On Thursday, a poster added one of the most insightful comments I've had in a long time to this post. They were responding to this article.
It got me thinking in the middle of the night about why I was, and continue to be, frustrated by the way Booth newspapers in particular, and newspapers in general are operated. To be clear, I love newspapers, I want them to succeed and I feel for my friends left behind and the uncertainty of their futures.
Then it hit me, "trickle down incompetence." Inspired by the blog comment I began to piece together the frustration in my mind.
While we at the bottom of the food chain were carrying out the mandates and goals of those above us, no matter how stupid or off target, they always knew that no matter how badly it all turned out they would not be harmed.
Kind of like being in a war foxhole with a leader that you know is never going to make the charge with you. In my humble opinion, this is not only what is wrong with Booth, but wrong with corporate America today.
It's why I trust pilots when I'm flying. The way I figure it, my life is directly tied to theirs. I know they are always going to do their best to get the plane up and down, not because I'm on it, but because they are.
In the new business model, the "pilots" are on the ground flying the "planes" by remote control. When they make a mistake, it's the passengers who crash and not them.
It's the decisions and mistakes by the people at the top that end up impacting, negatively as of late, the folks at the bottom. But while those mistakes result in jobs losses and hardship on those at the bottom, the folks at the top reap rewards well beyond their achievements.
That was not the case in days gone by. People who risked capital and investment paid the price for mistakes. Today, the CEOS travel from company to company raking in millions of dollars whether they are successful or not.
In fact, they are rewarded in spite of their abject failure. We have seen that at Booth, we have seen it at banks and we see it everyday in other businesses.
Capitalism works only when success is rewarded and failure is not. Today, especially for those at the top, it doesn't matter whether you succeed or fail, you get a big, big check and/or you keep - as Mel Brooks would say in "Blazing Saddles" - your "phony, baloney jobs."
That would explain how people are promoted higher on the corporate ladder even though it was their mistakes, their misjudgements and their lack of vision that created the problem.
During the bank hearings for the first TARP, I heard Secretary Paulson say, "if we don't let these people (speaking of CEOs) keep their bonuses they will leave the companies."
That's a bad thing? After all, these are companies seeking massive bail outs for their financial failures. It wasn't the bank clerk or lower level loan officers who were making the bad decisions to move forward with policies that provided bad loans to millions of people. But guess who paid the biggest price?
The "buck" President Harry Truman used to talk about no longer stops at the top, it simply flows down and stops at the bottom with massive layoffs. That's what I call "Trickle Down Incompetence."
Their "incompetence" trickles down on those who work at the bottom.