Sarah Jaffe reports on the current disparity between the pay of the CEOs and the pay of their workers. It’s unconscionable but corporate America won’t let anyone do anything about it. The way the system works is rigged in favor for large corporate entities. They are running things, and corporations are psychopaths. In fact, since Reagan, they’ve been fostering it. And you wonder why there’s no money for universal healthcare. Instead of paying less taxes, companies and CEOs should be paying more taxes. But thanks to tax havens and corporate accounting practices, they probably pay less taxes than the average American.
Walmart workers, meanwhile, make around $8.75 an hour—about $18,000 a year. They’d have to work over a million years to approach what the chairman of Walmart Stores is sitting on. Alice and Jim Walton each have about $20 billion, and Christy Walton has $24 billion.
That top percentile takes home more than 20 percent of the personal income in the country, and their average income is $5.4 million. The average income of the bottom 90 percent, according to the Post, is just $31,244.
They began to change fast in the ‘80s, with Reagan’s deregulation-first agenda—in 1980, CEOs made 42 times what workers made; now it’s 343 times. This, coupled with the failures of communism in practice, led to what British author Mark Fisher calls “capitalist realism”—the idea that there is no alternative and so we’re stuck with what we’ve got. It might not be fair that the company CEO makes hundreds of times your salary, but that’s the way the system is, and it’s the best system we’ve got.
To suggest there might be anything wrong with corporations paying CEOs millions is treated like heresy.
—the Post notes that we belong in the company of Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Uganda, and Jamaica in terms of raw wealth disparity.
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that companies with billions held offshore—including companies we all know and use, like Google, Apple, and Microsoft—are asking for a “repatriation” tax holiday to bring that money back to the U.S. In other words, they want to drop the rate they’d pay on that money—$29 billion from Microsoft alone—to 5.25 percent from the 35 percent it is normally, as a reward to them for bringing their money back home.
The kicker to that is that even 5 percent of that cash would be a much-needed jolt of revenue for the U.S. economy, but the last time such a deal was offered, companies shipped money home only to return it to shareholders, lay off workers, close plants, and make plans for the next time the government would reward them for pretending to be patriotic. Merck, the Times notes, “brought back $15.9 billion in October 2005. The next month, it unveiled a restructuring plan to cut 7,000 jobs.”