Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Pyramid of Pay

The problem with wages in America
I have gotten into a number of conversations in the last two years about the imbalance in compensation for certain jobs, and ridiculous abundance of compensation for other jobs (like CEOs and professional sports). CEOs and Professional athletes are grossly overpaid in America.

Often times, when discussing who should be paid more or less, people ask to see my idea of the perfect pay pyramid. Therefore, here it is:

Tier One- Teachers
As you can see teachers and education must come first. The reason teachers need to be the top of the scale, teachers need to be paid the most money, is because education is an investment in our future. If the greatest, most talented minds, in our culture are teaching our next generation, the world will grow at an incredible rate. Simply by making wages for teachers across the board, early childhood- to college professors, 100 times the current rate will solve the problem (yes- they are THAT underpaid). We may need to take incremental steps in this direction, in order to phase in a better system. We would also need to make sure jobs are competitive and therefore get rid of any current regulations that allow for teachers to stay regardless of performance.

Second Tier- Doctors and Scientists need more money

For scientists, we need to create an extremely competitive field, we need to award those who continue to run the best tests, and we need penalties and blacklisting for those that fabricate research or give weighted information; a strict system of high pay for high quality science will create good solid development in all fields.

For Doctors we need to continue high pay. Performance is also crucial here, and by adhering to tier one, the best doctors in the medical field would upgrade to teach all the other teachers, and quickly we will have the most talented group of great doctor, who are earning what they are worth. Which is a lot.

Tier Three- inventors/farmers/media/military
Accountability in all four fields is the most important. Inventors need to be safe with their new creations. Farmers need to be honest about what they are using to grow their food and keep it free from chemicals. The media needs to avoid corruption and tell us what we NEED to know, not what we WANT to know, and steer clear of making any decisions based on what corporations/individuals or the government wants us to know (this should immediately and severely discredit any news source). The military needs to be accountable for bad decisions and mistakes, some which are inevitable, however bad leadership breeds bad decisions and it is quite clear when a bad leader is in place (those bad leaders need to be fired and in many cases prosecuted).

Tier Four-Artists/Politicians/Lawyers/Actors/Musicians/Laborers/Writers/Sports Players
All of these Tier Four professions are important. Not nearly as important as the jobs in the above tiers, and therefore need to have a capped wage. The best sports player and the best artist would need to become teachers to really make more money, pass on their knowledge. I also think all of these professions in tier four have the abilities to work in other fields or inspire work in other professions and therefore would get bonuses for advancing other fields of work.

All Other Professions
Most other professions fall under one of the above groups in some way, and should be paid accordingly. A few professions that would fall below this line include fast food professions, waiters/waitresses, bus boys- basically all the jobs kids get as first jobs which should be minimum wage affairs that serve as a jumping point for a more serious important career.

I would love to have open dialog about wages in America. I would love to hear what changes to my pyramid you would make. I obviously do not have any figures to supplement my chart, but you can get a pretty good idea of how I think things should change. Do you think certain jobs should be paid more? Less? Or have I missed an important job completely?

I want to hear from you.


williamhessian said...

I got a good email response to this post, yelling at me for not putting skilled laborers on my list.

SKILLED LABORERs as the writer boasts, keeps us warm at night, keeps our cars working, keeps our power on, etc etc. I agree with this email.

SKILLED LABORers would need to own a spot on tier three. Keep the comments coming.

williamhessian said...

thanks to everyone who is emailing comments to me. keep them coming.

Alicia Billings said...

Only good teachers should be allowed to teach, and it would make sense if starting pay were at least 100k for those in public schools. You know how the best teachers, even on the most modest salaries, often spend their own money on their students in one way or another. They deserve much better than what we're giving them right now. And the kids would benefit the most.

I like the way you think, and it's always great reading about your ideas.