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.

Sunday, May 5, 2019 10:15 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Mulfinator said:

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.

I'm not 100% sure what point you're making with this example, but a Master's and 15-20 years of experience earning $100k seems like a slap in face. Then again, maybe I have Bay Area inflation brain.


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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Sunday, May 5, 2019 10:17 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Mulfinator said:

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?

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.

I pieced together two different posts in that quote for the sake of clarity.

Here's my take on college:

If you should be there, there's no reason you can't be. None. Full stop. Period.

Now that's based on my experience putting one kid in (at USC even - suck it, Aunt Becky) and getting ready to go through the process again in the fall with the other.

Between need-based and merit-based aid - any kid who is a remotely desireable student will be able to put a college education within their financial reach.

Does that mean free? No.

You'll find lots of numbers regarding student debt, but the average always seems to be in the $30k's. So let's use $35k as a happy medium.

Is $35,000 of debt a lot of money? Sure, I guess. But you're telling me that kid will make between $17,000 and $32,000 more per year because of that debt.

So is one-to-two years income worth that additional income over 40-50 years of employment?

Unquestionably. It's a steal.

If I have to give you one <$30,000> so that I'll receive an additonal 40 or 50 <$30,000>'s over the course of my life, I'mma take that debt on. Every. Damn. Time. The ROI is astronomical.

Now with that said, the reason it's so valuable is because it's something that someone else doesn't have - education, training, experience, knowledge. It's an advantage. But it's only an advantage because everyone doesn't have it. When everyone has it, it's just the norm. And suddenly, it's not all that valuable.

I'm 46. When I was a kid, the message was to finish high school. A high school diploma gave you opportunities that you wouldn't have otherwise.

In 2019, that message is hilariously quaint. Why? Because pretty much everybody has one now. High School graduation rates are at an all-time high. Everybody has one, so to speak. It's not good enough any more. It's not an advantage. It's the norm.

Ensuring everyone has a college education doesn't ensure everyone makes $17,000 - $32,000 more a year. It just raises the bar. It moves the baseline.

That's not to say we shouldn't improve, but sometimes people don't think about what moving that bar really means.

And I agree 100%...more if I could - College is NOT for everyone. Not even close. But, to bring it full circle, I honestly believe it's fully attainable for the people it IS for thanks to those merit and need based aid opportunities. (Fill out the FAFSA often and early, kids!)

On the greater subject of inequality and rich and poor and things in general...it all comes down to this for me:

No one is poor because someone else is rich.


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Sunday, May 5, 2019 10:48 PM

ApolloAndy said:

I'm not 100% sure what point you're making with this example, but a Master's and 15-20 years of experience earning $100k seems like a slap in face. Then again, maybe I have Bay Area inflation brain.

I'm not saying it's great pay. I also realize that that's for 10 months of work each year. I make enough to pay my mortgage, go on a few vacations each year with my family, and save for retirement. I'll be able to retire at 57 with a full pension plus whatever I have saved. Either way I didn't get in to teaching, or stay in it, because of the pay.

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Sunday, May 5, 2019 11:00 PM

Lord Gonchar said:

And I agree 100%...more if I could - College is NOT for everyone. Not even close. But, to bring it full circle, I honestly believe it's fully attainable for the people it IS for thanks to those merit and need based aid opportunities. (Fill out the FAFSA often and early, kids!)

I think the challenge is for the kids to understand that whole process. If your parent never attended college and the school's counseling department isn't that great, a well deserving kid could slip through the cracks. One of my good friends had to drop out of college because he had no financial help. He worked forty hours a week to try and make it work but it became too much to work and be a full time student in mechanical engineering. Granted this was 20 years ago but he clearly didn't know what opportunities were out there for financial aid.

I agree that the math is completely on the side of finding a way to make it work.

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Monday, May 6, 2019 8:47 AM
Jeff's avatar

Everything Gonch said, yes. If college makes you special, and everyone goes to college, then no one is special, just over-educated and under-employed. Not everything needs college. We're the same age, but at my school, the message wasn't just "graduate high school," but, "college will help but is not a silver bullet." Now it's the expectation that you absolutely need it, fed by the narrative that you'll make more that way. But for what jobs?

