Abigail Disney finds Bob Iger's pay absurd

Posted Monday, April 22, 2019 6:33 PM | Contributed by BrettV

From the article:

“Pointing out the incongruity of pay at the top and pay at the bottom provokes a reaction because it so violates of our innate sense of fairness it is impossible not to wince,” Disney wrote. She argued that it was not enough simply to pay above the federal minimum wage of $7.25 — a figure, she said, that is “too low to live on.”

Read more from The Washington Post.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019 11:48 AM

Abigail wrote an opinion piece in the Washington Post following up on the statements noted in the original post. Its linked in this article though I haven't been able to find the piece itself other than behind a paywall.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/abigail-disney-calls-for-disney-to-rew...editorial/

I agree that we need to change a lot in terms of approaches to college. College for everyone won't work (though I seem to recall discussions here a while back with people who didn't agree). But a popular flavor of the day is free college. That likely will make cost issues worse not better.

In terms of student loans, there are companies out there who will refinance student loans at market/lower interest rates.

There is a lot of focus on what execs of large public companies make compared to average workers. But most people (by a lot) don't work for large public companies. Changing how the large public employers pay execs (and for decades there have been discussions of limiting tax deductions for wages so companies could pay higher wages but not get tax benefit for doing so -- but nothing really changes) won't help much for people who don't work at large public companies.

And there are some companies who can easily afford to pay employees more. Disney. Apple. Amazon to name a few. But for most companies that isn't the case.

Last edited by GoBucks89, Wednesday, April 24, 2019 12:01 PM
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Wednesday, April 24, 2019 11:51 AM
Jeff's avatar

OhioStater said:

If you start at a fundamental level, let's work on shedding the belief that college is for everyone and a necessity.

Yes!

Also, if I get bored, I should just get an MBA, right?


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019 6:13 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

Vater said:

Yes, but...

yawetag said:

And $30k/year is nothing, no matter where yoI live

QFT. OF COURSE 30k in LA, Frisco, Chicago, or NYC is different. But that’s not what you said...


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Wednesday, April 24, 2019 8:30 PM

Bakeman31092-

ShaneDenmark said:

We did this quick bit of math about that Chase CEO vs poor employee video making its way around Facebook... But if Iger equally distributed his $65M salary amongst the 201,000 Disney employees, that works out to $323.38 per employee per year. I don’t think that’s gonna solve very many budget issues for folks who can’t live off the $30,000 mentioned above.


But then again, what do I know?

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Friday, May 3, 2019 12:49 AM
LostKause's avatar

I've been looking at it differently lately. Nowadays when people ask me, "If not $15, then how much is enough?" My answer is that $15 would be fine if everything wasn't so expensive. Maybe the problem isn't that some workers are not making enough per hour. Maybe the real problem is that businesses keep raising prices, especially on essential items.

What used to be $100 at the grocery store seems like it is now $300. The Water and Power companies here in WV wants a rate hike or two every year. It keeps going up. How much was a car ten years ago compared to today? (According to this story, the answer is an average of $2,444.) College tuition is at an all-time high.

Some of these companies know that you need what they have, so they can charge whatever they want. Then they have enough to pay the CEOs millions.

My political sources tell me that over the last many decades, productivity has gone way up, while wages have remained stagnant. They also say that CEO salary have gone through the roof over.

Before you jump all over me for whatever reason, I'm not complaining or anything. Just observing.

Last edited by LostKause, Friday, May 3, 2019 12:50 AM
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Friday, May 3, 2019 9:21 AM

LostKause said:

My political sources tell me that over the last many decades, productivity has gone way up, while wages have remained stagnant. They also say that CEO salary have gone through the roof over.

My political sources tell me the same thing. Another observation I've made on this and other forums is that it's a peculiar phenomenon that so many people willingly advocate for protecting the interests of the millionaires with their multi-million dollar golden parachutes etc. when advocating for that tribe necessitates advocating against his/her own self interest.

Last edited by urumqi, Friday, May 3, 2019 9:25 AM

tall and fast but not much upside down

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Friday, May 3, 2019 9:41 AM
Jeff's avatar

I don't know who "so many people" are, but I think you're reading it wrong. In the circles I roll in, people aren't "advocating" for the rich, they're objecting to the notion that it's immoral for people with more responsibility and highly specialized skills to make more money. They're also pointing out the fact, not opinion, but fact, that CEO salaries do not come at the expense of line workers. Shane did the math above: If you split up Iger's pay evenly among all of Disney's employees, that's $323 extra for the entire year. What problems will that solve?

