The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant must immediately indulge in a side rant: The venerable New York Times has a headline this morning that reads “Deconstructing the Westminster Dog Show.” Had the ghost of Jacques Derrida returned to ruminate on the meaning of dogness in our current culture? Would columnists be tracing the origins of the word “best” and demonstrating the disconnect between its Greek origins and the devaluation of excellence in a consumer economy? We breathlessly clicked on the link to discover pictures of adorable dogs and blog posts. That word you are using. We do not think it means what you think it means1. Please stop. The Rant also pleads for no more deconstructed food or reality show recaps. For what it’s worth, we had our money on the Borzoi but the pointer was fine; as long as one of those damn poodles don’t win. The Rant suspects they smoke cigs backstage while watching pretentious Dogma 95 movies.
Now to the Rantin’ proper: We would like to congratulate Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, for receiving $34.1 million in compensation in 2014. That’s right, the year of the Ray Rice domestic abuse scandal, overturned suspensions, concussion foot-dragging, and general mayhem. The Rant’s mind boggles at what Goodell might make if he were merely competent at his job. We assume he will receive some sort of Mediocrity Bonus for topping himself in 2015 with the Deflategate debacle.
Yet Goodell’s pay is absolutely reasonable when compared with other CEOs. The commissioner makes roughly 20 times more than the average NFL player, which is in line with the 20-to-1 difference that existed in the mid-60s. Everyone else? The pay disparity for the top 350 US companies is a whopping 303-to-1. From 1974 to 2014, CEO pay increased 1,000% while average worker pay saw an advance of only 11%.
The idea that a CEO brings 303 times more value to a company than an average worker is a complete joke. In fact, the Economic Policy Institute found there was no correlation between pay and performance; rather CEOs know how to manipulate their boards to extract ever increasing compensation. And when they actually destroy a company, they wave goodbye with a severance package worth millions and move on to the next suckers . . . we mean company.
So The Rant would encourage our faithful readers to remember that in this election year, when some candidate blathers on and on about how we can’t possibly raise the minimum wage or increase benefits, to politely ask why the people at the top always get theirs when those of us at the bottom are doing all the work with no share of the bounty.