American Elephants


Is Income Inequality Really “The Defining Challenge of Our Time”? Why? by The Elephant's Child

ObamaTux

Last week, President Obama had a fundraiser in the San Francisco Bay area, in the Atherton home of a major Democrat donor, where he told the presumably wealthy donors ( tickets for the event cost $33,400) that Income Inequality is “the defining challenge of our time.” But then Climate change has also been the defining challenge.

Hillary and Bernie both complain about excessive CEO pay. The election is supposed to be driven by envy. In one of Hillary’s campaign ads, the narrator tells us “On average it takes 300 Americans working for a solid year to make as much money as one top CEO. It’s called the wage gap.” Last month Bernie Sanders wrote in a Tweet that “In the United States, CEOs make 300 times what their workers make. That is simply immoral and must be dealt with.”

Hillary and Bernie like to compare a few of the very highest paid CEOs, who head the largest multinational corporations with thousands of employees rather than the average CEO. There are something in the realm of 100 million hourly workers in the country, and most of them don’t work for a huge international corporation.

How about comparing the average American worker to the average CEO? In 2014, there were 21,550 Chief Executives working full-time managing a company or enterprise. Those CEOs earned, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average annual salary of $216,100. That’s about the same annual salary of $201,030 for the average orthodontist.

The average annual pay for the 100 million hourly workers who are employed at private companies, small, medium and large, is $48,920, (based on an average hourly pay of $24.46). There are very highly paid hourly workers as well — the workers who operate those cranes that lift the containers off the container ships make over $100,000. but then you’d have to pay me a lot to climb all those ladders— scary.

Your average CEO doesn’t make anywhere near Apple Computer’s Tim Cook’s $10 million salary either. But then the market value of Apple’s stock is greater than the entire stock market of Brazil ($490 billion). A three-star general makes $164,221 per year, and a four-star general gets $179,700. The Secretary of State gets $203,700. A Senator gets $177.000, but there are allowances for mail, staff, travel and other amenities. Alabama’s head football coach Nick Saban is the highest paid football coach for 2015 at $7,087,481. And top fashion models rake in well over a million.

Hillary Clinton’s minimum speaking fee is reportedly $225,000 for a one-hour talk. Hourly pay. The average CEO makes less than Hillary’s speaking fee — with that grating voice.

For the most part, the disparity in wealth is a factor of demographics. Young people just starting out don’t make much. Older folks with a lifetime of building skills and contacts and savings have more. Education matters, skill matters, talent, looks, and smart money sense matter as well. The occupation you choose matters, but then there are people who started out flipping hamburgers at McDonalds and have ended up owning numerous McDonalds franchises.

Democrats envision the perfect world of the future in which everybody is equal at last. They don’t like competition. Trophies for everyone! They want to be in charge, because the next regulation will fix things, won’t it? Or maybe not. What matters is how you are doing with the choices you have made. Are you happy or envious? If you are envious, you might think about what, if anything, that is doing for you?


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