Good news on the economic
front — despite rising demand at Canadian food banks, none of the 100 highest-paid CEOs in Canada had to rely on charity to obtain a Christmas turkey.
According to news reports this week, the average annual income of the Top 100 CEOs is $8.4 million. That’s less than is paid to superstar puckster Sidney Crosby, but then, the headaches one gets from running a major corporation, though significant, don’t necessarily rival “concussion-like symptoms.”
Also newsworthy was that the average Canadian earns $44,366 per year, and the average Top 100 CEO had already earned that amount by 2:30 p.m. on the first workday of the new year, Jan. 2.
This information, based on 2010 statistics, was in a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, it should be noted, is “left-leaning,” meaning it still clings to the quaint and antiquated notion that fairness has anything to do with economics.
Meanwhile, at the other end of
the economic spectrum, full-time workers earning minimum wage take in an average $19,798 per year, ensuring a life of poverty, no matter where in the country they live.
Even unionized workers aren’t safe from the country’s marauding millionaires. In London, Ont., employees at a locomotive factory were locked out this week and told to take a 50 per cent wage cut. Henceforth, wages would start at $16.50 per hour. No word yet on whether area food banks were extra busy.
And that’s not all. The plant’s owner, Electro-Motive Diesel Inc., informed workers that the company would no longer contribute to their pension plan.
Caterpillar, the American parent company, pulled in an estimated US$58 billion in revenue in 2011, and earned a net profit of US$4 billion.
Understandably, the left-leaning Canadian Auto Workers howled about “corporate greed.”
Meanwhile, in Quebec, aluminum producer Rio Tinto Alcan shut down one of its smelters and locked out 800 unionized workers, but continued to operate “at two-thirds capacity by about 200 non-union staff.”
Paying for goals
Despite all the boasting about technology and progress and 21st-
century this and 21st-century that, there are a lot of feudal attitudes held by those with economic power.
We are reverting to a society of lords and peasants, although a main difference is that nowadays there’s less mud.
It has become a cliché to complain about the multimillions earned by athletes, rock stars and movie stars. But their salaries can easily be explained by supply and demand. Consider Crosby. If 15,000 people were willing to pay $200 each to watch you work, you too could demand $9 million from your employer.
If the most people were willing to pay was $20, Crosby would see his salary be relative to those ticket prices — $900,000, say. In the entertainment business, the relationship between earnings and what fans are willing to pay is fairly straightforward.
But the rules of supply and demand don’t explain the huge salaries of CEOs, or the growing gap between their earnings and those of their employees. (According to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Top 100 CEOs now earn 189 times as much as the average Canadian; in 1998, they earned 105 times as much.)
Some shills in the business media this week defended the salaries of Top 100 CEOs. A common argument is that Canadian CEOs are brilliant, and their competence adds value to their companies.
Fair enough. But this logic must also then be extended to other employees. Their competence creates earnings for the company, so, to be consistent, they also deserve top dollar for their efforts. Instead, Canadians’ earnings, in real terms, have been falling for years.
Brian Jones is a desk editor at The Telegram. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.