Robert Reich Says We Should Set A ‘Maximum Wage’ For Top Executives


The minimum wage has not kept pace with inflation, this is a fact that not even Republicans attempt to refute, at least not that I’ve seen. But do you know what has far outpaced inflation? Executive pay. According to a Facebook post by former labor secretary Robert Reich, when minimum wage was first enacted in 1935 it was “intended to represent society’s sense of minimally decent pay.” Reich says at that time “executives were paid about 20 to 30 times the average wage.” But we all know what has happened over the decades.

• • •

The Supply Side Lie

Post war until roughly the 1970s, increases in income in all quintiles more or less moved together. The bottom quintile increased with the top quintile. Since the 70s, the top two quintiles continued to grow, with the top quintile actually accelerating (although to be fair, it corrected/adjusted during the Great Recession, but only modestly). But since the 1970s, the bottom three quintiles have been pretty much flat.

• • •

Economic Inequality Is A Clear And Present Danger To American Democracy

The phrase “clear and present danger” is the standard by which freedom of speech can be abridged. As the saying goes, nobody has the right to shout “fire” in a theater. The United States Supreme Court began citing this standard in 20th century rulings, reaffirming that freedom of speech stops at the point where it puts pubic safety in peril. The idea is controversial, but it should be understood that constitutional rights are not absolute. Whether you agree with this standard as it applies to freedom of speech, is of little importance here. It only matters that you understand what it means, because economic inequality is a clear and present danger to American democracy.

• • •

Taxing The Rich: A Liberal Argument For A Progressive Tax System To Grow The Economy

Conservatives will play the “class warfare” card if you dare mention a tax increase on the rich. And if you talk about income inequality, well, this means you are simply envious, and you are trying to “punish success.” But for this conservative “logic” to be rational, wouldn’t we have to consider the current progressive tax system to also be unfair? — Well, as it turns out, that is exactly what many conservatives say about progressive taxation, but it doesn’t mean their assessment is sound.

• • •

Corporate Profits Soar, But Republicans Refuse To Raise Minimum Wage

We know corporate profits are hitting all-time highs, yet here we are having a debate with the protectors of corporate wealth over raising the minimum wage. I feel like responding to these people like Neo responded to Agent Smith in The Matrix. “Yeah, well that sounds like a really good deal. But I think I’ve got a better one. How about…I give you the finger, and you give us a fair wage.” — Wait, I’m getting reports that I might not have gotten that exactly right. Seems I was off a smidgen. Maybe “the finger” part. Two fingers?

• • •

Fact of the Day: Executive Compensation Is A Corporate Tax Deduction – Yes, That’s Really A Thing

Obviously I’ve had my head buried in the sand, because I was totally unaware that corporations can deduct executive pay from their federal income taxes. So what this means is, average tax payers are subsidizing a tax deduction for some of the richest corporations on the planet. And that might be fine if it was a tax deduction meant to spur something for the good of society. But no, it’s just a tax deduction that helps wealthy fucks pay other wealthy fucks large sums of money. — Robert Reich explains it with a lot more restraint than I.

• • •