This post on today’s Daily Kos reports that the top 50 job-slashing CEOs in the US earned nearly $600 million dollars last year.
[UPDATED THURS MORNING–OOPS, THE LINK DIDN’T SHOW UP. HERE IT IS:
Apparently, because nobody can currently afford to buy anything, the way to maximize profits is to cut costs by firing people. So humane.
As I was reading the post, the word “retrenchment” jumped out of it at me. Yesterday, I learned that now 8 (more than half) the universities in the PASSHE system have announced plans to retrench faculty in the coming year. So humane.
Apparently, the PASSHE Office of the Chancellor subscribes to the same logic as its corporate brethren (yes, that’s gendered on purpose). To cut costs, fire the people who do the work and therefore earn actual pay.
The problem, of course, is that many of the campuses have seen (and continue to project) GROWING enrollments; that is, what PASSHE is doing is EVEN WORSE than the corporate sphere. Not only is PASSHE shedding jobs, but they’re asking faculty to cover the work of the faculty who get retrenched, and to do more work by teaching more students, all with fewer people and for less money.
Not to put too fine a point on it, this is nearly psychopathic. The people who get paid obscene amounts of money to administer our system are inhumanely destroying the livelihoods of the faculty who can least afford to defend themselves (retrenchment begins with part time and temporary faculty, and then probationary, pre-tenured faculty next) or to lose their jobs. In the meantime, rather than shrinking operations to match the decreased capacity (which I’m not suggesting they do), they continue to admit more students.
The Chancellor of PASSHE published an opinion essay in the Chronicle of Higher Education a while back in which he made the case, clearly and correctly, that public universities simply should not and cannot be the battlegrounds on which budget battles get fought. We’ve compressed, economized, and austerity-fied ourselves to the bone already, and any more cuts will come at the expense of quality. At the time, he was exactly right. Now, the situation is even worse. Quality is already going by the wayside, and these continued cuts, accompanied by shamefully dishonest rhetoric about how dire the budget situation really is, threatens our ability to do anything other than survive–until our management pulls it collective head out of its collective you-know-where and puts its money where its mouth is.