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Money Money Money

By Dian Vujovich

By now you’ve probably realized that one of my big gripes is the huge disparity in incomes between those who roost at the top and those considered middle-income wage earners. Until that spread lessens considerably, the hope that American’s will return to the America it once was where disposable income was a part of most individual’s daily lives is dicey.

Unless, of course, numbers of people— related or not— all start living together under one roof so that their combined incomes will be able to afford them all the staples necessary for living that middle-class life style. That means, having the money to pay for food, their children’s educations whether they be the incidental costs of a public K-12 education or college costs, as well as the ability to pay their taxes, medical care costs and to save for both a rainy day and a very very long retirement.

In The Wall Street Journal today, a couple of facts on this subject caught my eye. This first relates to median family income: Frank Levy, a scholar of income trends at MIT notes that in constant 2005 dollars, the median family income “rose from $22,000 to $50,000 during the period of the end of World War 11 through 1980. Since then, except for a bump up in the latter 1990’s, median family income has been relatively flat. In fact, Census Bureau statistics show it actually fell from 2000 to 2007.”

The second item was about executive pay.

According to research conducted by the WSJ, here are the 2008 compensation packages of the top five CEOs: Motorola’s Sanjay K. Jha’s package totaled $104 million; Occidental Petroleum’s Ray R. Irani’s was $49.9 million; Robert A. Iger at Walt Disney received $49.7 million; Citigroup’s Vikram S. Pandit, $38.2 million; and Louis C. Camilleri of Phillip Morris International, $36.4 million.

Since executive pay is a hot topic these days, for a very thorough look at CEO pay and the various compensation plans received, there’s more information than you can imagine at The Wall Street Journal Online, under a story titled, “The Wall Street Journal Survey of CEO Compensations.” (http://graphicsweb.wsj.com/php/CEOPAY09.html)

As for the figures relating to the incomes of the average Jane and Joe Workerbee, Parade Magazine points their salaries out once a year. No study of their compensation packages is typically included, or really needed, when it runs.

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