PEORIA -- Here's a very interesting May 26 story about Caterpillar, Inc. that the Peoria Journal Star didn't run, though business reporter Steve Tarter does sort of discuss it in his column.
Read the original column, then ask yourself, which came first, the chicken or the egg!
Check out this quote from its CEO, Doug Oberhelman. whose current pay is $22 million per year, while some of Cat's workers are eligible for food stamps:
"Then comes the difficult question: Why is Caterpillar fighting its workers over wages?
"Oberhelman nods briskly, eager to put the issue to rest.
“We have to be competitive if we’re gonna win. And frankly, if we’re not competitive ... we’re not gonna be here in the next 30 years. That’s a simple message, but” — he starts to hammer his hand against the table — “it’s very ... very ... tough.” After a pause, he lets his hand lay flat. “I always try to communicate to our people that we can never make enough money,” Oberhelman continues. “We can never make enough profit.”
"When will workers’ wages rise? “The answer to that is: when we start to see economic growth through GDP,” he said. “Part of the reason we’re seeing no inflation is because there’s no growth. Inflation was driven by higher labor costs, not higher goods costs. Frankly, I’d love to see a little bit of that. Because I’d love to pay people more. I’d love to see rising wages for everybody.”
Oberhelman's answer indicates he must be smoking something.
What makes the GDP grow? Answer: higher wages. His statement makes no sense.
There will be no growth if wages don't increase.
How many people do you know who would buy a new car or home if only they made more money?
Who does he think pays for Cat's equipment -- the tooth fairy? No, it's government, based on taxes, which depend on the economy and wages. And corporations building things, based on sales, based on wages.
If profitable corporations fight their workers on wages, there will be no growth, and the economy likely will collapse again or stagnate. It's the old chicken and egg situation. Give Oberhelman an 'F' in logic and economics.
-- Elaine Hopkins
UPDATE 5/29/13 - Here's a story and photo of a Caterpillar bulldozer destroying a historic Mayan temple. It's not Caterpillar Inc.'s fault but....it is symbolic of the greed destroying the planet, of which Cat is a part.