During his 2016 campaign, president Donald Trump promised to champion workers’ rights. Instead, he’s taken a sledgehammer to the working class, destroying the rights and protections that prevent employee abuse by bosses. Trump and his cronies have continually sided with corporate interests over issues such as overtime pay, workplace safety, the right to form a union, and raising the minimum wage, AlterNet reports.
But like the army that marches on its stomach, Wall Street thrives on inequality. It helps corporate CEOs jack up their own salaries by artificially inflating their company’s stock prices. It rewards executives who bust unions, send jobs offshore, cut wages, control markets, cheat consumers, and dodge taxes, writes Jim Hightower.
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And with Trump in office, 2018 was a banner year for corporate CEOs and other high-paid executives. Even though they already enjoy whopping paychecks, their pay jumped a median seven percent. This little adjustment added an extra $800,000 in take-home pay, hiking their median yearly income to $12 million each, The Associated Press (AP) reports. Plus, what median really means is that half of these corporate greedsters hauled in more than seven percent. Hightower mentions David Zaslav, CEO and president of Discovery Inc. (the Discovery Channel), whose pay jumped an astonishing 207 percent, to $130 million in 2018.
While these CEOs grow fat on corporate greed, employee pay is typically slashed to the bone. Which is despicable because employees are the ones who actually create such corporate wealth in the first place. And the chasm between income disparity and corporate wealth is growing wider and deeper. When the AP did its survey in May it found that the pay gap between CEOs of corporate giants like PayPal and CVS Pharmacy, and their employees had nearly doubled. And the pay gap for Discovery Inc. actually tripled.
In surveying the 340 corporate giants, the AP found that compensation inequality is now so severe that a middle-wage employee would need to work 158 years to earn as much as that company’s chief executive earned last year alone.
Hightower puts it like this:
“This separation is widening at warp speed, propelled by the groundless need and narcissism of so-called leaders like Zaslav,” he writes. “To amass as much pay as he pocketed in 2018, a typical Discovery employee would have to work 989 years.”
It’s good to bear this in mind when you hear Trump boasting about the so-called booming economy. He is, Hightower writes, “a president who mistakes price for value. Which means that for him, measuring the U.S.’s economic health is easy.”
“Just check the price of corporate stocks and any fool can see that he’s the best president ever at running the economy,” Hightower writes. “After all, since he’s been in office, Wall Street has been whizzing! Unfortunately, though, it’s been whizzing on you and me.”
So Trump’s oft-bragged about “economic boom” is really the sound of the Middle Class plunging off the cliff, taking millions of Americans with it.
“That thunderous boom-boom-boom represents millions of Americans who’re living paycheck to paycheck, who have little to no saving and inadequate health coverage, who can’t afford the rip-off drug prices Big Pharma is being allowed to charge, who’re sinking in debt,” he writes. “And all they’re getting from Trump are his vapid political rallies, shouting ‘MAGA’ — ‘Make America Great Again.'”
Income inequality isn’t something that occurs for no reason. The wealthy, spurred by Trump have caused this.
“Far from reducing inequality, Trump has intentionally escalated the corporate war on working-class Americans,” Hightower notes. “Under his regime, nearly half of all income today is going to the wealthiest 1%.”
So while Trump continues to play golf and cheer for the 1%, the middle-class and the poor will continue to be thrown under the bus. Middle-class employees will continue to see their pay decimated and the poor will keep wondering if they can get by on one meal a day. If they are lucky. When the presidential election rolls around in 2020, let’s hope those who supported Trump the first time around get a clue.