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Letter: CEO Pay Has Risen to 240 Times That of the Average Worker

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Dear Justice,

I recently read an article that stated CEO pay had risen to 240 times that of the average worker in 2004. How can this be?

The headlines daily barrage us with depressing news of continued unemployment, new layoffs, healthcare coverage losses, a shriveling of the middle class, and a looming social security ‘crisis.’ These CEOs did not on their own create the wealth that they alone enjoy.

It took the whole of society to generate this great wealth. From janitors, production workers, phone reps, IT personnel, and salespeople to city workers who built the roads, dock workers who handled the shipping crates, teachers, healthcare workers – in short, all of society.

My volcanic rage returns one hundred fold when I think of my mother, a law-abiding, hard-working teacher living in poverty in substandard housing, doubled over beneath crushing debt incurred to supplement a poor salary to support a family of four. This is an unconscionable crime perpetrated against the vast majority of society.

How many others are there, how many others have/are feeling the flesh-rending lash of capitalism? A million, two, or is it 36 million of the U.S. population, according to the Census Bureau? How many stand in welfare, food stamp, and unemployment lines, forced to suffer daily degradation while a minority greedily leeches the wealth we create?

I believe we are embroiled in a war, a class war. A war that can know no reconciliations, no peace accords. A war that is a stark win-lose scenario. We can see clearly who, in this period, is currently winning. Yet, like any war, the tides can change.

– Bryan Watson, a disgusted wage-slave

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