Income inequality, by the numbers

If CEOs and MBAs are worth so much more in 2014 than in the 1970s, then logic follows that the little worker bees that got them there are worth a few more bucks too


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Since President Obama is looking at inequality, and has featured raising the minimum wage as his issue du jour, allow me to pile on with some helpful and worth repeating facts.

A recent survey by payscale.com recorded these responses to raising the minimum wage:

 • More women favor the increase (57.3 percent) than men (42.7 percent).

 • Physicians are most in favor of increasing the minimum wage to $15 per hour (63.6 percent support).

 • MBAs are the most opposed (37.6 percent support).

Translation:

 • Women make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men, and are more likely to be employed at minimum wage. Women are tired of waiting for "the boss" to notice that their work matters, or to acknowledge they have to feed, clothe and house their families too. Raise the bottom for all and women's pay will increase too.

 • Doctors, who are in the "caring" business, understand that when folks are scraping the bottom of the income barrel, the basics are pricey: housing is substandard, eats are cheap empty-calorie food, and visits to doctors and dentists are unaffordable luxuries (until acute illness forces a visit to the ER). Unrelenting hardships create emotionally fragile families and individuals when constant instability defines the daily existence. Poverty sucks always, but it really sucks when it comes to health.

 • And surprise, surprise! Our captains of industry, finance and insurance, aka MBAs, are happy to maintain the status quo. And why not? Their cheery refrain: “I've got mine Jack!” echoes throughout our economy.

Note: "the CEO-to-worker compensation ratio was 29-1 in 1978, grew to 122.6-1 in 1995, peaked at 383.4-1 in 2000, and was 272.9-1 in 2012,” according to epi.org. According to the 2013 Corporate Recruiters Survey, MBA graduates command a median base salary of $95,000, or about $50 an hour, which is approximately five times their starting salary in 1978. When business school graduates are told they are smarter/better and more deserving than everyone else, they actually believe it.

The moral to this story: if CEOs and MBAs are worth so much more in 2014 than in the 1970s, then logic follows that the little worker bees that got them there are worth a few more bucks too.

Arnie Arnesen, a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate, is host of “The Attitude” on WNHN-FM and WNHNFM.org.


 

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