Sunday, April 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Hold all to the same standard

A popular theme in liberal politics recently is income inequality. The Occupy Wall Street movement waged its political war with rhetoric about “the 1 percent.” It was one of the attacks used to discredit Mitt Romney as an appropriate candidate, a man who “could not relate” to the common folk.

As characterized in a recent film, the “Wolves of Wall Street” are seen by many as brutal and unethical manipulators who hoard money and leave little for the rest of us.

OK, so I can certainly see the legitimacy for anger and frustration about these matters in these tough economic times. However, is it fair to have selective outrage for fat-cat CEOs and somehow spare the rest of the .01 percent elites — the athletes and entertainers? I love sports, and particularly music, but should these people not be held to the same scrutiny?

Looking at the statistics from 2012, only the highest-paid CEO in the country rivaled the incomes of Steven Spielberg and Madonna. And, looking at the list of the highest-paid athletes from the same year, the top 10 salaries matched up nearly identically to CEOs.

Furthermore, the other popular comparison made to demonize CEOs — the increase in the ratio of their pay to the average worker over time — can be made pretty much identically with athletes and entertainers versus their fans. So, where’s the outrage? Is the money that ends up in Madonna’s overpriced purse somehow different than the money that ends up in some CEO’s Rolls Royce? Clearly, no!

So, how does our president weigh in on this? Well, I’ve heard him use the term “Wall Street fat cats,” but I don’t recall him using any similar language toward entertainers. In fact, he has called Hollywood an “economic engine.” And, in a quid pro quo fashion, the Hollywood crowd provides him great support, and, in fact, speaks out at times against income inequality and the evils of capitalism.

Leonardo DiCaprio reportedly was paid $10 million for “The Wolf of Wall Street.” I wonder what wolf (in sheep’s clothing, of course) negotiated that deal.

Greg Johnson
Davis

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Discussion | 9 comments

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  • Grant AcostaJanuary 24, 2014 - 7:30 am

    That's such an absurd comparison, all I can say is "that's such an absurd comparison."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Greg JohnsonJanuary 24, 2014 - 8:38 am

    Clever line Grant. Did you write that yourself?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Austin KerrJanuary 24, 2014 - 1:30 pm

    Grant, I'd be interested to learn why you think Greg's the comparison is absurd. Without sharing your line of reasoning, your comment does not contribute to the conversation but rather serves to shut down dialogue on the topic.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Grant AcostaJanuary 24, 2014 - 4:48 pm

    Austin - what you don't know is that Greg left the exact same reply to my comment on a previous dialogue strand. Read his reply here and it will make sense. I'm glad that you agree its a worthless comment! Unlike Greg, however, I will elaborate. For starters, if you do not want to pay an athlete or movie star millions of dollars, you don't have to. A professional sports team, for example, is free to decide whether or not a player's salary is worth the benefit. The team gets what they want, the player gets what he/she wants, and the fans get to decide if they want to buy tickets. No one is being deceitful and trying to cheat you. Much of the Wall St. wealth, however, is attained through trickery and deceit (insider trading, tax loopholes, etc.). The average person has no control of this behavior, so there is much more antipathy, deservedly so in my opinion, for extreme wealth accumulated on Wall St., and it warrants more scrutiny.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Greg JohnsonJanuary 24, 2014 - 5:38 pm

    As usual Grant, your reply irrational and untrue. Big CEOs are also hired by their companies voluntarily, and YOU (the consumer) can decide on whether you support the company by purchasing the product. There is no reason to believe insider trading is more common with CEOs. Entertainers have a lot of clout and connections as well. And, Austin, please check out my comment which followed some left field remark Grant threw in regarding anti-Israel bias (do search under Israel) and you'll see that it was just a nonproductive cheap shot as Grant is fond of delivering.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • January 24, 2014 - 7:12 pm

    Greg- you must be the most dishonest jerk on the planet!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • greg johnsonJanuary 24, 2014 - 8:46 pm

    Anon, where's the dishonesty?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • January 24, 2014 - 9:08 pm

    Greg, My (or anyone else's) "anon" comment doesn't make it incorrect, dishonest or less truthful. But, it might be something you need to accept.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Greg JohnsonJanuary 25, 2014 - 1:03 pm

    I was just looking for an explanation for your accusation. What is the lie?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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