The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Stupid Money

There's something particularly galling about a nationally-recognized progressive playing the class warfare card in an effort to divide citizens for political advantage. There's something even more galling about a nationally-recognized progressive criticizing the compensation of business executives (CEOs) and by extension, business owners, but never, ever suggesting that compensation for those in the arts, music or even sports is out of line with average incomes. Finally, there's something eminently galling about a nationally-recognized progressive who makes stupid money, not by actually accomplishing anything in the private sector, but by playing off the potential for influence based on past, present or future positions in the public sector. Hillary and Bill Clinton hit the trifecta in this regard.

Over the past month, Ms. Clinton has refused to grant press interviews, but she has spent time suggesting that “There’s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the American worker.”

For just a moment, forget that this outrageous statement isn't true, except in the most limited sense of looking solely at the compensation of CEOs at the country's 350 top corporations. The other 250,000 CEOs of small, moderate and even large companies make an average of $181,000—good money, but no more than 4 times the income of an "average" worker. Given the responsibility, the hours, the risk and the experience required, that is hardly unfair.

According to their own financial disclosure statements, Hillary and Bill Clinton earned in excess of $25 million dollars giving 104 speeches since the beginning of 2014. As someone who has collected much, much, much smaller speaker's fees over my career, I can safely state that an average of $240,384 per speech is stupid money, particularly when the 'wisdom' imparted has virtually no value in any real sense.

James Taranto comments:
According to the Census Bureau, the median household income in 2009-13 was $53,046. The Clintons took in 339 times that amount in speaking fees alone. (The figure would be higher if we included other sources of income, especially Mrs. Clinton’s more than $5 million in book royalties).

Someone earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour would have to work 2.48 million hours—or about 1,240 years at 40 hours a week with two weeks’ vacation—to take in gross pay of $18 million. To put it another way, a couple working 2,000 hours a year each—considerably more time than the Clintons’ speeches too—would have to earn $4,500 an hour to reach $18 million.
But wait. Hillary is a strong proponent of raising the minimum wage. Let's take the progressives favorite number—$15.00 per hour. That would help a lot, right? With the new "living wage," a worker at the lowest pay level would only have to work 1.24 million hours to earn parity with Ms. Clinton.

I'll give Hillary Clinton this—she has chutzpa. Only a liberal icon who has become filthy rich by trading on her public service would have the gall to criticize private sector executives for earning too much money.