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That's exactly what Reed Hastings said today in his Op/Ed piece at the New York Times.  In just a few paragraphs Mr. Hastings demonstrates what it means to not only lead a successful company but to set an example of what the burden of success can mean in a great Country like ours.

I’M the chief executive of a publicly traded company and, like my peers, I’m very highly paid. The difference between salaries like mine and those of average Americans creates a lot of tension, and I’d like to offer a suggestion. President Obama should celebrate our success, rather than trying to shame us or cap our pay. But he should also take half of our huge earnings in taxes, instead of the current one-third.

Of course Netflix is not asking for a Government bail out (And the point of my post has more to do with higher taxes than pay caps for CEO's.  I do think pay caps are important when a company is taking TARP money and government bailout funds, so does Mr. Hastings, "Of course, it’s galling when a chief executive fails and is still handsomely rewarded.") and is doing quite well in our economy, for the cost of one movie ticket you can rent as many DVD's as you want per month in the convenience of your own home.  It's brilliant and this company forced a giant like Blockbuster to change their own business model to compete.  No late fees, no fighting for the dwindling new releases and just a really smart business model.

I just wanted to commend Hastings for his very altruistic and old fashioned idea of success that can translate to the success of our Country in the increased opportunity to support the arts, schools and public programs that benefit the greater good rather than just lining the pockets of a very few CEO's and board members.

Then, the next time a chief executive earns an eye-popping amount of money, we can cheer that half of it is going to pay for our soldiers, schools and security. Higher taxes on huge pay days can finance opportunity for the next generation of Americans.


Of course, it’s galling when a chief executive fails and is still handsomely rewarded. But with the concept of "tax, not shame," a shocking $20 million severance package would generate $10 million for the government. That’s a far better solution than what we have today, not least because it works with the market rather than against it.


Instead of trying to shame companies and executives, the president should take advantage of our success by using our outsized earnings to pay for the needs of our nation.

Thank you Mr. Hastings for this short but very clear message to our President that not all CEO's are greedy and self-serving.  Success is shared when people recognize that their hard work is not only built on the little people but that their success is not possible without the kind of Government and social structure that we have in the United States.  This kind of success doesn't happen in a vacuum.

So, I plan on activating my Netflix subscription as a way to thanks Mr. Hastings for speaking truth to power and giving me hope that not all those who are made richer by their success ascribe to the saying, "You can never be too rich (I won't even put the second half)".

UPDATE:  People are making very valid points that I wholeheartedly agree with, the tax system is too complicated and many rich people can get out of paying the lower tax rates they have now.  I get that.  I think that's another issue and it should be addressed.  Ultimately, it's about those who get as high as this see that they have a shared responsibility, just as much as the firefighter and the teacher and that we all share the burden of improving our Country for our kids and future generations.

Our infrastructure has been neglected far too long due to Reaganomics and the trickle-down bullshit.  WE have 2.2 trillion dollars in infrastructure spending to bring our Country to CODE and it's going to be put off unless we all pony up, tighten our belts and start realizing that the commons belong to us all and we share the resonsibility in it's upkeep.

Originally posted to Ellinorianne on Sat Feb 07, 2009 at 09:23 AM PST.

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