We all want to be rich, right? But, it seems, that no one can get ahead, right? No matter how much you skrimp and save and do without, you never have extra at the end of the month, right? Then along comes a report like this: 85 people have 1/2 the wealth on all the earth. Well, that’s the problem, isn’t it? You can’t get ahead because **they** have it all. If **they** wouldn’t have so much you could have more. It isn’t fair that **they** have so much. What they lose in a rounding error could fund you for the rest of your life.
Have I got the thinking right?
The next step in that thinking is having the government mandate something. Perhaps a maximum limit on what one can earn in a year. Perhaps a 90% tax on what people make over a certain amount. Perhaps something else. I think that is the wrong approach. Government shouldn’t be involved in that sort of thing: people should have the freedom (read incentive) to make as much as they would like. Without that, there is a limit that people can’t go beyond.
I hear it now: so you think it is right? No. I think that CEOs making a metric ton of money more than other employees is just wrong. There’s no reason for it. Sure, he should make more; however, there’s more to it. Remember Henry Ford?
What did Henry Ford do? Besides invent the assembly line. Invent charcoal briquettes. He paid his workers $5 per day.
Now, it wasn’t all what you think. There was some bonus in there along with a bonus for living like Ford thought you should. But it was still enough to afford his product. As Forbes points out, that isn’t a golden standard (Boeing can’t pay its employees enough to make an airplane); however, I think one can see the ideal. I think CEOs have fallen prey to the “I’ve made it I’m going to get mine” mentality that is so prevalent in America now. All the way up to Pres. Obama with his jetting off to Hawaii and having secret birthday parties for Michelle, people who have “made it” have a feeling entitlement and are going to milk it for all they can.
I think they have forgotten that there are people who support them. Without those people, the leader wouldn’t be anywhere. But, I don’t think it is for a government to mandate a certain level of income or earning. Why? Just like the government has no business telling me what I can think or say, I don’t think they should be able to tell me what I could earn. That is for me (and my employer) to decide. Why? Principle.
While the idea of someone else controlling public speech seems ok, it quickly turns south if the person doing the controlling disagrees with you. Earnings are the same. As long as the limit is “enough” you are ok with it. But what happens when someone else decides you have too much? The same thing. The same thinking applies for speech and earning potential.
Image from jon bennett via flickr