Some people are skeptical of public opinion polls. This will be Exhibit A at their next cocktail party.
Gallup has a new survey out this week claiming that 55 percent of American workers say they are paid too much or just about the right amount of money. Seriously. This is not Fake News.
Don’t know about you, but that sounds a little fishy to me. In all my 38 years I have never known anyone to say they were paid too much. Full disclosure: Self included, though I rarely dared to complain.
Obviously, some people are indeed paid too much. I love James Bond movies. But Daniel Craig’s $25 million paycheck for the next one seems a little out of whack.
Or let’s say Aaron Rodgers’ new four-year contract with Green Bay that came out Wednesday. He is very good. No doubt. And because he’s not Tom Brady, we don’t have to resent him.
But $2.1 million per regular season game?
Unlikely any of those guys will say they’re paid too much, like five percent of those in the new Gallup poll. “You know, I do good work, boss, but I’m thinking you should trim my take-home some.”
Fully 50 percent of the survey’s 533 employed adults said their paychecks were like Goldilocks’ third porridge, just about right. Fifty percent? As in one-half?
Right now, you’re probably saying, well, what percent think they are not paid enough?
The answer, according to Gallup, is 43 percent. Oh, look! That’s about the same proportion of Americans who approve of the job of Donald Trump, who’s paid $400K a year. But he gives it all away.
Exactly 10 years ago this month, when John McCain selected Gov. Sarah Palin as his vice presidential running mate, 51 percent said they were not paid enough, 49 percent said their paycheck was just about right and only three percent thought they made too much. (Still can’t get over that.)
In fact, wages have grown slowly in recent years, two maybe three percent a year. Even now with unemployment still below four percent, pay has not increased as you might expect in a tightening labor market.
Reasons include the increasing costs of employee benefits such as the healthcare plan and doctor you could keep if you like them. Those expenses drain funds that could go toward raises. Plus, the supply of available workers does not match the skills the new jobs need.
But the good news is eight years ago this month, just before Barack Obama and his party got shellacked in his first midterm elections, only 10 percentof Americans thought it was a good time to find a quality job.
Today, fully 65 percent do. Who should we blame for that?