What is realistic pay?
Our model of high pay for ministers was given an airing in an American TV channel, the Chicago Tonight, hosted by Phil Ponce and guest Lee Hsien Loong. The merits of our case against the demerits of the American case were discussed and defended. One example quoted was the American judges presiding in their courts and listening to young lawyers who were paid many times more than the honourable and distinguished gentlemen sitting at the top bench. Kind of funny really. How could the judges sit there listening to young boys telling them about the case and knowing that these young boys are being paid so much more than them, and could buy them dinner on every outing? What would be going on in the minds of the judges other than the cases being read? The conventional wisdom here will say that the judges were grossly underpaid and needed to be realistically rewarded for the responsibility they were holding. Or are the young lawyers being grossly overpaid while the judges are being paid reasonably? Which is which will depend on who and how people look at the issue. Look at the numbers again. A CEO being paid $10m pa versus workers being paid $20k pa is equivalent to one man doing 500 men's job. That is how productive or valuable the CEO is to the organisation. He carries the weight of 500 men's wage bill. Does he really do the job of 500 men? Oh, big responsibility. His decision, just saying yes or no, could mean millions and billions being made or lost, and hundreds of thousands of people's lives being affected. This is what they are being paid for. Responsibility. Could the little worker's responsibility be in that scale? A terrorist, with little skill or professional qualification and training, could unleash a vial of deadly chemical or biological material that could do untold damages to untold number of people. The impact of his action surely must be greater than a $10m CEO and should rightly command such a pay. And the little soldier or custom officer manning the checking counter must be shouldering the same kind of responsibility and deserve more than what he is being paid currently. So is the security guard to a high value vault or premise. It reminds me of one very highly paid security guard. The cook in a top notch restaurant where all the big shots eat better be paid more than the big shots as their lives depended on him not poisoning them. His responsibility is enormous. So are bodyguards to Presidents and Prime Ministers. So are all the arseholes. So what is realistic pay? According to what and who?