Companies’ Fat Cat Bonuses in Furthering the Country’s Social Divide

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With the “fat cat initiative” finally being implemented in Europe starting in Swiss last March, the ticking questions on labor rates rejuvenated back to life. According to a survey of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of  U.S. Department of Labor, there are 75.3 million workers in United States that can be considered as minimum wage earners“.  That statistical data comprises about 59% of the entire working population who are receiving wages and salary.


If we trace back the roots of these problems, we can hear a lot of things. They say taxes root it all, it’s the culprit of the problem. But if we follow that analysis, we get to ask how taxable really are the incomes of those who are reigning on the top of the social ladder. It seems that in the recent trends, continually we’re witnessing a greater social divide between the rich and the poor.

Let me share to you a story.

It’s about the life of Tyree Johnson. Tyree is a McDonald’s employee. Each day, after his long and tiring shift, he makes sure that he freshens up himself properly. He washes his face with a bar of soap in a McDonald’s bathroom and apply some deodorant and perfume in his slender body. After freshening up, he then stashes his things in a Kenneth Cole Bag, and hops on the subway. His destination: another McDonald’s.

He needs the makeshift baths because hygiene and appearance are  key factors in his job. He hates it whenever his boss won’t give him a raise because he smells. He somehow feels that he might create a bad impression towards his manager. After all, he can’t afford to lose this job because he badly needs it in order to finish his education.

Even if he had already two paychecks, it could still barely cover the cost of his apartment which is a single-room occupancy hotel and his everyday living expenses. Despite the fact that he’s been working at McDonald’s for a long time now, he still isn’t able to have a 40-hours-a-week job. Plus, he only makes 8.25 dollars an hour – the minimum wage in Illinois.

Tyree isn’t the only one who experiences a case like these. It’s almost true to most of McDonald’s employees and the rest of America’s premier growth industries.

These industries keep growing at a fast pace each year and still take advantage of the minimum wage bandwagon. While it’s true that America is in an economic recession nowadays, companies’ raising the wage of their  needy laborers still sounds like a distant cry. If they managed to offer Jim Skinner, former CEO of McDonald’s, an $8.75 million dollar contract last year, then it won’t hurt their pockets in raising the wages of employees like Tyree a little more.

Compared to Skinner’s wage, those of Tyree’s only hits at one in a million, making him work for a million hours just to earn at Skinner’s rate. With this, there’s indeed no doubt that the income inequality in America nowadays is alarming.

Shareholders, the rich population of the country, have harvested the rewards. In a recent survey, the top 1 percent of the US population saw a 5.5 % increase in earnings while the bottom 80 % of the population experience a 1.7 % decrease in earnings. Indeed, the rich gets richer while the poor gets poorer.

Apparently, corporations’ CEOs can win so much of the company’s income without a limit. Barely did we hear of a maximum wage limit for a CEO.  But we hear minimum wages every single day, witnessing people roughly earning just for living. And the very power to redistribute these resources are in the very hands of people who have their own interests with fat cat bonuses too.

This issue of redistribution in the US is really beating up those who barely manage to eat 3 times a day. They can’t do a thing against the minimum wage strategy of these giants because of the fear of losing a job. These industries can then take this opportunity to expand their wealth and their prominence. They knew that finding a job is hard. They knew that there’s nothing these workers can do about it. And they knew that the cards are always in a royal flush for them.

CEOs are able to profit about 70% of the company’s wealth without being sued for such injustices. There’s a labor imbalance that they provide their employees with the least. And when these companies get bankrupt, they bring thousands of people with them being left jobless – not even able to at least save anything or get assurance contracts.

The social boundary between the rich and the poor is becoming much wider than before and if this won’t stop, worst things will surely happen. The government should actively respond by doing  the redistribution plan.If it takes to hurt these powerful business tycoons, the line should be clear in taking the risk.  Otherwise, the once hailed “land of opportunity” might end up as the “land of the worst life reality“.