Did you ever get the feeling you might be the only one who cares about honesty, integrity and ethics? I do. I really believe and always have that there is nothing to replace those characteristics – in business and in my personal life.
As I read the newspapers, watch the TV news, or even scan the headlines online, I see more and more of these values being exchanged for money and power, and occasionally other things. When did the money and power become the driving force in the universe, and why? Is it because with money and power you no longer have to deal honestly, show your integrity, or function ethically?
Our Congress and Senate leaders including those people who are running for offices in this country have to be running for a reason. To get elected, they will spend millions of dollars (many times, millions of their own money), and lay out their life for all to examine for a job that pays $174,000 to $223,500 a year. There has got to be more to it. Even if they possess the moral necessities as I see them, they are overpowered and out-voted by those who don’t. They cannot vote their heart and conscience or push to enact the promises they made on the campaign trail, because they are heavily pressured by the lobbyists and special interest groups externally and other members internally. Many, too many times, they compromise and I believe it is because they have no choice. Any of us, who has never been in any of those positions, can’t speak to the actual “why” of this, but I have seen it happen over and over and over again!
Then there are the corporate leaders in America who have ignored all of these moral attributes for the sake of their bottom line. Don’t get confused here, not the corporate bottom line, I mean their bottom line. They “need” to take home on average 11.4 million in salaries and bonuses (according to the AFL-CIO analysis of 299 companies in the S&P 500 Index), while cutting back on employees and their benefits, and not paying their vendors for goods and services. What I’d like to say to them is? When is enough, enough? You cannot need 11.4 million a year. One persons’ salary of 11.4 million per year could give approximately 225 “regular” people a living wage each year. That 11.4 million could buy a small nation, or pay for a school breakfast program for kids who don’t get enough to eat, because you didn’t allow their parents to have a living wage job. That money needs to flow into our economy, not line your bank account!
Sure I know, people will tell me that the world is different from the world that I grew up in — but does it have to be focused on all the wrong things?
As the decision maker in my small corporation over the last 26 years, I left cutting of anything related to employees and vendors as the last place any cuts would be made. I challenge you to ask any of my current or former employees, or current or past vendors. There was never a time they didn’t come first. They really are the lifeblood of any corporation. I always cut my pay first, and I shared increases in profits by adding benefits like free lunches every Friday (for everyone who worked here), free phone calls to relatives or friends anywhere on Friday and putting free gifts on Friday into all the packages we shipped out. No vendor has ever gone unpaid in all of my 26 years. Those days, sadly, are going away as our economy is not recovering. It needs those dollars that are socked away (by the 1%) to be re-circulated. It needs to happen now.