Readers Write (April 8): Immigration, executive pay, Ebert, National Anthem

  • Updated: April 8, 2013 - 7:21 AM

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This isn’t the best kind of immigration reform

No doubt our immigration laws need revision. I would welcome changes that enable those who wish to contribute to our society, learn our language and adopt our customs to legally enter and reside in our state and country.

But I’m baffled by editorial logic that somehow assumes those who willfully break immigration laws will rush to comply with traffic laws that require a license, training and insurance (“Allow all immigrants to drive legally, safely,” April 5). Seriously? You really think this is a solution?

David Brentz, Arden Hills

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Largest shareholders call the shots on change

Recent letters concerning the CEO Pay Watch column indicate great reader interest in expanded reporting on executive larceny. Despite weariness/anger/disgust with the numbers reported, I join their call for more substance and fewer news releases.

One letter suggested that shareholders could, with knowledge from real reporting of the issues raised by the numbers in Pay Watch, “demand change.” I am sorry, my friend, but there are shareholders and then there are shareholders. Annual report season is coming, and to determine which shareholders are which, look at your proxy materials.

First look at the board of director nominees. Half will be investment bankers; another quarter will be large-scale venture capitalists, and the remainder will be CEOs (yes, there will be a token “other,” perhaps a professor or media personality). There will likely also be a “shareholder initiative” recommending limits on executive pay. The proxy materials will recommend a vote for the board nominees and against the pay limits.

And the results? No need for a Gallup poll. The board will be approved and the pay-limiting initiative defeated. Overwhelmingly. Why? Because the combined votes of huge institutional investors and old-money plutocrats dwarf those of the remaining shareholders. And because those supermajority shareholders are of the same class as the CEO and his (pronoun intended) inner circle, any demand for change will inevitably fall on deaf ears.

David Hodgson, St. Paul

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The fetish that some letter writers have with the income of others is a never-ending source of amazement to me. They always seem to imply that high earners are dastardly and that it is unfair that they make the money that they do. CEOs of large corporations and owners of successful small businesses are all, without exception, very intelligent, work extremely hard, have sacrificed a great deal to educate themselves and devote their lives to their companies or their professions.

In most cases, they sacrifice time spent with their families in response to the responsibilities of their jobs. None of them work a 40-hour week. The envious letter writers apparently think that business success is random. It is not. People rise to the level of high incomes because they are intelligent, disciplined, educated, hardworking, and willing to sacrifice their time to get things done.

It is, after all, their income taxes that fund the government programs that these letter writers hold most dear. Let’s stop making villains out of people who should mostly be given a high state of regard.

Bob Hageman, Chaska

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