Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says women don’t need to ask for a raise. They should just trust “the system.”
Speaking on October 9 at an event in Phoenix to celebrate women in computing, Nadella was asked: What advice do you have for women who feel uncomfortable asking for a raise?
His reply: “It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along.
“Because that’s good karma. It’ll come back because somebody’s going to know that’s the kind of person that I want to trust.”
This from a CEO at whose company women comprise only 29% of its more than 100,000 employees. And where its CEO has a net worth of $45 million.
If it’s true that corporations are people, then they are exceptionally greedy and selfish people.
A December, 2011 report by Public Campaign, highlighting corporate abuses of the tax laws, makes this all too clear.
Public Campaign is a national nonpartisan organization dedicated to reforming campaign finance laws and holding elected officials accountable.
Summarizing its conclusions, the report’s author writes:
“Amidst a growing federal deficit and widespread economic insecurity for most Americans, some of the largest corporations in the country have avoided paying their fair share in taxes while spending millions to lobby Congress and influence elections.”
Its key findings:
- The 30 big corporations analyzed in this report paid more to lobby Congress than they paid in federal income taxes between 2008 and 2010, despite being profitable.
- Despite making combined profits totaling $164 billion in that three-year period, the 30 companies combined received tax rebates totaling nearly $11 billion.
- Altogether, these companies spent nearly half a billion dollars ($476 million) over three years to lobby Congress. That’s about $400,000 each day, including weekends.
- In the three-year period beginning in 2009 through most of 2011, these large firms spent over $22 million altogether on federal campaigns.
- These corporations have also spent lavishly on compensatng their top executives ($706 million altogether in 2010).
Among those corporations whose tax-dodging and influence-buying were analyzed:
- General Electric
- Wells Fargo
- Duke Energy
- Consolidated Edison
- Honeywell International
- Tenet Healthcare
- Wisconsin Energy
The report bluntly cites the growing disparity between the relatively few rich and the vast majority of poor and middle-class citizens:
“Over the past few months, a growing protest movement has shifted the debate about economic inequality in this country.
“The American people wonder why members of Congress suggest cuts to Medicare and Social Security but won’t require millionaires to pay their fair share in taxes.
“They want to know why they are struggling to find jobs and put food on the the table while the country’s largest corporations get tax breaks and sweetheart deals, then use that extra cash to pay bloated bonuses to CEOs or ship jobs overseas.
“….At a time when millions of Americans are still unemployed and millions more make tough choices to get by, these companies are enriching their top executives and spending millions of dollars on Washington lobbyists to stave off higher taxes or regulations.”
Assessing the results of corporate tax-dodging, the report states:
- Using various tax dodging techniques, including stashing profits in overseas tax havens and tax loopholes, 29 out of 30 companies featured in this study succeeded in paying no federal income taxes from 2008 through 2010.
- These 29 companies received tax rebates over those three years, ranging from $4 million for Corning to nearly $5 billion for General Electric and totally nearly $11 billion altogether.
- The only corporation that paid taxes in that three-year period, FedEx, paid a three-year tax rate of 1%, far less than the statutory rate of 35%.
The report bluntly notes the hypocrisy of corporate executives who call themselves “job creators” while enriching themselves by laying off thousands of employees:
“Another area where these corporations have decided to spend lavishly is compensation for their top executives ($706 million altogether in 2010).
“Executives doing particularly well work for General Electric ($76 million in total compensation in 2010), Honeywell International ($54 million), and Wells Fargo ($50 million).
“Executives who have seen the greatest increase work for DuPont (188% increase), Wells Fargo (180% increase) and Verizon (167% increase).
Despite being profitable, some of these corporations have actually laid off workers.
Since 2008, seven of the corporations have reported laying off American workers. The worst offenders–by 2011–are Verizon, which laid off at least 21,308 workers, and Boeing, which fired at least 14,862 employees.
Insisting that “corporations are people” wins applause from the wealthiest 1% and their Right-wing shills. But it does nothing to better the lives of the increasingly squeezed poor and middle-class.
If the nation is to avoid economic and moral bankruptcy, Americans must demand that powerful corporations be held accountable–and punished harshly when they behave irresponsibly.