Probably quite a few of you won’t know who Len Barry is, but way back in 1961 his “Bristol Stomp” took the country by storm, rocketing to number 2 on the U.S. Billboard Top 100. He might even have been of Russian descent, as he was born Leonard Borisoff, in Philadelphia. A few years later, in 1965, he wrote and performed 1-2-3, which was another major hit; you might have heard it as part of the soundtrack to “Mr. Holland’s Opus”, which was a fantastic film.
Anyway, 1-2-3 included the memorable lyrics, “It’s easy (it’s so easy), like taking candy from a baby”. That’s the theme I’d like to elaborate on a little today. If you’re a regular reader, you know how I enjoy it when La Russophobe offers up another clownish effort that begs to be contradicted. But this one is…well, almost too easy. Like taking candy from a baby. Thanks, Len; you can go now.
The original piece is mercifully short, but no less revealing for that. According to the coyly-entitled, “A Russian Tail, and Dog”, the Chief of the FSB (which she persists in referring to as the KGB, probably for the terror she imagines it invokes) makes an annual salary 50% higher than that of the Russian President. Incidentally, you got that title, right? Tail wags dog? Yes, cute. This leads her to inquire, speculatively; who is really running this country?
We’re meant to conclude, obviously, the one who makes the most money of the 3 persons rated. This would, based on salary alone, indicate that the Chief of the FSB runs the country.
Let’s stick with that standard of measurement for a minute. Let’s imagine the country is run by whoever makes the biggest salary, even though it makes about as much sense as saying the guy with the biggest penis gets to run the country. Never mind that – the guy (or girl) who takes home the biggest paycheck is the leader. We’re even absolved of the responsibility to restrict ourselves to government figures, since the Chief of the FSB is not in government, although he reports to it. He’s in security and enforcement. Let’s also recall that La Russophobe consistently holds up the United States as an example to the world, as a model to which all should aspire. So let’s head over there for a look at how things balance out, salary-wise.
You know what’s coming, don’t you?
All right, then – without further ado: the President of the United States makes an annual salary of $400,000.00. Not bad. It was doubled in 2001, when George W. Bush took office, from the previous $200,000.00. He also has a $50,000.00 discretionary expense account. So let’s roll that into his salary, giving us annual income of $450,000.00.
I bet that there are businesspeople who make quite a bit more than that, and I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, the Financial Posts asks if CEO salaries in the United States are out of control. Let’s look at some of them; Boeing CEO James McNerny actually had to take a pay cut in 2007, because the value of some of his stock options dropped – he only made a lousy $19 Million, 42 times what the President of the USA makes. How’s the Defence Procurement business these days? I’m glad you asked; Lockheed-Martin’s CEO, Bob Stevens, took home just a bit under $31 Million, also in 2007 – 68 times what America’s CEO gets. How about the auto-manufacturing sector? Wow; don’t go there – General Motors CEO Ed Whitacre only makes $1.7 Million, although he also receives $7 Million in company stock. Looking at only his cash salary, he makes just a bit more than 2 times what Obama does. In one of those funny little sidebars that just makes you laugh until you start to scream, the former CEO who got fired will still pocket $59,000.00 per month – plus expenses- through the end of this year. Nice work if you can get it.
In investment banking, the creme-de-la-creme of legalized robbery in the United States, a mere department head can expect to start at twice what the President earns, and an average salary can go up to 155 times the rate of presidential pay.
Following La Russophobe’s leadership model, investment bankers run America, followed closely by corporate CEO’s. Is that pretty much the way it is? That’s not for me to say.
Let’s dispense with one more cheap shot, while we’re at it. La Russophobe’s editorial alleges that Putin’s watch costs at least a third of his annual salary. In fact, the Prime Minister favours the Blancpain Chronograph, which retails for $15,000.00, although you can get it on sale for $10,000.00. I don’t know where La Russophobe went to school, but the math I learned says that’s nothing like a third of his annual salary. Besides, it was quite possibly a gift – after all, Julia Ioffe recently ran a post in The Moscow Diaries about a 2007 Porsche Cayenne operated by the Moscow Emergency Services department, which was a gift from Porsche-Russland.
So, to recap – Russia is run by the forces of national security and enforcement. America is run by investment bankers and corporate raiders. I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere.