Maybe we’re all tiring of hearing about the 99, percent that is, but I hope not. I hope this is not one of those cases where our pathologically short attention spans do us in (what’s going on with the Fukushima Daiichi power plant? is there still oil in the gulf? who killed Jon Benet?).
P.J. O’Rourke was on NPR the other night, being his usual pithy and witty self, and, shockingly, I found myself agreeing with him; mainly, that life isn’t fair, and that our children need to learn this in order not to make themselves absolutely crazy. But one of my children asked me once, after I reminded them that life wasn’t fair, whether maybe we shouldn’t at least try to make it so, at least in our little corner of the world?
And then there was O’Rourke’s basic premise: that wealth isn’t a pie, that there is always more money to be made if we just figure out what to make/do/sell and then convince everyone else they can’t do without (a Thneed comes to mind, but I think Dr. Seuss already covered that one). And that taking away some of the money that the 1% is making wouldn’t necessarily mean that the 99% would make more.
He seems, to me, to be missing the point. Now I haven’t had a math class since the early 80s, so there might be some kind of flaw in my thinking, but let me just run this theory by you all for your consideration: If, as postulated by the AFL-CIO, the average CEO is being paid 343 times the salary of the average worker, and someone decided something radical, oh, I don’t know, maybe let’s just pay him 50 times the salary of the average worker, does it not compute that some of that surplus could be well, maybe, oh, I don’t know, paid to the average worker?
So here’s my attempt at math:
Average worker making $45,000/year.
At 343 times the salary, CEO making $15,435,000/year.
Let’s assume the company has 1,000 employees.
At 50 times the average salary, the CEO would make $2,250,000 — still seems like an awful lot of money.
We redistribute the remaining $13,185,000 dollars among the other 1000 employees, and we now have the “average” worker earning $58,185.
It IS a pie!!! More for you means less for me.
Is that really that hard to figure out?
In a related story, the faculty at my college are “forbidden” from taking a personal day on the day before or after a school holiday, so I am sitting right now in an empty classroom because no one has come except me.
But the president of the college left over the previous weekend to spend a week traveling hither and yon visiting family and friends; a fact we have been informed of through his “Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving with Friends and Family” email, where he reminds us of how important this time is and hopes that we enjoy and treasure it. Just not too soon.