I've been sharing some of the more egregious things I've seen from inside the corporate world to try and present a sort of counterpoint to all the bitching we've seen about the role of government as of late. There seem to be a large block of people who still believe that government is inherently evil, while private enterprise is all noble competition, candy canes and lollipops.
Besides the salary limits and bonus thing I've already talked about, the company I work for has also done the following in the last few years---
- Eliminated carryover vacation time for employees and instituted a "use it or lose it" policy. (I refuse to honor this btw. If my employees made good faith efforts to use their time I comp it into the next year.)
- Changed health care providers plans every year and health care providers twice. Each time our rates and deductibles have gone up.
- During the most recent change they picked a provider that implemented the social engineering with deductibles plan. We're responsible for a much higher percentage of our deductible for diagnostics. The excuse is that they're trying to keep people from getting "frivolous" MRIs and X-rays by making it more expensive. I am seriously considering taking my kids out of sports because of this. We can't afford an injury.
- Eliminated a 70-year old company tradition by which the company essentially shuts down, employees are recognized at a party and, most importantly, frontline employees were allowed to ask direct questions of the top management of the company. Funny how this went away just as they started squeezing employees.
For those of you that might be wondering why I continue to work for an institution that would take all those actions the answer is that I have friends at competing companies and the horror stories they tell about cuts to benefits, etc. make the complaints I've listed sound benign by comparison. These issues are widespread and systematic.
Some of the things I hear about how government should stay out of the way and let the market just correct itself leave me seriously flabbergasted. I can't help but wonder if these corporate fanboys have spent even a single day in a corporate environment. The idea that corporations are anything less than amoral institutions dedicated almost entirely to providing value to their shareholders is pretty ridiculous.
I wonder if we could ever get back to the days of Henry Ford when the prevailing corporate philosophy was to take care of their employees with the recognition that they themselves were consumers. I consider conservative's arguments about corporate tax cuts and how they would lead to higher wages and job creation and think they might as well be speaking Farsi for all the sense those arguments make. They simply have no relation to reality.