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The More Things Change

By Dian Vujovich

There’s a cool Web site that let’s you guess the salary of four high-power execs. But before going there, I’ve gone through some of my stash of very old Parade Magazine “What People Earn” stories only to learn that jobs, pay and worries seem to be a natural part of our landscape.

Back in 1995, for instance, the highest wage earners on that magazine’s front page in June of 1996 showed that actor Jim Carrey had earned $29 million; Demi Moore, $12 million; Mary Kay Ash, the cosmetic queen, $500,000; Bill Clinton was president and took home $200,000; and Edward Smith, a car dealer in Texas, walked away with $100,000.

On the other end of the spectrum was Jean Adkisson who earned $15,000 as an information specialist, Jose Loaiza’s hospital maintenance job paid him$17,000 and Katherine Freund brought home $18,000 as a car-service owner. Guess she didn’t work for Smith.

In 1995, unemployment and inflation were at 5.6 percent and 2.5 percent, respectively; the federal deficit, $163.9 billion; corporate profits were up 11.8 percent; and the stock market rose 37.6 percent that year.

During the first quarter of 1996, 170,00 jobs were lost—74 percent more than during the first quarter of 1995.

As for exec’s, their salaries soared and averaged $4.4 million while the average American worker felt they weren’t getting anywhere no matter hard they toiled. Depending upon where in the country one lived, salaries ranged from an average low of $16,531 in Mississippi to an average high of $32,234 in Washington D.C. Data from the Census Bureau reported that the median income in 1973 was $37,838 and $38,782 in 1994.

This year’s April 12th issue reported an average weekly salary in 2008 of $613. Times 52 that equals $31.876.

Slow economic growth was predicted for the rest of the decade and into the 21st century because of the changing global economy. The article noted, “Unemployment insecurity will probably be a fact of America life for the foreseeable future.”

Bummer. Who knew Parade Magazine was a visionary publication?

Back to that fun web site, take a minute to play there. You may be surprised at how much you know about who’s earning what. Address: http://www.americanexeccheck.com .

To read more articles, please visit the column archive.

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