COLUMN: Everyone worth more than they get

I read an interesting story on CBC’s website the first day back at work after the holidays.

I read an interesting story on CBC’s website the first day back at work after the holidays.

It told me that by the time I ate my chicken salad sandwich at about noon on Jan. 3, Canada’s top 100 chief executive officers had already earned that morning what I would earn all year long.

With rising gas, home heating, electricity, water, property tax and ferry rates, my paycheque gets far less mileage than it did even two years ago.

It’s the same for most Canadians, whose annual wages or salaries have stagnated, or worse, declined over the past few years.

A recent report by the left-leaning Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives revealed that top CEOs continue to gain financial ground, making almost 200 times more in salary than the average worker, who earns about $44,000 annually before taxes.

The people in the country’s top private offices earn about $8.3 million annually on average, some significantly more.

Frank Stronach, president of Magna International, made about $60 million in 2011.

For a blue collar, hard-working city like Nanaimo, a stat like that is insulting until light is shed on the fact that by Jan. 9, these top 100 CEOs had already paid more in taxes than I’ll make all year, providing money to the federal government that Nanaimo asks for to build infrastructure, build water treatment facilities, or fund social services.

Is there financial inequity?

Maybe, but without these top earners, many of the programs low-income earners rely on wouldn’t be possible.

The rich guy always buys the beer. Shun him and you buy your own beer.

I can see the reasoning for the evident disdain of these fat cats, who live lifestyles most of us can only dream about.

What I don’t understand is why the people who look after important financial and insurance portfolios or innovators we all rely on to build our own wealth are villainized, while hockey, baseball and other athletes are paid tens of millions of dollars (paid for by fans) to perform a task that ultimately has no consequence on any of our lives, but are considered heroes.

Each time a top-paid NHLer takes a 30-second shift, he makes more than the average Canadian does in a month.

Where’s the outcry?

There is none.

Instead, we celebrate our athletes, pay hundreds of dollars to see them play and consider them role models.

Sports figures (as well as entertainers, etc.) aren’t responsible for sustaining the employment of other workers. CEOs are.

I do have a problem with the increasing disparity between what CEOs pay themselves and what goes to their workers, but we all have the ability to make as much money as we want, it’s just a question of the work we put in and risk we’re willing to apply to achieve our own personal goals.

One commentor on the online story wrote: “Nobody’s time is worth that much money.”

I disagree.

I think people cannot possibly be paid enough for their time.

I think everybody’s time is worth more than they receive in financial remuneration, so you might as well enjoy your work and get value from it in other ways.

Yeah, these top CEOs make a whack of cash, enough to tip the scales of financial equity and affect political decisions.

But don’t take it personally, it’s only business.

As David Dingwall famously lamented, “I’m entitled to my entitlements.” It all depends on how much you feel comfortable taking.

Nanaimo News Bulletin