FedEx CEO Says Most People Lazy Wealth Stealers

Though they may lavish Wall Street Journal reporters with leaks and other scoops, American corporate executives tend to keep their names out of the newspaper's editorial pages. Overt support for the opinion section's relentlessly right-wing politics carries too much risk of customer blowback. But FedEx founder and CEO Fred Smith will tolerate no such sissiness. A former George W. Bush fraternity brother, Smith was named as a possible Bush defense secretary and has become involved with John McCain's presidential run. Fair enough. But Smith has to figure many customers might take it personally when tells the Journal opinion section "a majority of the population" is unproductive and greedy:

He sees a big problem in that so few Americans now pay any income tax. "We're now at a point where a very large part of the population pays no federal income tax at all. When you have a majority of the population that realizes that you can transfer money from the productive to themselves, that's one of the great questions for the future of civilization, as far as I'm concerned."

(Emphasis added.) The "most people don't pay income taxes" saw is a key Republican talking point in the 2008 election, and a misleading one at that, since a> it's closer to 40 percent and b> virtually all workers pay, directly and indirectly, payroll taxes amounting to 15 percent of wages.

But more to the point, saying the majority of Americans are unproductive is just the sort of thing that's going to prompt customers (like, say, me) to choose alternate carriers when redistributing their own meager (and for the most part declining) wealth this holiday season via Amazon.com and the like.

Smith has secured a brighter future for himself in a hypothetical McCain Administration, at least. Hope it was worth it.