♫ Well a dollar I make
Is a buck I owe
And a forty-hour week
Leaves ten to blow
But every game in this town
Is just a nickel-and-dime
And when the sun goes down
It feels like the last time ♫
— “Let’s Kill Saturday Night,” Robbie Fulks
In news nowhere near hard enough to shatter a glass ceiling nor shocking enough to dislodge a monocle, the Economic Policy Institute reported on Aug. 16, 2018, that during 2017 the “CEO-to-worker compensation ratio of 312-to-1 was far greater than the 20-to-1 ratio in 1965 and more than five times greater than the 58-to-1 ratio in 1989 (although it was lower than the peak ratio of 344-to-1, reached in 2000).”
EPI analysts included stock options when calculating chief executives’ total yearly pay. This delivered an average annual salary of $18.9 million, which contrasted against an average U.S. 2017 salary of $44,564. Note the absence of stock options to boost the second figure.
Take considerably less than small comfort in the idea that, even stateside, “practically 45K” constitutes a decent living, Politicados. Adjusted for inflation, the amount represents just slightly more than what our parents or grandparents expected as their due for a honest day’s labor during the 1970s. Check out this so-fancy-you-can-almost overlook-its-soul-crushing-message chart prepared for the Pew1 Charitable Trusts:
♪ I used to have it all but I lost it in the fall
Now I’m working for somebody else
And the hours are lousy, the boss is a creep
But the paycheck sure does help ♪
— “Working for Somebody Else,” The dB’s
Never accuse your temporarily embarrassed millionaire of a Weekend Politics Thread host of not playing the microeconomic and musical hits.
Income inequality has existed since the dawn of, well, income. In fact, some spread between the highest earners and the lowest earners produces salutary socioeconomic effects ranging from social competition, entrepreneurship, and reward for competence to discouraging pure idleness and limiting the consumption of strictly luxury (i.e., wasteful) goods and services.
But the situation rocketed past parody centuries ago. The rich persist in growing richer while pretty much everyone who falls off the earning curve or never obtained a ticket to ride gets rolled under the wheels of a burgeoning juggernaut run amok.2
♭ Well, I’ve been doodling on this notepad
And I been taking telephone calls
I can tell this job’s at the end of the line
And I’m ready for the fall
But I been watchin’ the boss carefully
And he always seems to be havin’ a ball
And then I scratch my head and wonder
Why I’m down here and he’s up the hall ♭
— “I Wanna Be a Boss,” Stan Ridgeway
So why grind this old axe?
Did not Thomas Piketty3 say all that needed saying in Capital in the Twenty-First Century? Do not the bearded and bespectacled duo of Paul Krugman and Robert Reich have it covered on the daily? Could Uvular not just let Elizabeth Warren and, to a lesser but still entertaining extent, Bernie Sanders tilt at this particular windmill?
Sure. And probably to more enlightening ends. But none of those luminaries post long-forgotten college rock videos to a comment board. So get to commenting.