And as for the debt, yeah, I still think there's an expectation problem there. I did some maths and I don't find the average debt to be "crushing," and in fact it's about the same thing I had (adjusting for inflation) only with higher interest rates. If you're one of those people who graduates and thinks, "I'm bored or lost or whatever so I'm gonna get an MBA now," that's your bed to sleep in.

Going back to the question of meritocracy... I'd be down with dismissing that we have that if it weren't for the fact that it feels like it's mostly white, middle-class, suburban kids who are complaining the most about getting a "fair shake." That's just feeling though, so I'm willing to concede that I'm wrong.


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

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Monday, May 6, 2019 12:53 PM
ApolloAndy's avatar

Jeff said:

Going back to the question of meritocracy... I'd be down with dismissing that we have that if it weren't for the fact that it feels like it's mostly white, middle-class, suburban kids who are complaining the most about getting a "fair shake." That's just feeling though, so I'm willing to concede that I'm wrong.

I wonder if the conflation of the two (the stereotypical entitled suburban white kid vs. the inner city minorities) lets both sides think the other side is totally bonkers. It's like when the Christian right claims victimhood, it makes any actual victims of religious discrimination seem that much less real.

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Monday, May 6, 2019 12:57 PM

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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Monday, May 6, 2019 1:11 PM
Jeff's avatar

I think that's totally possible. I also don't encounter them directly (maybe because the younger people I work with work in a lucrative field), so maybe they don't even exist in numbers.


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

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Monday, May 6, 2019 3:38 PM

Jetsetter said:

This is a complex one.

I don't know what's warranted or not regarding Iger, but yes he is responsible for a lot of individuals and their respective wealth generation. It is also important to note he works for shareholders (mostly "rich" themselves) and not the public or his employees. That's the game.

What is more troubling to me than the individual figure is the broader ratio. Consider the following broader trends from Forbes:

  • In the 1950s the average CEO made 20 times the salary of his or her average worker. Last year that number for S&P 500 firm CEOs was 361 times the average.
  • Adjusted for inflation, average wages in the US have basically stagnated for 50 years while average CEO pay has grown by 1,000 percent.

I agree with Jeff that higher taxes for the wealthy (individuals and corporations) undoubtedly need to be a part of the solution. Another key part is providing public services that allow the lower class to climb. Not necessarily "free college for all" but free pre-K education and better healthcare would go a long way toward unlocking some of the barriers while still rewarding hard work and risk.

But back to the ratios above -- if this country wants to have any sort of middle class, we need to figure out how to create more structural balance and stability. Currently we're headed toward an increasing disparity from those at the top and those at the bottom. History and a review of some other nations around the world tell us that's not a place we want to be, even if you're rich.

I have worked extremely hard in my career and benefitted significantly from the current system. I absolutely think I should be rewarded for it, but given the disparity trends I tend to lean toward measures to create greater balance, if only to keep the volcano from blowing its top. This isn't about creating a revolution, this is about preventing one. I wish more of the wealthy would see it that way.

You hit the nail on the point with those factual numbers. THAT is the problem with the current wealth distribution. There is no reason that pay rates should not have risen equally among classes. It seems that with wealth, also comes unlimited greed.

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Monday, May 6, 2019 3:58 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

super7* said:
There is no reason that pay rates should not have risen equally among classes.

Unless lower class jobs became less valuable while CEO-type positions became more so.

EDIT (for clarity) - as determined by employers, based on either perception, reality or some combination.

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Monday, May 6, 2019 4:10 PM
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Monday, May 6, 2019 6:19 PM

1) ...about 89 percent of dependents and 71 percent of independents who receive an undergraduate degree accumulate less than $40,000 in debt; almost half of graduate degree recipients have piled up more than $60,000 in debt (with 17 percent taking on $100,000).

3) Affluent Americans have made extensive use of federal loans... About a third of education debt is held by the richest 25 percent of households...

From The student debt crisis isn't what you think it is

The first point seems to follow what some news sources outright state. College and university rates have increased to what the fed will allow students to borrow, and thus the solution is to cut lending which would reel in the universities. I don't completely agree, but the numbers align pretty well.

Digging deeper into the research referenced in #3, there is this additional gem.

Households in the lowest income quartile (with household incomes of $27,000 or less) hold only 12 percent of outstanding education debt. In other words, education debt is disproportionately concentrated among the well off.

The concentration of education debt among the relatively affluent means that some policies designed to reduce the burden of education debt are actually regressive. Focusing on forgiving large amounts of that debt would bestow significant benefits on relatively well-off people.

