Getting by on $100,000
You have now been warned and, I hope, immunized. You will not react to the following by saying “Why that’s utterly un-American! etc.”
Ready? Here we go....
In America, starting now, no person will be compensated more than $100,000 a year.
That’s enough, already.
With that lid comes universal health care, no income taxes (with one exception—see below), an adequate pension, the best schools in the world and guaranteed food and decent housing for all. There will be so little crime, the nation will be down to two or three prisons.
We might even see such a shift in values that we will disband our military, saving trillions of dollars and thousands of lives.
Starting today, your financial compensation and your perceived or proclaimed “worth” are separate concepts. You aren’t paid what you have been told you were “worth.” Your worth yesterday was what some kept “compensation” firm or over-paid board of directors told you that you were “worth.”
Today, your pay can not exceed $100,000. If, like many well-to-do, you get your kicks by being told that you are “worth” millions more than the next executive or hedge fund manager, you can still be told that. You just won’t be paid it.
To assuage your ego, I suggest a badging system like medals pinned on generals’ uniforms.
“My company has put my ‘worth’ at $50 million,” you can brag, pointing to your $50 million badge. Of course, you’ll look like a fool, but that’s your choice.
But, just to be clear, that so-called displayed “worth” is $49,900,000 more than your are actually paid, and everyone knows it.
In fact you are paid exactly what someone who is really “worth” $100,000 is paid.
Isn’t that unfair?
Not really, because the current “compensation” game is rigged and the executive market is grossly and dangerously inflated.
I contend that if you feel it is really important that you be paid 300 times what a line worker in your company is paid, or 3000 times what some off-shore worker is being paid by your company, you aren’t even “worth” $100,000. In fact, you might be worthless. A liability. The door is over there.
Some might even suggest that you morally bankrupt. I’ve even hear it said that you are insane. Delusional. Sociopathic.
So what happens to the difference between your alleged “worth” and your real compensation? That $49,900,000.
See those benefits above? The excess pays for them — for you and literally thousands of others. That’s right, thousands. Do the math.
“But I can’t get by on $100,000 a year,” you complain.
“Try it. You’ll like it.”
Yes, you’ll live simply (and discover how much you don’t need), stop destroying the environment through overconsumption, be contributing to a more prosperous, equitable society, be helping thousands less fortunate than you (most will be making considerably less than $100,000 annually) and you and your corporation will no longer have a reason to rig the political system and make a sham of democracy.
You will also recognize just how important public services, equality and fairness are to you, your fellow executives and everyone else.
You owe that $50 million “worth” of yours to the nation’s infrastructure (now crumbling), its schools (now in crisis) and thousands of public workers (now having their rights taken from them) who keep the nation humming along so your company can afford your bloated “worth.”
Well, won’t this all contribute to a massive brain drain to other countries? Not if you keep your American citizenship. You may be paid abroad, but a “foreign earnings” tax kicks in. It claims everything over $100,000. Sorry.
If you can’t live with that, leave.
Won’t there be unintended consequences? Like empty mansions, plummeting Mercedes sales, and uneaten caviar. Absolutely.
It’s all part of living simply and fairly. It will mean getting rid of status symbols and discovering that life’s real gifts are available to all, even you.
Trust me, with time, you’ll get your values straight. You will even come to appreciate your own true value — as a human being.