America elected a (self-described) rich man into the White House whose only accomplishments have been to appoint corporate lobbyists to cabinet positions and pass a tax break that benefits the rich and corporations. And the people who voted for him are largely the people who benefit the least from this arrangement. That's all you need to know about the broken system... it's self-inflicted.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Friday, May 3, 2019 11:35 AM

Jeff said:

I don't know who "so many people" are, but I think you're reading it wrong.

Thank you. I stand corrected. I should have simply stated "many people" instead of "so many people." And, although my interpretation of your post might also be incorrect, your last paragraph seems to articulate the same point I apparently incorrectly made in my previous post.

Last edited by urumqi, Friday, May 3, 2019 11:37 AM

tall and fast but not much upside down

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Friday, May 3, 2019 2:37 PM

Travis-

Ok but if $15/hr would be enough if everything wasn't so expensive, couldn’t you apply the same logic to $10/hr or even $7.25/hr?

Last edited by ShaneDenmark, Friday, May 3, 2019 2:56 PM

But then again, what do I know?

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Sunday, May 5, 2019 8:54 AM

LostKause said:

I've been looking at it differently lately. Nowadays when people ask me, "If not $15, then how much is enough?" My answer is that $15 would be fine if everything wasn't so expensive. Maybe the problem isn't that some workers are not making enough per hour. Maybe the real problem is that businesses keep raising prices, especially on essential items.

What used to be $100 at the grocery store seems like it is now $300. The Water and Power companies here in WV wants a rate hike or two every year. It keeps going up. How much was a car ten years ago compared to today? (According to this story, the answer is an average of $2,444.) College tuition is at an all-time high.

Adjusted for inflation a car in 2016 is actually about $2,000 cheaper than a car in 2006. I'm all for everyone having an opportunity to have a comfortable living wage but raising the minimum wage to $15 / hour would be a very short term fix. A very large portion of the price you pay on consumer goods is the salary of the workers who produced or delivered the product. If their salaries go up so do the costs of those goods.

The system is definitely rigged in favor of the rich. I don't know what would fix the problem though.

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Sunday, May 5, 2019 10:35 AM

Mulfinator said:

The system is definitely rigged in favor of the rich. I don't know what would fix the problem though.

A progressive tax system.


tall and fast but not much upside down

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Sunday, May 5, 2019 11:21 AM
Jeff's avatar

Suggesting that the system is "rigged" is not logical. There are laws that preclude the rich and corporations from paying more taxes, but correcting that doesn't mean that they won't still be rich. Capitalism has no ceiling or limit, and imposing one would reduce incentive to create the businesses that employ other people. I'm not suggesting that trickle down is a thing in terms of tax incentives, but in the context of caps, yes, that would be bad. If you think the system is rigged, then you're saying that it's a zero-sum game, and it's not. That's why politically we can't get anywhere, because if you believe that winning comes at the expense of someone losing, there can be no compromise.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Sunday, May 5, 2019 1:54 PM

So corporations donate millions of dollars to candidates simply because they like them? They aren't looking for that candidate to pass legislation that is favorable to their interests?

The days of capitalism in practice in the United States are coming to a close, if it's not already done. We are drifting towards a plutocracy, or at the very least an oligarchy, where the wealthy continue to have a greater say. How else would you explain the bank bailouts in 2008? If we were truly a capitalist country they would have been allowed to fail.

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Sunday, May 5, 2019 3:56 PM
Jeff's avatar

Yes, of course that's what corporations are doing. I didn't say that was OK. You're arguing a different problem. There isn't a reason in the world we can't fix that.

You don't have to throw out capitalism just because it's unregulated. That's exactly the binary thinking I'm arguing against. Fix the problems, not pull a baby/bathwater move.


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Sunday, May 5, 2019 5:56 PM

I think we are arguing the same thing in a roundabout fashion. Our economic system as it stands currently heavily favors the rich. Part of this is the favors they buy from politicians. Part of it is the fact that it's far easier to earn money when you already have loads of it, through investments and what not. You may disagree with my choice of the word rigged but I think we can agree that the wealthy are favored under current law. Ideally the gap between rich and poor would be stable or shrinking but it's not. Quite the opposite.

We don't solve the problem by getting rid of rich people. I never argued that. We need to provide better opportunities for the poor to have a fair shake. This could include expanding low interest loans for people under a certain income level, expanding access to grants to pay for higher education, etc. I don't know what options make the most sense because I haven't studied them in great detail. But I know that debt is a large concern with upward mobility. I don't think making the minimum wage really solves the problem either. It may help or it may kick start inflation or shrink the work force.

