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6/17/2009
12:46 PM
Bob Evans
Bob Evans
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Socialism Hits Home As BusinessWeek Asks, Should CIO Pay Be Limited?

At the end of a recent article detailing the 2008 compensation packages of the five highest-paid CIOs - with #1 on the list having earned $24.65 million - BusinessWeek asked the rather bizarre question, "Do you think limits should be set for CIO pay?" After reading the article a second time, I think BusinessWeek wants the answer to be yes.

At the end of a recent article detailing the 2008 compensation packages of the five highest-paid CIOs - with #1 on the list having earned $24.65 million - BusinessWeek asked the rather bizarre question, "Do you think limits should be set for CIO pay?" After reading the article a second time, I think BusinessWeek wants the answer to be yes.(In a blog post yesterday about those five top-paid CIOs, I outlined not only their compensation but also an overview of their contributions; you can read that here.)

Immediately after noting that "executive pay is coming under increasing scrutiny" by the Obama administration, BusinessWeek attempts to stir up a little class warfare by saying this:

"There's a wide gap among the paychecks of IT executives. The top 5 CIOs took home a base salary of $500,000 to $821,000 in 2008, according to Equilar. Yet, the mean salary of IT executives at large corporations was just $142,914 in a January 2009 IT salary survey by research and consulting firm Janco Associates."

But nowhere - nowhere - did BusinessWeek make any effort to assess why some CIOs got paid more than other CIOs. No attempt was made to describe what those five top-paid CIOs achieved in 2008, what responsibilities they held, or how their companies performed last year.

The article failed to show even a glimmering of curiosity about trying to explain a condition that has always existed and will continue to exist (or so we must hope) as long as humans engage in free enterprise: some people will earn more money than other people.

The article then quoted the CEO of the IT-compensation consultancy noted in the excerpt above on his views about executive compensation:

"At least one analyst predicts that the government's attempt to regulate executive pay at some companies will spill over into other companies that aren't receiving federal aid. "What is going to happen is that the compensation czar will have a dampening effect on the salaries of all people at the CXO level," says Victor Janulaitis, CEO of Janco Associates."

Okay, no problem - InformationWeek has quoted Janulaitis frequently and he's always been a knowledgeable guy who is certainly entitled to his opinion. But again, why no effort by BusinessWeek to bring performance and achievement into the discussion? What about some mention of the massive risks undertaken and returns produced by Randy Mott and the others in the top five to put themselves in a position to be able to earn those above-average payouts?

Why the unquestioning acceptance of socialist dogma such as government control over the incomes of individuals in the private sector working for companies that haven't borrowed a nickel from the federal government? Why would a media brand with a name such as "BusinessWeek" appear to go along with such a rabidly antibusiness premise?

One final thought: if the question is, "Do you think limits should be set for CIO pay?," then I have a few followup questions: Who, exactly, sets the limits on CIO pay? And under what authority? What metrics will these nannies use to limit CIO pay? Who appoints these limiters of CIO pay? What are the qualifications of the compensation-limiters? Why would BusinessWeek pose such a question with no context other than class-envy comparisons of what some CIOs earned versus what others earned?

"Do you think limits should be set for CIO pay?" While I'd expect to see such socialist piffle in The Village Voice, it was a real stunner to see it BusinessWeek. "Do you think limits should be set for CIO pay?" What rubbish.

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