One nation under something

Posted: 22 January 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

We live in one nation under something. But what that something is isn’t always clear.

It is clear, as Kevin M. Kruse explains, for Mitt Romney just as it was for an earlier generation of right-wing Christians.

“When you have a president encouraging the idea of dividing America based on the 99 percent versus 1 percent,” [Romney] said, “you have opened up a whole new wave of approach in this country which is entirely inconsistent with the concept of one nation under God.”

It’s also clear for many of the nation’s universities—but it’s sports not academics.

Ohio State boasts 17 members of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences, three Nobel laureates, eight Pulitzer Prize winners, 35 Guggenheim Fellows and a MacArthur winner. But sports rule.

“It’s not, ‘Oh, yeah, Ohio State, that wonderful physics department.’ It’s football,” said Gordon Aubrecht, an Ohio State physics professor.

Last month, Ohio State hired Urban Meyer to coach football for $4 million a year plus bonuses (playing in the B.C.S. National Championship game nets him an extra $250,000; a graduation rate over 80 percent would be worth $150,000). He has personal use of a private jet.

And what about when the official unemployment rate (8.5 percent) has fallen to what the average unemployment rate for African Americans was going into the Second Great Depression? Now, of course, the latter is much higher.

And then there’s the New York Times story about how U.S. iPhone jobs were exported to China because of the speed and flexibility of plants there, for which Yves Smith reveals a different explanation:

The authors fail to tell you what this means: changing a production design that late in the game is bad management, period. It’s the sort of stunt you see in a craft manufacturing business like the movie industry, not in one that deals with factory production. But the flexible near slave Chinese workers bailed out Apple’s ass.

Finally, we have the story that, while Wall Street stocks, profits, and employee pay took a beating in 2011, the compensation paid to chief executives was nothing short of spectacular. One example:

The chief executive of Citigroup, Vikram S. Pandit, was awarded deferred stock in the bank valued at $3.7 million based on the company’s current price, according to a regulatory filing. This is on top of his annual base salary of $1.75 million, and brings his disclosed pay so far for 2011 to $5.45 million.

Citigroup is expected to disclose the rest of his pay, cash, be it upfront or deferred, in March. In addition, while not necessarily for work performed in 2011, Mr. Pandit last year was awarded a $16.7 million retention bonus, plus stock options that could add $6.5 million to the package’s overall value.

Sure, we live in one nation under something. But I’m still trying to figure out what that is.

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