Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Doesn't anybody fact-check Obama's claims?

Apparently not, from what I just heard.

Let's just do a single "fact". How much do CEOs make? Well first, this web site claims the average CEO makes 15 million in total compensation a year. The entire group of CEOs at the fortune 500 companies made about 5 billion, which is about 10 million a year average.

The top 3 CEOs, and their compensation, are given in this table:

$230 Million: Terry S Semel Yahoo
$156 Million: Barry Diller IAC/InterActiveCorp
$124 Million: William W McGuire UnitedHealth Group
$92 Million: Howard Solomon Forest Labs

OK, with that in mind, let's look at THIS statement from Obama's speech:

“When we have CEOs making more in 10 minutes than most people make in a year”
(I wrote that down as he said it, don't have a transcript yet).

OK, lets take Terry. $230 million a year. There are 525,600 minutes in a year. So in 10 minutes, Terry makes $4370.

How many people do you know who make 4370 dollars in a year? Is that what the average person makes?

Maybe Obama meant 10 minutes of a working day. And maybe he believes a CEO works an 8-hour day, and a 5-day week. There are 125,142 working minutes in such a year. So in 10 of THOSE minutes, Terry makes $18,370. That's less than the poverty level.

So we can see that even the highest compensated CEO in the country doesn't make in 10 minutes what the average american makes in a year.

To contrast, John Edwards gave about an hour speech at U.C. Davis, and was paid $55,000 -- which is about $10,000 for 10 minutes.

Or maybe this is a better contrast. Obama has tha backing of Oprah Winfrey, and has had her with him on stage, getting her endorsement and by inference endorsing her. And what does SHE make? Well, according to Forbes, in 2005, she made $225 million dollars. That's a mere 5 million less than the top-paid CEO in 2007.

So, is Oprah one of those people that Obama thinks should have her salary cut? Did he mention it to her when she was on stage with him?

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