Close wealth gap for health of our economy

Okay, something’s gone wacky.

In a way that is endangering our way of life.

A CBC headline earlier this week tells us that according to an annual review by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives top Canadian CEOs earned the average worker’s entire salary by lunchtime on Jan. 2. And lest you think they were lowballing the average salary, they went with a fairly comfortable $46,634, not the paltry $21,000 earned by someone working full time making minimum wage.

So what’s wrong with that, you ask.

These guys (and gals) are heads of big corporations. They have a lot of responsibility.

Of course these are not easy jobs, and we agree that these folks deserve to be compensated fairly. Everyone deserves to be compensated fairly.

But there’s the rub. CEO salaries are going up at a hugely inflated rate compared to the average worker.

There is a large disparity occurring that threatens to turn us into a society without a middle class – a society of haves and have nots, with the haves a tiny portion of the population and the have nots the vast majority.

The average Canadian worker’s salary has grown by just six per cent between 1998 and 2012.

During that same period CEO pay has skyrocketed an astonishing 73 per cent.

That’s an awfully big money drain right at the top. Sometimes the corporations in question aren’t even doing very well financially, so performance isn’t the issue.

When we create this society of a few with a lot, and a lot with almost nothing, we set up an increasingly bleak future.

Without a critical mass of middle class folks making halfdecent salaries who can afford cars, homes and vacations, we set up an economic disaster.

A few very rich folks cannot buy and consume enough to make up for a large number of people buying and consuming.

So even more people end up on the wrong side of the balance sheet as small employers can no longer employ, and even those who are employed can’t afford to buy.

We need to decrease the wealth gap, and we need to do it now.

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