Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Christmas Bonus Buzz

Today I get to hand out Christmas bonuses to our Breakthrough staff. We will all be elated and grateful to the Breakthrough board members who every year pony up cash from their own pockets as a gift of heartfelt appreciation for the hard work and dedication of our 49 staff members who love on our city's most vulnerable populations day after day.

I've been hearing the buzz this week about outlandish Christmas bonuses being handed out on Wall Street. The New York Post reported that Goldman Sachs' bonuses average $622,000 per employee. The most senior partners can expect $10m to $20m in their Christmas stocking. Some top traders are expecting $60m.

Our staff are just as smart and talented as these financial salesmen, but they do what they do out of a sense of mission and love for God and people. Our reward? Seeing lives transfromed by God's power. As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, my prayer is that those of us who stand in that gap will always understand that our reward is not on this earth, and that those who are blessed with such wealth will learn the joy of giving.


Westy said...

As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

I would note that while the first part of this statement is true, I do not think the second is. Especially in this country, the poor are gaining. And, in fact, when first generation immigrants are factored out (who are almost entirely poor), the poor are making quite substantial gains.

Arloa Sutter said...

Interesting Ryan. Where are you getting that information?

Westy said...

I am taking it from a book called "The Progress Paradox" by Gregg Easterbrook, who cites research showing that, "Among median incomes are currently rising twice as fast as family median income for the United States as a whole."

He goes on to show via many more statistics that "typical Americans have become steadily better-off [than their parents]."

It seems that while the numbers of those in poverty have not always declined, the rate of those in poverty has.

Arloa Sutter said...

I'll have to get that book. It is encouraging to know we are making progress. I guess I was thinking more in relative terms.

I blogged a year ago that CEO pay in the U.S. is now 400+ times that of the average company employee, up from a meager 40X as recently as 1980. CEO salaries and bonuses surged 15% in a year when salaries for rank-and-file workers averaged 3.2% gains.

When it comes to eliminating extreme global poverty we also seem to be making some progress, although I think the measure for poverty in China and India is something like an income of less than $2/day. I don't think that measure gets raised by 15% every year either.

We have the means to ensure safe drinking water, health care, food and shelter for the poorest of the world. In my opinion, there is no way we should become complacent in thinking that our present strategies are doing enough when half of the world's population lives on less than two dollars a day.

Westy said...

Yeah, I would definitely recommend the book. It encourages us to look at the positives we've gained rather than focusing on new negatives. (the picture on the cover is of a glass half full) It grants a fresh perspective.

And I agree, we need to continue to do even more to continue to accelerate the progress being made.