With all the recent animosity against CEOs making multimillion dollar sala- ries, you would think that CEOs are all outrageously over- paid. I think this is because most people don’t know what a CEO does, or realize that being a CEO takes special tal- ents which only a few people possess. If everyone could do the job, there wouldn’t be such a high premium paid for the skills involved.
When it’s professional sports or entertainment, people rarely question multimillion dollar salaries and bonuses. (Perhaps that’s because in a sense, we’re all failed baseball players and movie stars, and we recognize the precious- ness of those talents.) Are there some CEOs that don’t deserve their salaries? Perhaps. But I never found Conan O’Brien terribly funny, and he just walked away from NBC with a $41 million golden parachute after sinking the Tonight Show into the ratings coal mine.
CEOs are anonymous. Rather than being the center of attention in a motion picture or the guy who drove in the winning run, they are the geniuses behind a delicious hamburger, a sleek automobile, or a profitable investment portfolio. Conveniences like drive-through ATMs and washing machines are such a quiet portion of our every- day lives that we never take the time to consider how they got here.
Meanwhile, the CEOs, the stars of our modern American life, never get the applause they truly deserve. The least we can do is let them enjoy their compensation in peace.