There is a great deal of rage in this country over government spending. However, very few people are willing to discuss the insane amount of money the top income bracket in this country controls. Instead, we turn on the government workers who make a paltry sum in comparison with the Chief Executive Officers of the private sector. When did we stop appreciating those who chose to lend their considerable talents to making our government institutions functional entities in favor of defending the “poor” corporations that make up the private sector? Something just doesn’t seem right about this.
Most private sectors employees should be supporting the plights of their public counterparts while questioning the huge disparity between their incomes and those of the top executives of the companies they work for. Take the CEO of Best Buy for example. According to salary.com, he brings in over $10 million in total compensation a year. While the average employee at Best Buy makes around $32,000. This means the CEO makes almost 319 times as much as the common employee. While there may be a need to pay an executive more than the average Joe, this kind of compensation seems out of a balance with reality.
Let’s pretend for a second every CEO in America was willing to give up half of their salary. So for our aforementioned example, that would reduce his compensation to $5 million a year. Probably still more than most of us will ever hope to make in our life. In addition, it is unlikely this reduction will cause any real hardship for him. Meanwhile, corporations continue to lay off employees and ask those remaining to work twice as hard for the same amount of pay and that’s if they’re lucky. All this in an attempt to increase profit margins. Wouldn’t it make more sense to take the $5 million in savings from the person most able to handle it? Sadly, rarely does logic seem to play a role in the workings of the corporate sector.
The real hypocrisy comes into play when you consider the rhetoric against public employees is being shouted by many of the same people who support tax cuts for the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans. Cutting public employee salaries does little to address the true problems inherent with both the federal budget and the many state budgets around the country in deficit. Many of these public sectors have already cut down and learned to do more with less and have little fat left to trim. Meanwhile, we increase the deficit by an astronomical amount simply to ensure the tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans don’t expire. If we are truly serious about living within our means, its not the public employees we should be worried about, but the lost tax revenue we experience when we give the wealthiest Americans a break they don’t need in some hope they will allow some of spillover to trickle down to the poorer majority.
The solution to this madness is simple. The deficit hawks, the tea partiers, the coffee partiers, the unions, and all the other low to middle income groups in our nation need to stand together. We need to demand accountability from the wealthy in this country. Ask them take their turn, and sacrifice for the greater good of the nation that has given them so much. For in the immortal words of Paul Wellstone, “we all do better, when we all do better.” Truer words were never spoken.