state vs. federal corporation legislation
Here's Carl Icahn in the WSJ on CEO pay as a band-aid over much larger issues...
President Barack Obama's plan to limit executive pay to $500,000 a year -- plus restricted stock -- for institutions that get government funding is understandable. Still, salary caps are only a stopgap measure that fails to address the root of the problem.
The real problem is that many corporate managements operate with impunity -- with little oversight by, or accountability to, shareholders. Instead of operating as aggressive watchdogs over management and corporate assets, many boards act more like lapdogs.
Despite the fact that managements, albeit with some exceptions, have done an extremely poor job, they are often lavishly rewarded regardless of their performance.
We must change this dismal state of affairs if we are to rebuild our economy in a sustainable way that restores confidence....
The problem, as I have long maintained, is that boards and managements have been entrenched by years of state laws and court decisions that insulate them from shareholder accountability and allow them to maintain their salary-and-perk-laden sinecures.
What we need are fewer government rules at the state level that protect managements. We need to return capitalism -- our great national wealth machine -- to its roots, where owners call the shots to managements, not the other way around.
Currently, corporate law is largely the province of state governments, not federal. As a result, most corporations migrate to, and incorporate in, states that offer the most protection for managements.
Management-friendly states have a vested interest in attracting these companies because hosting them generates a substantial portion of state revenues. It's a symbiotic relationship: The state offers management protections and, in return, receives much-needed tax revenue....What is needed, therefore, is a federal law that allows shareholders to vote by simple majority to move their company's incorporation to another state. That power is currently vested with boards and management.
This move would not be a panacea for all our economic problems. But it would be a step forward, eliminating the stranglehold managements have on shareholder assets. Shouldn't the owners of companies have these rights?...