Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Relative wage law would rein in inequality

    To rein in this country’s growing inequality in wealth, we need not only a minimum wage law but also a relative wage law. Such a law would require companies of a certain size or larger to pay their lowest-paid employees a minimum percentage of the wage paid to the highest-paid employee.
    Thirty years ago, the average salary of a chief executive officer was 40 times that of the average-paid worker. That was already a great discrepancy. But now, that figure has risen to 300 times that of the average worker. That's obscene. CEOs and other high-level executives get paid millions of dollars a year not because their companies need to pay so much to get competent help but because they sit on the boards of directors of other companies and award each other huge salaries. Their salaries aren't the result of a free market but of an unfair system rigged by a clique of the 1 percent.
    Since a relative wage law would apply only to employees, it would not affect entrepreneurs who own their own businesses. Unlike an income tax increase, it would not discourage the creation of wealth. In fact, it would encourage people to start small businesses.
Joseph and Elizabeth Miczulski

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