bush left office, the U.S.A., and the world, were left on the brink of economic calamity. The banks, the investment and insurance companies had been plundered beyond all recognition by those who now sit on top of their personal fortunes.

Giving these people even more money turns the virtues of man upside down and sends a message to all of us that greed and dishonesty are the world's prevailing doctrines and that the average man is basically, a stupid idiot.

This is a mirror from LawPundit.com.

The ISandIS Network

Our Websites and Blogs: 3D Printing and More 99 is not 100 Aabecis AK Photo Blog Ancient Egypt Weblog Ancient Signs (the book) Ancient World Blog AndisKaulins.com Anthropomorphic Design Archaeology Travel Photos (blog) Archaeology Travel Photos (Flickr) Archaeo Pundit Arts Pundit Astrology and Birth Baltic Coachman Bible Pundit Biotechnology Pundit Book Pundit Chronology of the Ancient World Computer Pundit DVD Pundit Easter Island Script Echolat edu.edu Einstein’s Voice Energy Environment and Climate Blog Etruscan Bronze Liver of Piacenza EU Laws EU Legal EU Pundit FaceBook Pundit Gadget Pundit Garden Pundit Golf Pundit Google Pundit Gourmet Pundit Hand Proof HousePundit Human Migrations Idea Pundit Illyrian Language Indus Valley Script Infinity One : The Secret of the First Disk (the game) Jostandis Journal Pundit Kaulins Genealogy Blog Kaulinsium Kiel & Kieler Latvian Blog LawPundit.com Law Pundit Blog LexiLine.com LexiLine Group Lexiline Journal Library Pundit Lingwhizt LinkedIn Literary Pundit Magnifichess Make it Music Maps and Cartography Megalithic World Megaliths Blog) Megaliths.net Minoan Culture Mutatis Mutandis Nanotech Pundit Nostratic Languages Official Pundit Phaistos Disc Pharaonic Hieroglyphs Photo Blog of the World Pinterest Prehistoric Art Pundit Private Wealth Blog PunditMania Quanticalian Quick to Travel Quill Pundit Road Pundit Shelfari SlideShare (akaulins) Sport Pundit Star Pundit Stars Stones and Scholars (blog) Stars Stones and Scholars (book) Stonehenge Pundit The Enchanted Glass Twitter Pundit UbiquitousPundit Vision of Change VoicePundit WatchPundit Wine Pundit Word Pundit xistmz YahooPundit zistmz