Big Money, Little Opportunities

Charles Payne
Posted: May 31, 2014 12:01 AM
Big Money, Little Opportunities

Two news items on employment and income shocked the nation, although for different reasons. The news provided fodder for those critical of capitalism and champions for fairness in America.

Diversity in Technology

The headlines blared: CEO pay at 250 times the average worker, with the top ten breadwinners pulling down $420.0 million a year. The poster boy for this unbridled greed is the ever-so-humble Larry Ellison. His $76.9 million pay package was bolstered by stock options. In fact, Ellison actually turned down a $1.5 million cash bonus he was eligible to receive as well. The former CEO of Oracle, who is able to turn down cash, was rumored to have been interested in purchasing the LA clippers for far more than the team is worth; I am not upset about this.
The top CEOs make an average of $10,500,000 a year. However, 112 professional baseball players pull down ten million bucks or more per season. There is no howling by the income inequality crowd, or a take on sharing the wealth, if you can hit a curve ball, swish a three, or throw a game winning bomb on the last play of the game. But let us take an honest look at how much Larry Ellison has done for his dough, and how much Jim Johnson, a relief pitcher for the Oakland A's, has done for his.

Johnson joined the league in 2006. While a good player, his impact on the economy versus Ellison- no contest.

Larry Ellison

Jim Johnson

Oracle revenue of $214.8B

Net profits of $54.2B

120,000 employees

Stock up 235%

Pitched 421 innings

Lifetime record of 21-28

124 saves

ERA: 3.25

The argument over CEO pay is old and will only become more contentious as pay edges higher. The understanding of the demands facing these CEOs will never be appreciated as long as their time is compared to someone grilling burgers or working in the mailroom. Do not get me wrong, I think the person on the Quarter Pounder grill or in the mailroom could one day be the CEO. However, that journey requires learned skills that are more exceptional than the ability to run fast in the 40- yard dash.

Black, Brown, or Female Need Not Apply

Google shocked the nation by voluntarily revealing its corporate diversity. There were several storylines in the news.

Google’s Diversity Problem


Tech Jobs

Non-Tech Jobs

Leadership Jobs

















This is critical news that we all should stand up and make a decision to fix. Probably the least contributing factor is actual racial or gender discrimination by Google. I am sure there is a mostly white geeky culture that is as clubby as any other sub-culture. Nevertheless, it is about a skill set driven by sacrifice and hard work, and supported by a great education (not always from a school system).

I am not sure how and why young girls are dissuaded from science and engineering careers, but it happens between grade school and high school. The problem has gotten worse as the glare of the spotlight has become more intense. There is a cultural aspect to this, including an intimidation factor, and the notion that science and technology are not fun. Some do not perceive this as "girly" stuff. This is a difficult problem, and one that many people are trying to "correct."

I do know for Blacks and Hispanics, that the big problem has been liberals protecting us from difficult courses that might mean lower grades. Therefore, we get a free pass or are discouraged from pursuing more intellectually challenging opportunities. Parents that buy into this notion because it is great their kid is getting A's, have to accept responsibility when the real world does not grade on the curve, and finally introduces competition and real accountability.

I understand that poor schools may not have computer labs, but the core of the issue is that students are being mollycoddled, and the learning focus is about injustices of the past, and all about the meanness of the current world.

Google can try to fix its situation, but skills needed for their jobs are a process that begins when a kid is young. The fact is tech companies are in desperate need for people with the right skills, and even fewer white Americans have the proper skills. With public schools watering down grades, removing the notion of competition, and re-defining intelligence, the entire nation is going to have trouble getting these high- paying jobs, which means more visas or more outsourcing.

Moreover, I can only hope that we react with smart action, instead of indignant outrage at these stories. CEO pay is not hurting America or Americans; it is a lack of skills, and the long embrace of excuses and mediocrity, that are at the heart of income inequality, and the failure to achieve the great American Dream.