Monday, May 03, 2010

Exactly who ‘makes enough money’ in Obama’s eyes?
“I do think,” you may have heard President Barack Obama say about a group of Americans last week, “at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”

And if you hadn’t heard it before now, you may be wondering who he was talking about.

Perhaps he was speaking to Hollywood — producer/directors such as George Lucas or Steven Spielberg, who were paid $170 million and $150 million, respectively, according to Forbes magazine’s 2009 list. Less generous, but still better than I and probably you, were Jerry Bruckheimer at $100 million and Atlanta’s Tyler Perry at $75 million. Or actors such as Harrison Ford ($65 million) or Adam Sandler ($55 million).

Then again, he might have been talking to America’s television stars. Dr. Phil (McGraw) pulled down $80 million, Forbes reports. Simon Cowell of “American Idol” was close behind at $75 million. And there’s Oprah, our highest-paid celebrity, at $275 million....

...Now, if you think it would have been odd for President Obama to scold celebrities in this way, you’re right. He was talking instead about businessmen – specifically, those who work in finance. Want to guess how many chief executives of financial companies in 2009, according to Forbes, earned as much as the 20 celebs I’ve listed here?

How about none?

In fact, the $2.4 billion in total earnings of the 100 highest-paid CEOs, regardless of industry, barely beat out the $2.1 billion of the twenty-five best-compensated celebs (living ones, that is). Just seven of those 100 CEOs worked in the financial industry...