Friday, April 07, 2006

Sharing the Burden

Question: What do you have when only one rider is pedaling on a tandem bike?
Answer: It depends on your point of view. One person has a burden; the other a free ride.

What brought this on? I read about a website that tracks executive pensions (http://www.paywatch.org). Many of the same companies that are slashing workers and eliminating defined-benefit pensions under the notion that they must to stay in business or that workers "should" provide for themselves fund "top-hat" pensions for their executives that guarantee annual pension income in the millions of dollars.

This is neither fair nor just. It is, in fact, reprehensible. Put those ideas aside, though, and the shared burden argument remains. How can one justify these exorbitant amounts for a small group while destroying the lives of those who rely on that money to live? Since the "top-hat" pensions are often not tied to performance it can't be that these people are needed for the company to survive. They get the money no matter what.

The simple answer? They're taking it because they can. Is that a moral stance? Is it an ethical one?

If you need to think about your answers, you're probably part of the problem.

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