So, promises to erase student loan debt is typical political rhetoric to con the bottom quarter into thinking the politicians care about them.

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Monday, May 6, 2019 7:24 PM

Is part of the student debt issue that Jimmy Graduate comes out of college with an English Lit degree that does not have much value in the world, thus making that $40,000 loan debt seem rather large for someone making $10/hr at McDs?

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Monday, May 6, 2019 8:02 PM
Dale K's avatar

I dont think I paid enough for college and the life lessons I learned. Did you know the human body can survive on Ramen noodles, eggs and 30 pack of Stroh's beer? It also taught me how to have a drinking problem at age 46.

Has CoasterBuzz ever held an event for its members only (with or without park participation)?

Last edited by Dale K, Monday, May 6, 2019 8:04 PM
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Tuesday, May 7, 2019 7:51 AM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

Ken P said:

From The student debt crisis isn't what you think it is

Here's the most alarming stat in that article to me:

"These days, fewer than 60 percent of students who enroll in a four-year college or university earn a bachelor’s degree in six years; completion rates at two-year colleges are less than 30 percent."

Holy sweet Jesus.

College is not for everyone indeed. This is the best argument against "free college" ever.


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Tuesday, May 7, 2019 8:27 AM
Dale K's avatar

Promising free stuff = votes. Stats and articles dont matter because some people truly believe that politians care about them. Sad.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019 8:59 AM
Jeff's avatar

I'm not that disenfranchised. Politicians aren't selling free college for votes, they're selling it because they think it solves a problem they haven't even defined.


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

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Tuesday, May 7, 2019 2:12 PM

I am not in favor of free college for all. But in terms of the graduation rates, one big problem for many students is money. They enter school on the edge in terms of having the necessary funds. Parent funds dry up for any of a number of reasons. Scholarships are lost because required GPA isn't met (i have seen several scholarships that require 3.0 or 3.5 GPAs). Job needed to pay tuition is lost or hours cut. Kids have to determine whether to reduce job hours to allow time to study or reduce the number of credit hours taken to allow enough time to work to make money to pay tuition. Or a combination of any or all of them. Again doesn't mean everyone should be in college but additional funding would be helpful in certain situations.

And ultimately if the idea is that college costs too much and the costs are rising too quickly, efforts should be made to address root causes of that rather than providing further subsidies which only serve to put further upward pressure on prices. And educate people on the ramifications of various degree/program choices. Great if you want to major in something that adds zero marketability in terms of jobs. But you should know that going in rather than being disillusioned upon graduation with debt but no job.

Politicians are much better at promising solutions than they are at delivering them. On the wealth gap, the trend has continued largely unabated for the past 4-5 decades. Hasn't mattered which team's clowns controlled which end (or both) of Pennsylvania Avenue.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019 10:22 AM
Jeff's avatar

Her latest comments:

https://news.yahoo.com/i-was-so-livid-disney-heiress-visits-theme-park-undercover-to-see-worker-conditions-093000722.html

“Bob needs to understand he's an employee, just the same as the people scrubbing gum off the sidewalk are employees,” Disney said during an interview with the Yahoo News show “Through Her Eyes.” “And they're entitled to all the same dignity and human rights that he is.”

Not even sure how to unpack this. Are "gum scrapers" not dignified or denied human rights? Line workers are not "just the same" as the CEO. The magnitude in difference for what they're responsible for is staggering. Crappy jobs may have crappy pay, but that doesn't mean that those people are mistreated. A CEO making a lot of money does not come at the expense of line workers. When will people understand this?


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

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019 12:20 PM
Tekwardo's avatar

You know, her $120million and counting would do a lot to get rid of poverty for a lot of people...


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Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Tuesday, July 16, 2019 12:45 PM
Lord Gonchar's avatar

From the article:

"Iger’s paycheck last year was more than 1,000 times what the median Disney employee made in 2018..."

So...

Iger's total compensation is $65,645,214

If we do the division we get, $65,645.21

Median means the middle number. Half of the incomes would be above and half below.

Half the people working for Disney make more than $65k.

That's an interesting fact.


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Tuesday, July 16, 2019 2:31 PM

Caveat: "more than 1,000 times" Is that 1,001? 2,000? Probably neither of those, but also probably somewhere in between.


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