Where did it all begin? When as a society did we decided anyone with a good job and salary is the enemy? There has been loathing of doctors for a long time over pay issues. Loathing for other top-earners has been less intense until now. Now, anyone making more than $30,000 a year is the problem vexing our economy and society. But are they really the pariahs we make them out to be?
Over the weekend I read an article on Yahoo (I will not provide a link as it will be a broken link before long) that shouted a small town in California is up in arms over lifeguards making over $200,000 per year. The reality is far from the headline. Exactly two people in the entire department made over $200K in wages and benefits. These two people worked there for over 20 years and were in management, not sitting on the lifeguard towers. However, people interviewed thought lifeguards should work for free since they get to watch girls in bikinis all day long. Really! The lifeguards make in the mid-teens per hour. They are trained and work long hours, getting overtime pay on a regular basis. Is it really a crime to pay people for working a job? Especially if they enjoy the work?
Earlier this year the teachers got kicked around by the state of Wisconsin due to the perceived excess wages and benefits teachers receive. So it is wrong to make a good living teaching our children? I think it more productive to work on education solutions preparing our children for our high tech economy. Does it make more sense to keep our best teachers, pay them well, and work together toward solutions everyone can live with?
What is the psychology behind this "hate the well-paid people" movement? The message is clear. When you despise someone for making more money you are in effect telling your own mind you also deserve less no matter how hard you work. There are people that are overpaid. There are underpaid people, too. Shooting the rich will not make the poor better off; it will not lower unemployment or balance the budget. It will just make everyone afraid to get that better paying job for fear of being shot next. Sounds like radical socialism to me. How did that work out for the Soviets?