This weekend I went to a Collective Bargaining conference. I am on the bargaining team for my district’s next contract. I will not be blogging about that for obvious reasons…
Last night’s speaker was one that I could have listened to for hours. His name is Les Leopold. He is the Executive Director of the Labor Institute and Public Health Institute in New York. He did a great job of explaining our current economic mess in terms that we all can understand. He has a book coming out but I’m not sure when. If I wrote it down correctly, the title is “Fantasy Finance: A Citizen’s Guide to Wall Street Waste.” He likened it to a fantasy baseball league.
In a fantasy baseball league, people draft players for their team. And based on the statistics of real MLB games, the fantasy games are played. I can’t begin to paraphrase what he said. It made sense to even the non-math people in the audience. The bottom line is that if there’s a baseball strike, there are no real statistics to base the fantasy off of. Every fantasy baseball league comes to a grinding halt. We have reached the point when people can’t take on any more debt and are defaulting on their loans. This has the same effect as a MLB strike for the fantasy league. So the fantasy finance games that the banks have been playing have all crashed down and we’re all left to pick up the pieces.
I have no clue if that makes sense at all. I can’t do justice to the explanation he gave.
We were given some interesting statistics. Productivity has risen at a steady rate. The graph was distinctly linear. But wages have not increased with the productivity. Hence, there is a gap that starts to build in 1973 and gets wider and wider. Had teacher wages gone up with the productivity, our wages would now be an average of $97,722. So where did the money go?
When looking at data from the top 400 companies… In 1960, CEOs were paid $46 for every $1 for the average worker. In 1995, it was $141 for every $1. And in 2005, it was $441 for every $1.
When looking at just the top 100 companies… In 2000, CEOs were paid $1510 for each $1. In 2007, they had a little drop, but it was $1295 for every $1 the average employee makes.
The bottom line is that we’ve been screwed for years. And now, we (public sector workers) are sitting ducks because we’re the ones that have jobs. It will be very interesting to see how this big game all plays out.