Being Piggy

Henry R Kravis - KKR

Henry R Kravis – KKR co-founder

While 15 US execs were in the $100 million club last year, notes David Manners, private equity has been brilliantly effective at depressing wages and employment while concentrating capital in the hands of fewer and fewer, richer and richer people.

15 US execs were in the $100 million club last year, says USA Today, meaning that 14, guys and one girl were paid $100 million or more last year.

The solitary lady in the club was Phebe Novakovic, CEO of defence contractor General Dynamics.

Pay is mostly options and bonuses, salaries are relatively low with the median for S&P 500 CEOs of $10 million.

On the other hand, median pay for America’s 104 million full-time workers is $40,000 – about the same as it was ten years ago.

The commonly given answer to the question: Why isn’t there a revolution in America? is that most employed people have all they want in terms of material things and don’t want to risk it by a sortie to the barricades.

The saddest figure is the $160 million which Henry Kravis and George Roberts were each paid. How many ruined lives and destroyed families went to pay for that?

Ditto the $465 million paid to Stephen Schwarzmann of Blackstone and the $546 million paid to Leon Black of Apollo.

Private equity has been brilliantly effective at depressing wages and employment while concentrating capital in the hands of fewer and fewer, richer and richer people.

The usual Silicon Valley names are in the club – Eric Schmidt, Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Ellison.

I wonder if the time will ever come when people are embarrassed by having such absurd levels of pay. At the moment these people seem to revel in it, to rub our noses in it, but to any normal person it would be unseemly and demeaning to take these grotesque pay packets.

It’s being piggy.

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