As an opening shot in her recently launched race for president, Hillary Clinton criticized CEO pay. “There’s something wrong when CEOs make 300 times more than the typical worker,” she said at Kirkwood Community College in Monticello, Iowa.
Mrs. Clinton failed to mention the enormous earnings by husband Bill, Sarah Palin and other politicians on the national speakers’ circuit. They’re paid $250,000 and more per speech, plus costs of transportation, food and hotel lodging for their staffs where the event happens.
Of course, news about today’s grossly overpaid, overprivileged and overweight CEOs and other top executives has been a human factor since the first ambitious Neanderthal elected himself cave boss. Mrs. Clinton must know that Hannibal made at least 300 times more pay than his elephant handlers as they schlepped over the snowy Alps to invade Rome.
Today, many CEOs take home multimillion-dollar yearly salaries that are even more outrageous than those of sports and entertainment stars. However, during my 50-year business career, I never met a CEO who could act, sing, dance or hit a ball over the left-field fence. Or lead an army of elephants.
Let’s look on the bright side of their multimillion-dollar paydays. Despite the reality that they hire creatively dishonest accountants, they’re forced to give some of their enormous incomes to the government as taxes. For that, we can feel good that some of the money will be used positively to pay Bill Clinton’s million-dollar-a-year federal retirement pay and to feed thousands of hungry undocumented alien anchor babies.
CEOs, like ancient conquerors, kings, dictators, presidents and generals, don’t actually do anything productive. Their main responsibility is to just strut around looking important. And for that skill, according to Hillary Clinton, they get unfairly paid 300 times more than an ordinary, unimportant, unstrutting worker.
After my nearly 90 years of life, I find myself considering a radical turnaround. Until I heard Mrs. Clinton’s lament about the overpaid CEOs, my life had taken the normal political evolution: anarchist to student activist to radical to Democrat to Independent to not-quite Tea Party Republican. Now I fear I’m beginning to consider what old Vlad Lenin wrote: “Give us the child for eight years and it will be a Bolshevik forever.”
Because I’m furious that I never got to be one of those rich CEOs, my rewriting of Vlad’s inspiring words would be: “Give us the codger of 89 years and he will be a Bolshevik forever if someone will kindly volunteer to drive him to the voting booth.”
Ted Sherman is a contributing journalist for TheBlot Magazine. He will turn 90 on Aug. 8. He’s a U.S. Navy vet who served in World War II and the Korean War, and after a lifetime of writing for other people, he’s now sharing his opinions with the world at large for various publications and on his blog 90 Is The New Black. It’s a daily rant on current news, sports, health, travel, careers, entertainment, sports, relationships and, of course, problems of advanced age.