Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Disconnect Continues

You know what – I think CEOs get paid way too much. Though I roll my eyes at the overalls-wearing yahoos #occupyingwallstreet at the moment, I understand the emotion. I’d rather see people who are struggling to find work or working away at jobs that don’t pay a living wage get the jobs and the money they need to live more fulfilling lives than to see rich people get richer.

But there’s a subtle disconnect, I think, between raging at CEO pay and, in turn, raging when others “don’t get their due” as they or we think they should.

Right now, voice actors for “The Simpsons” and Fox Studios are in a battle over pay in which the studio is threatening to Kancel Krusty if the actors don’t agree to a 45% pay cut.

On paper that sounds completely egregious. If my employer asked me for a 45% pay cut, you can bet I’d don overalls and have fun storming the castle. But when you’re talking about a pay cut that would drop an actor’s pay from roughly $8 million a year to $4 million a year, I have to ask, in that smarmy C. Montgomery Burns voice, “Oohhh! And I’ll bet they were going to buy that ivory-handled back-scratcher. Blast their hide to Hades!”

Even in California, a guy could live on $4 million a year. I know I could.

But, you may counter, the greedy, greedy studios are making money money money while asking for the actors to take a pay cut. Yes they are. But that doesn’t mean the overpaid actors have any more need of the money than do the greedy studios. Note I said need, not right. By right, well, I’m not going to argue who ought to have the money. Pay the writers more. Pay the animators in South Korea more. Pay everybody associated with the production more so that, by golly, they all have better lives. Let’s all go to the lobby and have ourselves some snacks. But do the actors really “need” $8 million a year, just as do those greedy banking CEOs need their multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses every year? Not hardly.

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