I believe in our free market system. It is because of my belief in that system that I am concerned about the extraordinary level of compensation provided to CEOs as documented in the March 7, 2008 and previous hearings by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

At a time when millions of homeowners are facing the loss of their homes, at a time when the number of children living in poverty is increasing, at a time when millions of Americans cannot afford basic health care, at a time when families uprooted by Hurricane Katrina remain displaced, without economic security, the unimaginable levels of compensation being received by the leaders of corporations that are losing billions of dollars can only be viewed as a massive failure of the market of historic proportions.

In our nation's history, when markets have failed to this extent, we have acted. The inequality between CEO compensation and the compensation received by workers and stockholders has grown to such an extent that it endangers our economy and and our society. Whenever we have this level of unequal distribution it cannot help but be translated into unequal economic and social opportunity. These hearings demonstrate the growing, urgent need for action in both the private and public sectors.