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This week in defending the "Kristallnatch" remarks of investment banker Tom Perkins, billionaire Sam Zell argued that the 1% are simply more deserving because "They Just Work Harder."


The billionaire chairman of Equity Group Investments backed up fellow rich guy Tom Perkins, who set off a firestorm when he recently compared the "progressive war on the 1 percent" to Nazi anti-Semitism in a letter to the Wall Street Journal. (He later apologized for using the word "Kristallnacht" but defended the overall "message.")

"I guess my feeling is that he’s right," Zell said when asked by Bloomberg's Betty Liu how he felt about Perkins' stance. "The 1 percent are being pummeled because it’s politically convenient to do so."

Zell then said the problem is that all non-rich are just jealous that they don't have the same work ethic that the country's wealthiest do.

"The problem is that the world and this country should not talk about envy of the 1 percent. It should talk about emulating the 1 percent," he said. "The 1 percent work harder. The 1 percent are much bigger factors in all forms of our society."

Suppose there were a way to test this theory?  Suppose we had the opportunity to see exactly how well the 1 Percenters do when confronted with the level of work day-to-day that the non-rich have to deal with?  Perhaps we could put the experience on Camera, and broadcast it to the world in Primetime?  Certainly, if Mr. Zell is correct, since the average member of the 1% earns approximately 1000 times what everyone else earns, we should be able to see that they are clearly are accustomed to working 1000 Times as Hard, so if they had to spend a day or a week doing what the "little people" do - it should be a Snap.  It should be a walk in the park. A Breeze.  They should be able to catch up on their sleep in the process.

Well, there is a show that does exactly what I'm suggesting and never, NEVER, has it shown anything like that.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

That show is CBS's "Undercover Boss" where the CEO or other high ranking leader of a business goes incognito into it's inter workings to get close with the "street level" of what is actually going on in their company, since apparently, Most Of Them Have NO DAMN CLUE!.

Not only does it not go as Mr. Zell ideas would suggest it should, in fact in more than a few times, the "CEO" has been FIRED for incompetence on his first day "on the Job" as this COO was violating for safety protocols operating an electric pallet jack.

Or you have situations like this one were the actual undercover boss, can't seem to take instructions from the coach he's been assigned to for the day.

Or they discover just how overworked and understaffed their employees actually are.

Here one of the workers on the show gives her assessment of the Buffet's Inc CEO performance (He was overwhelmed and couldn't handle the phone, orders and register).

Or here Family Dollar employee Lacy explains this must be (Undercover CEO) Mark's "First Time in a Retail store" because he doesn't understand the amount of physical work it requires.

And here where the CEO of Donatos Pizza talk about just how hard and difficult doing the job actually is.

And here as the CEO of Menchies Yogurt gets schooled by a young shift lead on what it takes to keep up in this fast paced job, while keeping a positive attitude and smile on your face - then he's actually touched when he hears he has a young daughter and his own aspirations.  Also, the pay isn't that great.

Absolutely there are some employees who are grouchy, rude to customers, lazy and unethical and a few of those persons have been fired right on the show, but the vast majority of employees the CEO's have encountered are Ridiculously Hard Working, energetic, ambitious and driven while dealing with difficult conditions, hard life situations sometimes failing health to the point of out-an-out heartbreak.

Usually at the end of the show two or three outstanding employees are rewarded, often with a grant for school and a cash reward of $50,000. However those few individuals are in all likelihood not the exception.

Even if you chalk up what is shown on Undercover Boss as either anecdotal, somewhat staged or scripted this chart shows the growing gap between worker productivity and worker compensation over the last 40 years.

And matching that chart is this one which shows that while productivity has increased and pay stagnated for most Americans, the pay of the 1% has skyrocketed (remaining in pace with productivity coincidentally).
It's simply not the case that the 1% have suddenly started working 200 Times harder than everyone else.  It's far more likely and logical that the brow sweat and toil from the average worker is increasingly filling the pockets of the rich, rather than it enriching their own lives.

This isn't "Envy" these are facts.

The reality is that the Most Hard Working People in America are actually those earning the least, with the longest hours, and the weakest benefits - maybe instead of simply picking out a few here and there to reward, various CEO's should take a cue from companies like In-N-Out Burger or Costco who pay their employees far more than their competitors because they know they deserve it rather than make excuses while trying to ring out every once of profit by keeping wages and benefits at the very rock bottom as we've seen from WalMart and more recently AOL.

Maybe these workers deserve a little larger slice of the pie that they themselves have been baking and it's not about "jealous" it's about Equity.

As a matter of fact most Investment people like Perkins, Zell or even Mitt Romney don't actually do any real "work" at all, because their Money Does their Work For Them in the form of gaining interest and paying dividends.  At these CEO's actually have a job that requires them to do something, sometimes.


Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Vyan on Wed Feb 12, 2014 at 05:33 PM PST.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges and ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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