Friday, September 26, 2008

380 Years

That's how long it would take a worker making 50 thousand dollars a year to equal the pay and bonuses which may be given to the WaMu CEO for 3 weeks of work.

Alan Fishman was hired on September 8th to replace former WaMu CEO Kerry Killinger and help turn the troubled bank around. For those 3 weeks of work, before WaMu failed and was bought by JPMorgan Chase, Mr. Fishman's contract could allow him to receive 19 million dollars.

That just doesn't seem right.

There's an interesting graph of the increasing divide between the very rich and the rest of America at Visualizing Economics

Several things jump out from the graph -
  • In 1980 (the last year before Reagonomics, trickle down for the poor and middle class, and tax cuts for the richest of the rich) the bottom 90% of American families had an average income of $30,446. By 2006 a comparable average family income, adjusted for inflation, was $30,374. In other words this average family's annual income in terms of purchasing power, decreased by $72 between 1980 and 2006. The upper .01% of America's richest families did a lot better. They took in 5.4 million in 1980 and by 2006 had increased their income more than 5 fold to 29.6 million.
  • There's a direct correlation between reduction of the marginal tax rate for the super rich and the growing income divide between the super rich and the rest of America.
  • The top .01% of America income is almost 1000 times that of the bottom 90%. I'm all for rewarding individual effort and utilizing free markets with adequate regulations but there is something seriously wrong with our income distribution when we consider that one child in six lives in poverty.
This disparity is particular troubling when you look at this Poverty Map. As of 2006 the poverty line is defined by the federal government to be $10,400 for a single person and $21,200 for a family of four.

Approximately 1 person in 8 lives in poverty. For people under 18 years of age the figure is approximately 1 person in 6.