Why do some people fail to realize that income is based upon the level of knowledge, education, &/or
even talent, complaining that there should be a leveling of income no matter how complex the job is? There are people who complain that CEOs, executives & others who hold high level positions are "overpaid" while cashiers, laborers, & others who hold low level positions are "underpaid", not realizing that pay is dependent upon one's level of expertise, knowledge, &/or education. In essence, people whose jobs require a high level of skill & education are paid more than people whose jobs require a low level of skill & education. People are paid for their intrinsic worth, no more no less.
I have no issue with someone at the executive level being paid more than someone who is a laborer. There is, as you say, a difference in skill, education, and responsibility. However, the difference in pay between a worker making minimum wage, and a CEO making an annual salary, plus benefits, plus bonuses, makes me cringe.
For example, a worker at McDonalds receives the Federal minimum wage of $7,25/hour, or $15,000/year, assuming 40 hours a week. The may get a few days of sick time, a few vacation days, minimal health insurance, and the opportunity to participate in a 401K, assuming any money is left to contribute after paying rent, bills, and food.
In contrast, the McDonalds CEO, Donald Thompson, is paid $9,496,664 in total compensation per year, which includes salary, bonuses, stock, and stock options.
$15,000 vs. $9.5 million. That crosses the line between compensation for differences in skill level and education, and making millions on the backs of workers barely compensated enough to live.
Thompson has a BS degree in electrical engineering from Purdue. He started out as robotics, control designer in 1990 and worked his way up to Reg. Mgr, EVP, COO and eventually CEO in 2012. Flipping burgers requires less skills/responsibility.
As I said, I agree that a burger flipper and a CEO should be paid differently. But is it necessary, fair, or logical for him to be paid $9.49 million more, when the burger flippers can't make ends meet? It's ridiculous.
I believe in most instances pay equates to knowledge and responsibility. However over the last couple of decades there have been many instances where "corporate leaders" have gotten bonuses when the company (lost money) or they were fired and received a "golden parachute" worth millions of dollars while those on the bottom only got an unemployment check.
You have instances where connections and nepotism play a (major role) in elevating particular individuals careers. George W. Bush was said to be a "C" student and got into Yale University!
When I was growing up in the 60s and 70s people often said: "It's not (what) you know but (who) you know that counts the most." This was long before the term "networking" became in vogue.
It's also not uncommon for the founder of a company to turn over the reigns to their children despite having more qualified employees. When this happens it's only natural for many people working there to mumble under their breath. People resent other's unfair breaks.
Life's not fair! Get over it!
Lastly I think a lot of folks at the bottom who are "hands on" in their particular area (truly believe) they're smarter than "the big bosses".
Mary T. Barra the CEO of General Motors may not know how to install a starter into a car but she knows how to read a profit & loss statement. She keeps tabs on the performance of the stock.
The "worker bees" focus on the minute details of their job while the CEO's role is to have a "vision" for capturing more market share versus their competition. They don't major in minor things!
I think that we all suffer from greed, some more than others, while still some accept the notion of entitlement as a way of life. Some accept and promote the idea of socialism, while others embrace the idea of individual freedom, individual achievement, which is called capitalism by many.
It is interesting that so many people accept the idea that they are inferior to others and that the only way for them to feel good about themselves is to manipulate the government to forcibly take from those who have achieved and redistribute to the rest. There are, of course, those politicians who are ready to accommodate as a means to buy those votes.
I have heard this called economic or social democracy. It would be like having three people in a room and only one having any money. The three people are law biding citizens, so strong arm robbery would be considered wrong, but democracy will serve in the forced acquisition of the money from the third.
There would seem to be a growing number of people who want what they have not earned and they have a tendency to justify this want with calls for equality. It is a 'never you mind' that I am lazy, that I have no real talent, that I lack the strength of character, integrity or perseverance, or that I simply lack the intelligence.
History tends to demonstrate this pattern in democracies and consequent failure. The Founding Fathers of America understood this, which is one reason it was established as a Constitutional Republic and not a democracy.
Certainly, capitalism is not a perfect system and has noted flaws, but to many of the flaws can be traced back to corrupt politicians, who are very ready to take bribes and buy votes with the tax payers own money.
Recently there was a national story of a man who walked 21 miles to and from work because he did not have a car. He held a menial job at $10.00. He was never absent and never late. He walked through heat, rain and snow. This man represents what individualism is, the strength of character and integrity that should be heralded as an example to all of us. Compared to this man, so many of us are lacking.
This story has a good and bad ending, so far. When the story broke and people noticed, he was awarded a new car and over $300.000. The bad news is that I have heard nothing from black leaders, who should be holding this man up as a roll model in perseverance and all that can be good in any of us.
I think the disconnect comes from what they've been told. Which, in the U.S., is that if you work hard, you'll get somewhere in life. A whole lot of people work hard and get nowhere. Someone works at a company all their life and still gets passed up for a promotion. Someone goes to night classes, earns their degree, then still can't get a job because the market is flooded with candidates who also have degrees. There is no work to money ratio, despite what we've been told all our lives.
I mostly agree with what you've said, except I need to add the words "not always."
Most jobs that provide high salaries require a great level of competence, skill, knowledge, etc., but "not always." Since you mentioned CEO's I will use that example. Many CEO's are not paid according to the amount of work they actually do or what knowledge and experience they have, but rather because of good connections, a rigged system, "pulling the strings," etc.
This is especially true in the realm of government. Many (most?) government officials and bureaucrats receive more in pay and benefits than what they are worth.
Again, you are right about this in a general sense, but there are numerous exceptions.
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