Occupy Wall Street: Giving the Masses Someone to Hate

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President Barack Obama and the Democratic Party have led increasingly successful efforts to pit Americans against one another through the politics of hate and envy. Attacking CEO salaries, the president — last year during his Midwest tour — said, “I do think at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

Let’s look at CEO salaries, but before doing so, let’s look at other salary disparities between those at the bottom and those at the top. According to Forbes’ Celebrity 100 list for 2010, Oprah Winfrey earned $290 million. Even if her makeup person or cameraman earned $100,000, she earned thousands of times more than that. Is that fair? Among other celebrities earning hundreds or thousands of times more than the people who work with them are Tyler Perry ($130 million), Jerry Bruckheimer ($113 million), Lady Gaga ($90 million) and Howard Stern ($76 million). According to Forbes, the top 10 celebrities, excluding athletes, earned an average salary of a little more than $100 million in 2010.

According to The Wall Street Journal Survey of CEO Compensation (November 2010), Gregory Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, earned $87 million, Oracle’s Lawrence Ellison ($68 million) and rounding out the top 10 CEOs was McKesson’s John Hammergren, earning $24 million. It turns out that the top 10 CEOs have an average salary of $43 million, which pales in comparison with America’s top 10 celebrities, who earn an average salary of $100 million.

When you recognize that celebrities earn salaries that are some multiples of CEO salaries, you have to ask: Why is it that rich CEOs are demonized and not celebrities? A clue might be found if you asked: Who’s doing the demonizing? It turns out that the demonizing is led by politicians and leftists with the help of the news media, and like sheep, the public often goes along. Why demonize CEOs? My colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell explained it in his brand-new book, “The Thomas Sowell Reader.” One of his readings, titled “Ivan and Boris — and Us,” starts off with a fable of two poor Russian peasants.

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  • Isherwood

    Jealousy, fear and hate. Hmm, like what we read about George Soros and the other bogeyman that are pilloried on FrontPage everyday? It takes one to know one! If this is all you've got, right wingers, you are in bad shape!

    Keep'um occupied!

    • jmc610

      "Jealousy, fear and hate. Hmm, like what we read about George Soros and the other bogeyman that are pilloried on FrontPage everyday?"

      …no that's called the truth.

    • Dennis

      Hello Isherwood,

      Dr. Williams had to keep his commentary, well, "KISS" so the Occupiers could:

      1. Be able to read it
      2. Comprehend close to 50% of the words
      3. Do a "SHOW 'N TELL" with it for extra credit
      4. Return home before their parents reported them missing
      5. Maintain their SELF-ESTEEM and gravitas as "educated adults"

      Now, continue to practice that old Illusionist trick of MISDIRECTION for someone who actually gives a crap what you think.

  • ObamaYoMoma
  • tagalog

    The recitation of the names of celebrities who make $100 million or more is repulsive enough almost to make me agree with Roseanne Barr.

  • jewdog

    Correct, Walter. And why does anybody make "too" much? Because there is too little competition. If government would get out of the way and deregulate business so that more businesses could form, there would be greater competition and lower CEO salaries.
    It is the over-regulation of business, primarily by Democrats, that has led to a situation the Democrats abhor.

  • czander

    Prior to the 1980’s, layoffs were rare, because corporations and employees both recognized they were bad for both. Prior to the 1980’s generations of workers retired with defined pensions and lifelong benefits. When the focus shifted to the bottom line, the social compact between employer and employee was suddenly considered unprofitable and not in the interest of shareholder value. Gone was an appreciation of the complexity associated with thinking of the corporation as a “good citizen” or capable of “doing good” in the broader sense. The complexities associated with the social compact required critical thought and long term planning with all its nuances and competing benefits. But executives were taught this was a waste of time and money. In the late 1970’s business schools started moving away from critical thinking and the move away rapidly escalated in the 1980’s, as business professors and consultants told real and potential CEO’s they could use layoff’s and outsourcing as a main management method for pumping up stock prices. Executives taking a “bottom line” approach quickly abdicated their responsibilities associated with commitment to employees and life-time benefits. They dumped a value system that emphasized responsibility over profitability, and they rejected a belief that their success was based on obtaining satisfaction among all stakeholders. They were taught and accepted the idea that corporate stockholders had a higher moral claim on the corporation. CEO success shifted and was now exclusively measured by share price, dividends, and economic profit. This trend continues. According to Conference Board (2008), almost all industries show a reallocation of compensation toward stock and away from cash compensation. Furthermore, in an assessment of the largest 10 percent of companies in their sample, the median CEO holds about 100 times his or her salary in total stock and stock options in the company.

  • Texasron

    The progressives (formerly known as liberals) of this country should be proud. Their college professors have created a professional band of beggars. Those beggars are now occupying public spaces throughout the country and demanding that they not be held responsible for their debts. This is the ultimate society wanted by progressives – to live at someone else's expense.

  • Brujo Blanco

    I like the term communists insted of progressives or liberals. As far as I am concerned the opposite of capitalism is communism. We can end up being a soviet style communist state. Just ask Comrade Obama.