Monthly Archives: January 2012

V is for Value …

… or, what will $22 billion buy?

verb, noun
1. to consider with respect to worth, excellence, usefulness, or importance.
2. relative worth, merit, or importance
3. monetary or material worth

How many top hedge fund managers can we get for $22 billion?

This many …

That’s right. Twenty five.

There are 25 dots in the square above. Most of us can fit 25 people in our kitchens.

In 2009, the twenty five highest paid hedge fund managers collectively made $22 billion in income. Not only that, but thanks to a tax loophole, their income is taxed at 15% as long-term capital gains rather than as income. In short, they are richly rewarded and not asked to contribute much back. Yet, hedge fund managers produce nothing that can be eaten, worn, breathed, drank, lived in, read, thought about, or otherwise be of genuine use. In other words, they do nothing we can’t easily live without.

And if we paid them each $50,000,  which most of us would agree is at the middle to lower end of a living wage, how many teachers, artists, fire fighters, nurses, writers, road workers, (veganic!) farmers, alternative energy developers, grocery store workers, child care workers, and so on, can we get for $22 billion?

This many …

Yes, that’s right. In case you didn’t stop to count, that’s 440,000. That many people would fill about ten large football stadiums.

If we pay a living wage of $50,000 to the producers of goods and services we actually need and from which we all benefit, $22 billion will pay for almost a half million of them. We get to enjoy their goods and services, and they get to make a living wage.

That’s a win-win scenario.

I’ll file this under, “just sayin.”