Who Are Those 1% Who Own America?

By Jim Cook

After all the talk about “the 1%,” who are these people really? Where do they work and how much do they really make?

At the top of the list is Tim Cook, who replaced Steve Jobs at Apple. Cook’s annual compensation for 2011 was $377,000,000+. Yes, that’s 1/3 of a billion dollars for one year’s work! I am both an avid Apple computer owner and an Apple stockholder who has seen my share value skyrocket, but I am appalled. No wonder top Apple executives have always refused to pay out dividends! (Although there might be a token one coming, now that Steve Jobs is dead).  So, surely that 1/3 of a billion dollars is justified because of Apple’s (and Tim Cook’s) success has translated into a huge number of American workers with excellent pay and benefits? Surely?? Oops!

An Apple a Day Keeps Workers Underpaid

Americans are a very small part of the workforce that produces those computers, ipods, ipads, and various other igimmicks. Americans amount to only about 43,000 out of more than 720,000 direct and indirect workers (5.9% to be exact). All of its production facilities were shipped offshore long ago. Apple is currently scrambling to address recent reports about serious health and safety issues and labor abuses at its suppliers. Ah! So they have not only been shorting their stockholders, but screwing the workers!

America’s Highest Paid CEOs

Last year, Apple earned more than $400,000 per worker. I’ll let you guess the infinitesimal fraction of that that the workers retained. (Admittedly, Tim Cook did a bit better than $400,000) How foolish of me to wonder how Cook and the others have been able to pay themselves so much! They’ve just been “taking care of business”.   ABC News on America’s highest-paid CEOs: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/slideshow/10-highest-paid-ceos-photos-afl-cio-16173887 But why pick on Apple? (Other than the fact that it is the richest corporation in the world, in fact richer than a long list of whole countries). There are plenty of other corporations out there who’s executives have also been “taking care of business”. (see the ABC News list)  How sweet it is–as long as you are on the right end of it. Now where did I put my guillotine? Φ

Jim Cook worked for SEIU for 18 years as a union organizer. He and his union have been strong allies of Oregon PeaceWorks on issues such as global trade abuses, sweatshops, the School of the Americas, and the Iraq War. Although he has retired to Mexico, Cook continues to fight for social and economic justice.

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