Monday, September 6, 2010

Income Inequality

The Atlantic has a posting in Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish that puts out the stark truth about the ridiculous salaries that are paid in business. Here is the key part for me. I've bolded the key bit:
There are two pay shockers in business: the pay of middle managers and the pay of CEOs. Everyone talks about CEOs so I'll talk about middle managers - people who often have graduate degrees, who have some staff, who are smart and capable but do not have the rare and usually unhealthy levels of motivation it takes to make a run at senior office in a large business. These people make a TON of money. For me, your level of compensation should be commensurate with how badly you have to warp your life to achieve said level. Senior execs are like the immigrant laborers cited in some arguments as "doing the jobs Americans won't do". Senior execs (and mid-level workers in high-compensation industries such as consulting (finance is another kettle of fish and not something I know enough about to comment on)) do things most people would never want to do - they often sacrifice family, a well-balanced intellectual life, and so on, on the altar of career. And I have no problem with their pay (below the stupid levels that CEO-level pay often reaches); although I would prefer higher taxes to balance the effects of that pay. To return to middle managers however, these are people who typically have the same life-style as, say, teachers. Same rough hours, same rough level of necessary effort at the average level of performance. But they make much, much more money (and you can't just look at salary - perks of various kinds - at least in my office - often at least double on-paper salary). I didn't realize how big the disparity was until I went into business, and it still surprises me.
There is a malaise in the body politic. Nobody in power is addressing it. In the last 30 years the US has gone from a society in which people had common interests and a class structure that supported upward & downward mobility. But it now is an increasingly third world economy where the ultra-rich live a life of gated exclusivity and receive financial rewards which are beyond comprehension to 80% of their supposedly "fellow" citizens. It is a society that is being ripped apart by unlimited greed and a political ideology of greed. It is a sad thing to witness.

No comments: