class warfare

guest post:

“I don’t know whether these guys are under-paid or over-paid. I do notice the tone of class warfare in America, however, and as Warren Buffet noted years ago, his class has already won.

Why is it that $20,000,000 a movie is perfectly fine for a mediocre film actor, $15,000,000 a year is the norm for a guy who can fog a mirror and throw a baseball lefthanded, and $30,000,000 is seen as a fair price for some guy who sits in a lot of meetings as a CEO? Meanwhile the median inflation-adjusted wage is below what it was 15 years ago for all the rest of us?

The thing I really don’t understand is that most Americans think, “Whatever the Market will bear” for athletes and entertainers, and we buy the line that Executives need to be “incentivized” and they really couldn’t be arsed to roll out of the sack for 6-figures or even 7-figure salaries. But when somebody whose job involves the risk of being pureed starts to make as much as a mid-level corporate manager, that’s highway robbery and cause for outcry.

In no way am I defending the Longshoremen. Corruption in those unions was a byword before “On The Waterfront.” I’m talking about the sniping at all the people whose earnings created what we used to think of as the middle class in America. We decry the demise of the middle class, but every time anyone demands that they be paid in a middle-class fashion, or even according to terms agreed upon through negotiation, it’s “Socialism” or some damn thing. You can’t have it both ways. The Elites can’t be allowed to extract all the wealth of a country and completely ignore their contractual obligations, and then somehow we still have a functioning middle class.

And although the Unions have beeen in many cases subverted by criminals looking to manipulate the pension funds, how is that different from what has happened to the retirement funding for everyone else? Besides, it’s A-OK for management to organize (that’s what incorporation is), but it’s foul play when workers do it too? You can’t have only one side at a negotiating table, or you get what we’re getting.

Pitting the middle class against the lower and lower-middle class has worked out brilliantly for the Elites. People all think they deserve more, but their lousy neighbor and their lazy brother-in-law should work for slave wages and shut up and be thankful for it. Yeah, but they forget that to somebody else, they themselves are the neighbor or b.i.l. The Elites, on the other hand, know this all too well and take huge advantage of it.

I’m lucky because I’ve developed a set of skills that is rare and in demand by corporate interests. I pretty much set my price by what my competitors charge, and if somebody doesn’t want to pay it, fine; good luck finding somebody else who can do the task and will take less money.

But you sure as hell wouldn’t catch me unloading a ship for even $200,000 a year. Never mind schooling your brats for $80,000, with the licensure, educational requirements (and debt) and general working conditions.”

this is provided as fair use for social commentary and anthropological study on important issues of our day.


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