When CEOs make record amounts while their employees are on public assistance the problem is obvious.

CEO CompensationU.S. companies have shed any hint of ethics and embraced unbridled greed since 1982 exploding the gap between their workers and their CEO’s compensation. By pouring millions if not billions of dollars into keeping the minimum wage as minimum as possible they’ve kept their profits high, their costs low and transferred their ethical responsibilities to tax payers.

Birth of Minimum Wage

President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a minimum wage during the Depression to help stimulate the economy in 1937. Opponents warned that enacting a minimum wage would destroy employees’ drive to work hard and would force many firms out of business. Business owners claimed unemployment would jump drastically and the quality of life would decrease. Roosevelt and most of Congress ignored them and adopted the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, establishing the federal minimum wage of 25 cents an hour. Employment rates and quality of life rose.

In the last 30 years Congress has only raised the minimum wage 3 times. Just 3! How could this be? Lobbyists and the threat of withheld donations to political campaigns secured congressional votes necessary to defeat any attempt to raise the minimum wage.

CEO compensationCEO Compensation to Worker Compensation Gap Exploded

In 1982 CEOs made an average of 42 times more than their employees by 2012 CEO’s made an average of 354 times more than their employees. So it’s clear money was shifted from workers to skyrocketing compensation for CEOs. This shift forced many full time workers into poverty and onto public assistance provided by tax payers.

We shouldn’t even need a minimum wage. If an employee is willing to devote the majority of their waking hours to making money for a company the least a company can do is provide a living wage. In a perfect world employees simply wouldn’t work for the lowest paying companies. But when greed keeps all of the companies clinging to the minimum wage for maximum profits they’re all low paying jobs.

The Only Solution

Relying on companies to regain some ethics is a ludicrous idea. The only way to correct the situation is to step in and raise the minimum wage to a livable wage. At first companies will complain, raise prices or try to raise prices, try to work with fewer employees, anything they can think of, but eventually they will simply be forced to return to a smaller compensation gap and pay CEOs less. Much less.

Workers making a livable wage are able to buy products. Buying more products creates more livable wage jobs which creates more employees purchasing products. It’s time to take back the U.S. from Capitalists Gone Wild and return some (forced) ethics to the business world before it’s too late.