Right on the Nose: Hendrik Hertzberg on Wages vs. Salary vs. Compensation

Hertzberg poses the right question in The New Yorker*:

…why is that a manual worker gets paid wages and a middle manager or cop or teacher earns a salary, but a corporate boss condescends to accept “compensation”?

Compensation. I have to say, I get a little dizzy with disgust whenever I hear that word used to describe some C.E.O.’s pay envelope. “Compensation package” is even worse. What, exactly, are these people being “compensated” for? Are they victims of crime? Or is it the long hours, the loneliness, the inability to spend time with their children—so much more terrible than the plight of a middle-aged immigrant mother working double shifts as an office cleaner? Or the fear of having their company go on public assistance, in which case, thanks to Obama, their welfare payment will be slashed to less than $10,000 a week? Or the fear of getting laid off with nothing but a golden parachute to put food on the table and lifetime use of the private jet to get around on?

The poor dears.

*pointed out by a friend

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