The whole community must still be sleeping. Its been 90 minutes since you've laid down this potentially hot gauntlet. Let me stir the pot by taking the devil's side.
First, assuming a reasonably low salary of $25K for a production worker, his/her CEO would have to make $10M to have a 400-to-1 ratio. I'm certain that at some place this actually has happened (considering a total CEO compensation package of salary, benefits, deferred income, and stock options, etc.), but its not the norm. Nevertheless, CEOs of our largest firms do receive, and usually earn, very high tangible rewards. If you drive a big ship, you rate to big comp. If movie stars, NFL quarterbacks, and NBL centers can make millions, so too should the leaders of our large multi-national corporations. These CEOs, like many of us Mudcatters, started as fresh-faced and eager recent graduates, primed to make the world a better place. Because of their skill, dedication, unique leadership abilities, they successfully climbed the ladder within their profession. I'm convinced that they could have become great folk musicians (is there such a thing?) if that had been their goal. These are people who would stand out in any organization.
Now, with respect to CEO's high compensation getting in the way of the Arts, I believe it is quite the opposite. Look on the program or newsletter of any arts organization, including NPR. It is the Corporations and their leaders who make the largest gifts and sponsor many of the truly great programs. Could they contribute more? Of course, but so could you and I.
What truly stands in the way of the Arts, is the shameful way in which our elected leaders have made this a political football. One political camp says art (as characterized by the recent, allegedly obscene, show in NYC)is the domain of the rich, left wing, elites who mainly reside East of the Hudson. And if these pinkos want art, they can pay for it! The other camp appears to cater to the Arts, but generally wants to control it from the great omnipotent Washington bureaucracy.
Bye the way, I have no dog in this race. I have a modest job with a state university engineering outreach program. I work very closely with CEOs of small (less than 200 employees), rural, manufacturing companies. Many of these CEOs make far less that some of their employees, work 20 hours a day, and face a never ending onslaught of regulations and road blocks from state and federal government. Nevertheless, they provide the parts and components that make our large corporations competitive in the global market, and more importantly, they provide the jobs and opportunities for our otherwise neglected rural population.
What's left for you and I? Because of our love of the Arts, we must continue to learn, perform, and be missionaries, not only for our folk music artistic segement, but also for Art as a whole. Art, of all types, is one of the life bloods of civilized culture.
Wow! I'm not usually so long-winded. I guess you hit a hot button. Ya' know, this sounds like a pretty good campaign speech. Maybe I should.......
Love, and Happy chords