Friday, August 05, 2016

1678 A Day's Work for a Day's Pay

1678 A Day’s Work for a Day’s Pay

Or is it the other way around?

An obscure data company called Find the Company.com has compiled a list of the highest paid US executives.  The top of the list received salary and other defined payments of $114 million. The 25th and lowest on the list -- the lowest! -- received a mere $23 million and change.

$114,000,000 divided by 365 days = $312,000 a day, assuming a seven day work week and a 24 hour work day, which you can’t.

Would you like to know what makes these people “worth” that much? Well, you won’t find out here.  Or probably anywhere else.  And the reason is… (drum roll, please) there IS no reason.

But these gargantuan figures point out that there’s a stark difference between the sky and the earth.

Let’s pick someone from the middle, say Marissa Mayer of  YahOL. Thirty six million.  That’s $3 million a month.  Who on this planet is worth that?  And remember, she’s about dead center in the top 25 payees (the polite term is “earners,” but payees seems more accurate and only slightly less neutral.)

At the same time, a report from the Urban Institute quoted by Bloomberg News says ten percent of Americans over the age of 65 falls below the poverty line as does 36 percent of African Americans under the age of 18.  That’s 50 million seniors and 14 million black children and teens, respectively.  Even if the figures here are imperfect, the trend is clear.

What’s wrong with this picture?  The report says part of the reason is the poverty line is inaccurate.  Another reason might be -- could it be this simple? -- there isn’t enough help for either group.

So, 25 people are paid vast amounts of money for what is essentially very little work, while old people and kids don’t know where their next meal will come from.

This is America?

Oh, but look at the deficit, you say.  Yes.  Look at the deficit.  Income trails outgo.  That itself is not a problem because most American bond buyers are Americans… so we’re borrowing from ourselves.

The problem is sources of revenue.  “The rich must pay their ‘fair’ share” say the people who already do, and they’re right.

To an extent.

Let’s take a closer look at those top 25.  Salaries are only a small part of their compensation. Stock options, stock awards, deferred payments are the lion’s share of each one.  Taxes on that stuff are low, low, low.

And, of course, it’s not just the top 25. This ruse is repeated at dozens of levels at thousands of companies.

Since capital owns congress, there’s little chance of raising taxes on capital gains.  

And there’s little chance huge corporations that avoid taxes entirely or almost entirely by slithering through loopholes will be brought to heel, though there are mini efforts to fix that.

The bottom line is this:  the bottom line and short term gains are the villain, not organized labor, disorganized labor and government’s failure to meet its moral and fiscal responsibilities.

Sounds like a socialist rant, right?  So let’s end this with

Today’s Quote: “A rising tide raises all boats.” -- Wrongly attributed to John F. Kennedy and sometimes Ted Sorensen but its origins have been sunk.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2016

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