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.
Oracle revenue of $214.8B
Net profits of $54.2B
Stock up 235%
Pitched 421 innings
Lifetime record of 21-28
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.
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