Thursday, March 25, 2010

What's in your wallet?

So here's the deal. We hear about the rich CEOs and their outrageous compensation. Even post - bailout. The ratio of the average CEO's salary to the average employee was 24 to 1 in 1965. In 2008 it was 319 to 1, down from 434 to 1 in 2004. The CEO of Walmart, Lee Scott made 17 million in 2009 which was 900 times the average wage of his average employee. That means he makes in 2 weeks what it takes one of his average workers a lifetime to make! In 2005 the CEO of bailed out Capital One (whats in your wallet?) was paid 250 million, give or take a few hundred thousand. Steve Jobs made 646 million in 2006 ( how about buying a new IPad to help him out?) Forbes magazine reported that the top 100 CEOs in 2006 made over 18 million each. In 2007, Forbes reported that the top 400 richest individuals together held more wealth than half the country.

Well before we all start whining about how poor we are, what would you say if you found out you, with your fairly average, ordinary salary were one of the richest people in the world, too! That's right - if you make 50,000 a year, you rank right up there with the richest people in the world. You are one of the richest 1% of all the people in the world! Check it out at So what are you going to do with your wealth? You could sponsor a child through Compassion, or two or three. You could send relief boxes to Haiti through World Vision. Lots of ways to help the less fortunate 99% than you. One half of the world's population, 3 billion people, live on less than 2$ a day; one billion live on less than 1% a day.

Odds are not good that the richest 1% will give much. The poorest 1/5 of Americans give more than they are able; the next 2/5 who are a bit better off give about what they are able but the top of American society give less than they are able. The poorest 1/5 give 4.3% of their income to charitable causes. The top 1/5 give 2.1%.

So what's in your wallet?