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Separating the haves and the have-nots

by Jim Longworth

A disparity has always existed in America between the salaries of business owners and those of their employees. There’s nothing wrong with that. After all, it’s the natural order of things in a capitalist society.

But when that disparity grows to obscene proportions, and to the detriment of workers, then it’s time for a closer look.

Last week during an interview Rep. Barney Franks (D-Mass) cited a Harvard study on compensation for the top five officers in the top 1,500 companies.

Five years ago, their salaries accounted for 5 percent of after-tax profits. Today, they comprise 11 percent.

To put it more obscenely, in 1980 CEOs’ salaries were 42 times that of the average worker.

Today, CEOs make 531 times the salary of an average worker.

‘ These are the same men who are closing factories here and opening them in Mexico and China. These are the same men who retire as millionaires even if the company is not performing well.

These are the same men who move jobs from one state to another according to which locality can give them the most perks. And these are the men who continue to lay off American workers when the company isn’t profitable.

News flash: Maybe if the CEOs paid themselves less, there would be money left over to pay employees. Shareholders need to start re-examining salary disparities, and if the trend continues, the government should investigate the link between excessive pay and layoffs.

I’m all for making money, but today’s CEOs are giving the term ‘“gross revenue’” a whole new meaning.

Jim Longworth is host of ‘“Triad Today’” which can be seen Friday mornings at 6:30 a.m. on ABC 45 (cable channel 7), and Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on UPN 48 (cable channel 14).

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