I didn't argue that we throw out capitalism. My point was that capitalism and our current economic system are not really one and the same. It's similar to how most people view America as a democracy when we are more of a republic.

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Sunday, May 5, 2019 6:40 PM
Jeff's avatar

But what does that even mean, "fair shake?" The "poor class" is not getting larger as a percentage of the population... the middle class is shrinking because people are graduating to higher incomes. That's the straight up facts from all of the agencies that measure those numbers. Getting out of the lower ranks statistically is the same problem it has been for decades. That strikes me as a different problem than what Bob Iger can make. The Iger problem is an emotional reaction to the wrong problem.

What I keep getting back to is intent... that's where the disconnect is. Laws that provide tax benefits for the rich and corporations are not intended to suppress the poor, however immoral one believes they are. How do those regulations prevent that "fair shake?" Is Bob Iger's salary keeping the guy at the churro cart down, or is he just content to sell churros and cross his fingers that he'll get a raise? (Hope is not a strategy for betterment, by the way.)

And hey, I get it. Not only did I not pay any federal income tax last year, the feds paid me net $1,400 for having a child. That's because I could afford to buy an electric car and put solar on my roof. But then again, isn't stimulating the transition to sustainable energy and a lower carbon footprint a moral and valid endeavor?


Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Silly Nonsense

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Sunday, May 5, 2019 7:57 PM

I agree that there is a trend of the middle and upper class towards higher incomes. But if the system is truly fair to all participants should the share of those in poverty also be decreasing? Where's the disconnect?

I believe it's access to higher education. Granted students whose families are below the poverty line qualify for pell grants but that only amounts to $6,195 per year. College is a lot more expensive than that. Tuition costs, on average, $9,970 per year at public universities. Tack on room and board for another $10,800, $1,250 for books, and $3,270 for other expenses. The total per year is $25,290. So someone who lives in poverty is on the hook for $19,000 per year on average. Faced with that choice how many would choose to go to college?

With that being said some employers have begun to provide tuition assistance for their workers, Disney included. I don't know the details of their program to know if it really changes the calculus for deciding to go to college or if it's more of a public relations program.

Laws and budgets are not made in a vacuum. Granted providing a trillion dollar tax cut for the wealthiest Americans is not meant to hurt the poor. But how do you explain the GOP proposing to cut over $400 billion out of Medicare shortly after passing the tax cuts? At the very least the timing is suspect.

For the record I never said that Iger's salary is unfair. In fact I said in the second comment of this thread that it did not seem excessive. I understand the math doesn't support cutting his pay and giving it to the workers.

Nice job on the tax credits. I bought a Volt this past year and absolutely love it. I probably wouldn't have bought it without the $7,500 tax credit. Are you saving much on your electricity bills with the solar panels?

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Sunday, May 5, 2019 8:17 PM
Dale K's avatar

Why does it seem like that everybody thinks higher education = more money? Why dont we start with free trade schools first? If higher education = more money, then explain teacher salaries..

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Sunday, May 5, 2019 9:08 PM

Because on average those with higher degrees earn more money. I've seen estimates that show people with a bachelor's degree earn anywhere from $17,000 to $32,000 more per year than those with a high school diploma. But college isn't for everyone. There are plenty of young people that would be better served joining the trades instead of wasting money on a degree they likely won't earn.

Teacher salaries are really a mixed bag. Starting salaries are generally low but rise as you have more years experience and earn advanced degrees. High school teachers generally make more money than elementary school teachers. The state, and the school district, you teach in can greatly effect your salary as well. There are also ways to increase your salary: coach a sport, sponsor an activity, teach summer school, etc. Speaking from experience it is not uncommon for a high school teacher in Illinois with a Master's degree and additional coursework with 15-20 years of experience to earn over $100k.

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Sunday, May 5, 2019 10:12 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

I see the disconnect entirely in the narrative. The reason people say the system is "rigged" is because it's claimed to be a meritocracy when it clearly isn't. The rich and powerful claim (maybe not individually but in the "American Dream" narrative...thought definitely some individuals do) to be there because of skill, hard work, or some combination of the two. We all know that's not true - that circumstance plays an outsized role in potential and opportunity. So instead of them just admitting that they are, in large part, beneficiaries of happenstance, they make claims that they deserve what they have which implies that other people also deserve their position.


Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

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