Left Coast Voices

"I would hurl words into the darkness and wait for an echo. If an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight." Richard Wright, American Hunger

The Top Talent???? – Tom Rossi

I’ve heard the same baloney many times: “We need to offer ‘competitive’ salaries to executives in order to attract ‘top talent.'” This reasoning was offered up recently, not by some corporation lining the pockets of executives while workers lose their homes, but by the California State University system, which doled out significant raises to the incoming presidents of three campuses before they even spent one day on the job.

 This was simultaneous to raising tuition and cutting class availability for students. The “best talent”. Riiiiiiight. Let’s look at what the “best talent” has done. They’ve driven companies into the ground, killed manufacturing where it might have survived the outsourcing onslaught, lost many billions in investor funds, cheated on taxes (both corporate and personal), lobbied (both legally and illegally) to get their cheating legalized, and when it was finally suggested that it might be best to move on, they took huge “golden parachute” packages with them, even as the corporations they had headed burned to the ground.


University presidents and the organizing bodies above them have raised tuition by stunning amounts while eliminating many basic education options and, in many ways, “dumbing down” the education offered by their schools. Faced with tough realities like budget cuts from the state, they never miss an opportunity to pass the pain straight to the students while protecting their own salaries and benefits.

 That’s what the “top talent” has brought. What the hell would “medium talent” bring????


Here’s the problem. The world of executives has jettisoned the world of ordinary people. It’s now its own planet with its own logic, its own motivations, its own criteria for success, and its own, self-determined reward system.

 Back here on Earth, I have known SO many people who were SO much better than this in SO many ways. These people are not driven by “success” or money. They are driven by a passion for their work and for accomplishing something real in this world.

 These people, almost by definition, aren’t motivated by money. Yes, of course they need and want money in order to survive or maybe even live comfortable lives, but they wouldn’t “sell their souls” for more money. If the salaries the top executive positions were severely cut and limited, what kind of people would be attracted to these positions?

 People who CARED ABOUT THEM! I have several educators in my family. They are all highly intelligent. Do you think they took on those careers for the money? Especially decades ago? Not a chance. They did this because they had something to give, and when you have something to give and you can’t give it, it hurts you inside.

 We need the promises of marketing departments to actually come true. We need executives who are passionate about doing something good for our world, or even for some product line, but not just for enriching themselves monetarily.

 -Tom Rossi


Tom Rossi is a commentator on politics and social issues. He is a Ph.D. student in International Sustainable Development, concentrating in natural resource and economic policy. Tom greatly enjoys a hearty debate, especially over a hearty pint of Guinness.



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4 thoughts on “The Top Talent???? – Tom Rossi

  1. So true. I work with students in SF and it hurts to see them struggling not just to support themselves, but often taking that extra job to send money home to their unemployed parents.
    Nice post, Tom.


  2. So true. I work with students in SF. It hurts to see the students struggling so. Some are taking on extra jobs to send money home to their unemployed parents. With the cuts in classes, they don’t even know if they will have the classes they need to graduate.
    Great post, Tom


  3. Yes the powerless, which basically includes students, are easy targets. Part of the reason in this case is that students are a temporary group. Few people graduate (or drop out) and then continue to fight for student rights. So they keep getting dumped on. And it’s justified by the continuing propaganda about how much more college graduates earn. First of all, these figures are badly skewed by those who make HUGE amounts. But it also doesn’t take into account the mounting debt that students accrue and the years they go without earning hardly anything. It used to be much easier to get grants if you were a good student or for many reasons. Now you have to take out loans, and the loans are huge because tuition is huge and the cost of living is much higher than it once was, even in terms of percentage of non-disposable income.

    This goes back to a post I did that may have seemed like fluff at the time… about how we all have to join together and stop only fighting for our own little causes. They are all the same cause – fairness and real opportunity no matter how much or how little money your parents have.

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