Nothing is Obscene– if this isn’t

If your lowest paid worker has to work for 68 years, or a total of 591,412 hours, to make what you earn in one hour, motherfucker, that is obscene.  

If you already have more money than you and your spawn could spend in 1,000 years, (even if you all wipe your asses with hundred dollar bills every day and light $100 cigars with burning $100 bills), and you defend your absolute right to have more than that, that is obscene.  

If you live in the richest country in the world, paying a lower tax rate than your secretary,  and that country has a rate of infant and maternal mortality as high as many “shithole” countries, that, motherfucker, is obscene.  

I could go on, but you get the point.  I am just one irrationally angry, judgmental, ill-born loser bastard venting into the cold wind of Cyberia.

Abigail Disney, (inheritor of around a half a billion from the Disney estate), is a brilliant and accomplished woman, a social activist and a respected documentary filmmaker.  Who knew?   I hadn’t heard of her until the other day, when she got some press for writing an op-ed in the Washington Post, following a series of tweets that apparently blew up social media.   It was a good op-ed, you can read it here.  [1]

She writes, in part:

I had to speak out about the naked indecency of chief executive Robert Iger’s pay. According to Equilar, Iger took home more than $65 million in 2018. That’s 1,424 times the median pay of a Disney worker. To put that gap in context, in 1978, the average CEO made about 30 times a typical worker’s salary. Since 1978, CEO pay has grown by 937 percent, while the pay of an average worker grew just 11.2 percent.

This growth in inequality has affected every corner of American life. We are increasingly a lopsided, barbell nation, where the middle class is shrinking, a very few, very affluent people own a great deal and the majority have relatively little. What is more, as their wealth has grown, the super-rich have invested heavily in politicians, policies and social messaging to pad their already grotesque advantages.

She excoriates Disney corporation (in her personal capacity as a human, only) for paying its CEO $65,000,000 last year while giving each of its regular employees a generous $1,000 bonus for the bounteously profitable year they all had over at Disney.

Once again, Ms. Disney points out that in 1978 average CEO pay was 30X the median income of the worker in the corporation.   That has since exploded, to something like 500X (you’ll have to read her op-ed for the exact number, I ain’t turning off ad blocker for Mr. Bezos or anyone else).  Again, the typical American CEO has seen their compensation increase by 937% since 1978, workers 11.2%.  Fair is fair.  

The CEO/worker income disparity is much less grotesque in Japan and most other places, Ms. Disney points out. America, land of the free and home of the insatiably greedy (and entitled to be as obscenely greedy as they wanna be).  

Abby Disney set off a shit storm when she stated, in a tweet she wrote prior to her op-ed, “there is nobody on Earth [who is] worth 500 times his median workers’ pay.”[24]    It’s hard to disagree with that statement.

Although, one realizes after looking around just a bit, that 500 times is, by current American standards, a modest differential.   The CEO of Disney that Abby Disney complains of made almost three times 500 times more.

Of course, there’s also the absurd touch of Abby Disney’s crie de coeur of an op-ed being published in a prestigious newspaper owned by a man who makes more than 500,000 times what his lowest paid workers do.

I have been shocked at the lack of shock with which the hideous tidbit about Bezos making $191,000 a minute while paying workers $15 an hour has been greeted by everyone I know.   They yawn, resigned, horrified that I am once again bringing it up.  Yeah, it sucks, they eventually agree (to get me talking about something else) but what can you do?  

“But he makes 591,412 times what his lowest paid worker makes,” I say.  They nod, yes, it’s fucking terrible, awful, where do you want to go for dinner Saturday?

Personally, I haven’t been able to get over the computations made by those rabid communist America-haters over at Business Insider about the income of Amazon genius (and Washington Post owner) Jeff Bezos. Jeff’s  income, broken down by the hour, comes to a shade under $9,000,000 — $8,961,187 an hour.   That comes out to $191,000 per minute for a man who does not allow his workers to unionize but voluntarily pays them the proposed federal minimum wage of $15 an hour.  It is more than half a million times what his warehouse worker makes, 597,412 times.   [2]

My friends, my enemies, if this situation is not obscene, the endless, bottomless greed that is currently raping the earth itself to death, and the moralistic defenders of the smug entitlement of these obscenely greedy, tax-dodging “job creating” parasites, what is obscene?

If the right to have 100,000 times more than you need, with no obligations to the society that made you so rich, (while neighbors are hungry and widespread despair drives an ever increasing number of American suicides,) is not an obscene thing to insist on, what is obscene?

Can you tell me that?  Thanks, and have a nice day!

[1] I can’t presently read it myself, to quote from it directly, as I’d intended, because it is blocked by this message from the good bots at Jeff Bezos’s Washington Post who point out that it is unfair of me to freeload by both not paying for my twice a month visits to their site and also, selfishly blocking ads that are the very lifeblood of any profitable business.  

Screen shot 2019-04-26 at 1.59.46 PM.png

The impulse to monetize EVERYTHING is the strongest impulse in our current unipolar, unapologetically capitalist world, apparently.   The Age of Surveillance Capitalism (read Shoshana Zuboff’s amazing book) we are living in is a new, ruthless, superficially benign, regime of a kind of all-encompassing inhuman commercial fascism.   Hold on to your fucking hats, kids.

[2]  This average salary is an interesting question.   If you take the average of Jeff’s $8,961,187 hourly wage and an average line worker’s $15 an hour, the two workers average $4,480,601 hourly compensation.  Nice money if you can get it.

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