Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Salary Injustice

I know I’ve written about things like this before generically, but this is more specific. The other day we were talking about a young high school student who was working in the afternoons next door at the hardware store.  She is working to help support her needs at school because it is a struggle for her family. This young lady is earning $1 a day working from noon till about 7 p.m.

Sigh. We had some choice words for the owner!!!

Then the following day – coincidentally - the newspaper had an article about the salaries of some popular soccer players. One was receiving 23 million Euros. Not sure how that translates to dollars but I know one Euro used to be equal to 1.5 dollars. So we read on and another player is receiving 35 million dollars. I can relate to that figure better … Sort of. We just looked at each other Cecilia and I.

Good Lord. What can one do with that kind of money we wondered? So I started playing with the calculator … 35 million is a little more than $2,910,000 per month. It is about $727,500 per week. That translates to about $95,890 per DAY. Dang. Someone check my math!! Maybe I mixed up how many zeros are in a million.

Ok … the poor guy has to pay boo-coo taxes.

But he is playing soccer for goodness sake.

I can remember in the 80’s and 90’s having conversations about baseball player salaries. But at least we had jobs that kept us sheltered and fed. And our children were attending school and we knew we would somehow be able to get them to college someday.
But here – with what I know now – with what I see on a daily basis these facts and figures are so much more difficult to comprehend.  Here and in many parts of the world, SO many people struggle just to survive. I see the reality of how many children can’t go to school because they cannot afford the $4 worth of notebooks they need at the beginning of the year … or the 25 cents a day for a little food to get through the school day … Or they have to walk to (and then from) school for an hour and a half because they cannot afford the one way 75 cent bus/pick up truck ride.

And the constant ill health because immune systems are so weakened by lack of decent nutrition and health care.

What a contrast.

So sports people, actors, big business people, etc are not the norm. I know that.

But even contrasting the ‘norm’ – let’s look at an average family’s income in the states. I’m not sure what that would be in reality. But let’s pull a figure out of the hat … $40,000. That is a relatively moderate figure for an average family from what I understand. It seems high to me though.

Granted things are more expensive in the States … but – if we were frugal and only bought what we really needed (like a modest home … a modest car … cooking rather than eating out … two weeks worth of clothing in our closets rather than a month’s worth (half of which probably never gets worn) … well. We wouldn’t even need $40k a year. This I can speak to because I used to have a really NICE house. Way too big for what we really needed. And I had a closet full of things I never wore. But I still bought more. And things. Good grief. A house full of things for what?? And even after selling the house and giving away most of the clothes and things … so many things… I still have too much. And my small (by U.S. standards) salary is still way more than everyone I work for.

So where is the justice in even that??

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