The largest single chunk of the highest-income earners, it turns out, are executives and other managers in firms, according to a landmark analysis of tax returns by economists Jon Bakija, Adam Cole and Bradley T. Heim. These are not just executives from Wall Street, either, but from companies in even relatively mundane fields such as the milk business.This is what is tearing apart our country. Not two men wanting to be called spouses because they live together, wanting that relationship legally recognized by the state as a social good from which both corporate parties - the state and the couple - can benefit. It is the simple reality of stagnant worker wages, grossly overcompensated corporate senior management, and no social or legal mechanisms in place to check either trend. That is why we are on the brink of economic collapse.
Over the period from the ’70s until today, while pay for Dean Foods chief executives was rising 10 times over, wages for the unionized workers actually declined slightly. The hourly wage rate for the people who process, pasteurize and package the milk at the company’s dairies declined by 9 percent in real terms, according to union contract records. It is now about $23 an hour.
There are solutions, and they are actually known. Support for unionization of the workplace, with a legal infrastructure to support organization and collective bargaining. Higher corporate taxes, as well as higher marginal tax rates for the wealthy. Reinstituting the estate tax as well as the capital gains taxes at the levels they were at in the 1970's and early 1980's, encouraging charitable giving as well as less risky investment behavior.
For some reason, however, the disgusting disparity in wealth and its gaudy display are not seen as social evils to be battled, but rather social goods to be pursued. We are told, ad nauseum, that any time we point out the disparity and its corrosive effects on the social contract we are engaged in "class warfare". People who have much to gain from joining the ranks of such a conflict say stuff like this, repeating words they heard somewhere else, thoughtless automatons in our nation's downfall.
Gay marriage? It's becoming the law of the land, and it is only showing that we as a people are both smarter and more open than we used to be. Checking corporate extravagance and the underlying greed that drives it? That's not a sin!
That's the American way.