Friday, April 21, 2006

A Study of Contrasts

If you had to choose to do business with one of these companies, would you choose the company whose CEO earns $81,840 a year - the same amount he's earned for the last several years - or would you choose to give your money to the company who pays it's CEO over $190,000 A DAY??? A company that gave that same CEO a retirement package worth over $400 MILLION dollars???

You've got the information... you make the decision.

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Posted by FleshPresser at 12:22 PM /


  • Blogger Kitten posted at 1:10 PM  
    Cute pic...did you draw that?

    As far as the question, it is easy to say one over the other but you have to look at the types of businesses they are. Amazon is a site for what we want. Gasoline is a necessary evil.

    Now, we can choose who NOT to buy our go-go juice from or if we use our vehicles at all. But in the big boy oil biz club they are all pretty much playin' the "make me money no matter what it does to the little guy" game.

    How do we figure out who is the best of the worst of the oil companies?

    I don't know if I make a difference or not when I use a local, family owned station right down the street to fill up my tank.

    I guess I just fell that if I have to buy gas, why not support the little guy just tryin' to survive?

  • Blogger Francis W. Porretto posted at 5:03 PM  
    I would do business with the company that made the product better suited to my needs. The compensation it offers its CEO would be irrelevant.

  • Blogger The Professor posted at 11:47 PM  
    Okay--so you actually think that Bezos is living off only 82K a year? Did you not read "who is worth $4.3 billion" in the article?

    Or perhaps you missed the other line: "The CEO 'has never received annual cash compensation in excess of his current amount or any stock-based compensation from the company,' the filing said."

    Or perhaps this line was too far down to read: "Bezos ranked No. 147 on Forbes' most recent list of the world's billionaires"

    Yup... you might THINK that he is like the rest of us. He "only" earns 82K.

    Well, in the fall of 2004, he sold off $28.5 million in stocks. Would you need a pay raise if you had sold that much stock? (AND still owned 24% of the company?) (check it out!

    Of course, your point is not lost. I realize you are trying to make it sound like the nice guy is tooling along, not earning any more than "the rest of us" while this evil Oil Dude is rolling around in the cash he earns because he led his company to record profits.

    Two things: 1. "evil Oil Dude" didn't have the shares in the company that essentially makes Bezos a millionaire, and 2. Bezos' net worth is a result of HIS being able to make gobs of money off the poor unsuspecting masses as well.

    Perhaps the biggest difference is that Bezos now allows us to buy books without having to buy our own gasoline.

  • Blogger FleshPresser posted at 11:37 AM  
    Prof - thanks, as always, for your comments. And although I appreciate your points, I wish they weren't quite as condescending or smug - obviously the Professor believes me to be one of his "students."

    So, I'll quickly point out that it is NOT lost on me that Bezos derives a majority of his income from his stock - and that he, in fact, ties himself to the success of his business, or lack thereof. There was a time, not too long ago, where Jeff Bezos owned all that stock, and it wasn't worth the paper on which it was printed.

    So, if I characterize that Bezos is the "nice guy" you're not entirely wrong - I'm not opposed to people in this country making a profit off of hard work.

    And when you read my characterization of "the Evil Oil Dude," you're not entirely wrong there, either. Raymond leads his company to profit on the back of the entire American economy, and its manipulation, and without regard to its well-being.

    Last time I checked, people who buy books, records, and other assorted items off Amazon have a choice of hundreds of places where they can buy the same goods - and Bezos attempts to offer them at a lower price - hardly making "gobs of money off poor unsuspecting masses."

    And if you want to throw some stats around, let's look at these, shall we, Professor? shows an average price for gas at around $1.45 a gallon in June of 2003. That same gallon now averages over $2.90 - has Bezos inflated his prices in the same manner over that course of time?

    Has Bezos asked for tax breaks and money from the government in the hundreds of millions of dollars, while posting record-breaking profits and a steady increase in stock price? Check out Exxon's stock price, it's quarterly reports, and the last Transportation Bill that was passed, and tell me exactly why your tax dollars are subsidising the company again?

    Maybe it would be of interest to you to note that Exxon contributed well over $25 million dollars to Republicans in 2000, compared to a little over $5 million to Democrats during the same time? Hmmm... what do you think that extra cash bought them? The same thing happened in 2002, coincidentally - $20 million to Republicans versus $5 to Democrats. 2004 saw an increase to over $20 million for Republicans versus the same $5 to Democrats. Thus far in 2006, they have contributed five times more to Republican coffers than they have to Democrats.

    But you're right. Raymond is a great guy... if you have stock in Exxon. But if you're like the rest of America, he represents a corporate greed the likes of which we haven't seen in this country in decades.

    So sue me for characterizing him as just that.

    Bezos built a better way to purchase goods and revolutionized the way we "comparison shop" - and eventually was able to make money doing it.

    So sue me for congratulating him as being the better man.

  • Blogger The Professor posted at 9:02 AM  
    Hey, I appreciate your comments as well. Perhaps smug is one way to characterize my comments, but consider for a moment that surety in one's beliefs leads one to sound that way--and you too sound quite sure of your beliefs.

    As for suing you--I don't see a need. The point of my comment was simply to point out that, in the effort to make your argument, you created a strawman. You set up the dichotomy of 82K income versus millions. My point was simple--to say it's not that clear.

    In fact, after further reading, I came across two interesting facts.

    The first is that the Exxon numbers included the stock options and valuations. If you include that number for both, then Bezos wins--hands down! He is a billionaire, the other? Just a multimillionaire.

    The second is that, if we choose to measure nice in this way, Steve Jobs used to be the nicest guy around. Until recently, his salary was only a dollar. Of course, this led me to speculate about his tax returns. Imagine finding that Jobs was gettng the Earned Income Tax Credit, since after being fully employed, he only had earned income of 1 dollar. (yeah, that was intended as humor.)

    As for "tax breaks" for Bezos... He is one of the many fighting to keep at bay "internet taxes" and other internet related issues. Yes--I agree with them, because they enable me to surf and comment more affordably, but still--these policies are in his "self interest."


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