John Gruber’s Daringfireball.net led me to
by Nicholas Kristof.
Gruber’s DF lead-in posed an interesting question.
Nicholas Kristof on U.S. Income Inequality Nicholas Kristof argues that the U.S. is at the level of plutocratic banana republics:
CEOs of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent.
Step back and (for the moment) avoid passing judgment on whether this state of affairs is good or bad. What’s fascinating is that against this backdrop, last week’s election went to the Republicans, who admit that their top priority is passing large tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans. I know much has been written about this, but I think it defies easy explanation how economic policies that benefit so very few enjoy the support of so many.
Okay, my question is as follows:
How does one debate this point with liberals/progs?
I understand the simple point that what one earns, whether janitor or CEO, is simply no one’s business (perhaps not even the government’s), but I’m more interested in the implied connection between a a failing middle/lower class and the extreme rich making orders of magnitude more than their employees than they made in the past.
As a stockholder, I certainly don’t think the CEO’s of many of my companies deserve tens of millions of dollars (no matter what the revenues) when they are not the actual workers. But, as an owner of the company, I am within my rights to say so. As an outsider, I would not be.
Help me combat this. Please and thanks.