Notes from the desk of peace activist Polly Mann (b. Nov. 19, 1919)

Unfair Remuneration
The Star Tribune recently ran an article entitled “Worker pay stagnates as it soars for CEOs.” It would be great if on its publication that situation could be rectified, but no way is that going to happen! The organization responsible for the report, the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute, found that in the last 80 years, CEO salaries increased 940.3 percent while workers’ pay increased 11.9 percent. The report found that CEO pay at the largest public companies from 1978 to 2018 has grown more than 1,000 percent. Interesting information, no?

Affordable Housing
Something has to be done about the ever-increasing gap between the poor and rich, especially as it relates to the availability of affordable housing for those who need it. The National Low Income Housing Coalition reports that in no state in the union can a full-time worker earning minimum wage afford to rent a modest two-bedroom apartment. Why? Because: (a) huge numbers of American jobs have disappeared due to mechanization or have been outsourced to China, India, Mexico and other poor countries, and (b) under capitalism the pressure on wages and increased rent prices have made homelessness a predictable consequence for millions.
Across the country homeless people have engaged in the acts of basic survival – sleeping, eating, etc., in some of the only spaces open to them—in parks, libraries and other public spaces. Their reactions to their condition have been pathologized or criminalized by law enforcement. Often, they are forcibly removed from their temporary lodgings or arrested and their needs are ignored.
Research shows that the economic gap between rich and poor has profoundly negative effects on society and is a cause for increasing rates of alcoholism and drug use, teenage pregnancy, a breakdown of trust, and mental health issues such as depression and suicide. Unfortunately, those made rich under capitalism have little sympathy for lesser-enriched Americans.
As I said – something has to be done about affordable housing.

Salaries of Hedge Fund Managers
The publication Institute Investor recently published its list showing the ranking of the annual income of hedge fund managers. Topping the list was Ray Dalio, the co-founder of Bridgewater Association, who estimated his annual earnings at $2 billion—that’s $2,000,000,000. Following are other top winners:
*James H. Simmons of Renaissance Technology at $1.5 billion (last year’s top man)
*Kenneth Griffin, founder of Citadel, made $870 million
*John Overdeck and David Siegel, founders of Two Sigma made $820 million each.
Other “top dogs” were listed. But my most favorite bit from the article was the following paragraph: “But the magnitude of the hedge fund managers’ compensation raises a very basic question about whether capitalism is ‘broken.’ After all, even if Mr. Dalio took home $5 million, the rest of his income could pay 10,000 families $150,000 each.”

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