Some amazing facts were published recently about how wealthy the wealthy are in America. The Wall Street Journal reported that the median pay for CEOs is now $11.4 million per year. This is 257 times greater than the average worker's salary.
This means it would take someone earning the minimum wage 690 years to earn the same amount. Also, the recent CEO data shows that since 2009 CEO compensation has risen 50 percent. So over the past five years while the rest of us struggled to keep our homes and jobs through the Great Recession our business leaders enjoyed generous pay raises.
The other remarkable fact is how much a handful of Wall Street money managers made in 2013. Four hedge fund managers earned a combined $10.4 billion in compensation. What is most astonishing is that these four hedge fund managers earned more than all the kindergarten teachers in America. There are 157,800 kindergarten teachers in the U.S. and their combined salaries did not equal the compensation of these four Wall Street money managers.
It is unfortunate we accept these gross inequities and allow ourselves to be bullied by the rich into thinking that this is OK or necessary. Perhaps our frustration with our own circumstances has morphed into envy and we idolize the rich like our kids idolize professional athletes. Or perhaps we're too afraid to stand up to them and require them to pay their fair share to support our society because we're afraid they'll move our jobs to India.
Whatever the reason, are we going to wait for Robin Hood to come to our rescue or are we going to take action to address these inequalities? I plan to vote for candidates who recognize this as a threat to our democracy and standard of living.