I’m a registered Republican, and I’ve actually voted for every Republican candidate from Ronald Reagan in 1980 right through Mike Huckabee’s improbable run in this year’s presidential primaries. My folks are die-hard Republicans, so I guess I kind of just fell into the party. But I’m also naturally optimistic and I tend to think that most people will do the right thing if given the chance, so the Republican idea of a “small government” that frees up resources for people to do the right thing, (vs. a big government that does it for them), made sense to me. I bought into Reagan’s “trickle down” economic philosophy way back in 1980, but unfortunately the altruism of that policy hasn’t really played out in the real world.
Forbes magazine, the self-proclaimed "Capitalist’s Tool,” recently reported that the average CEO in 1980 was paid 40 times more than their average employee, but that by 2008 the average CEO was now making 443 times more than their average employee, a staggering discrepancy. Revenue is not trickling down, it’s being consumed at the top, and at alarmingly skyrocketing rates.
There are obviously exceptions. I know a few honorable CEOs who have voluntarily chosen to cap their salaries, to live more simply, and to pay their employees real living wages that are just and equitable with their own compensation. But sadly, when given the economic opportunity to make more money and distribute it more equitably and justly, most CEOs just aren’t choosing to do the right thing. And now I’m asking myself what’s the right thing for me to do with a historic election just around the corner.