Clear Fog Blog

Political musings from Warren E. Peterson

Felix & Howard Get Paid

Posted by Warren Peterson on February 15, 2013

“One happy King.” So reads the St. Valentine’s Day headline in a Seattle Times’ sports page article on Felix Hernandez’s new seven-year $175 million contract. Twenty-five million per year for pitching in maybe 40 games a season before a million plus fans, being the lynch pin of Mariner success and boosting Seattle’s bragging rights. Not bad compensation in any occupation except perhaps CEO of a corporation. Compare the reaction to Felix’s paycheck to that of Starbuck’s CEO, Howard Schultz’s $16 million per year (plus about $52 million of other at risk compensation, like stock options). Howard is on the job 24/7. He’s responsible for managing worldwide over 18,000 stores and over 150,000 employees as well as increasing the value of Starbuck’s stock held by millions of people personally or in retirement accounts and ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty from more millions of coffee aficionados.

One is a greedy rich guy who “didn’t do a damn thing” to earn his pay while the other “restored faith” and teared up at his good fortune.

Read the “comments” on one blog to get a sense of the reaction to Mr. Schultz’s compensation: Click HERE

For Mr. Hernandez, read Seattle Times sports writer, Jerry Brewer:’s article: Click HERE

While I don’t think the super rich need my sympathy, I do wonder if sports and other entertainment stars get a pass on criticism of their high incomes because they require constant media exposure to stay on top; Entertainment Weekly, MTV, People Magazine, Sports Illustrated to name a few. We know far more about their glamours lives than any boring corporate manager. Corporate CEOs mainly hit the news if they are being pilloried for bad decisions or the money they make. Is it jealously or failure to understand the market for talent? Would you rather have the market or some government agency set the compensation packages? Careful liberals how you answer this, Schultz is one of you.

One Response to “Felix & Howard Get Paid”

  1. Fred said

    First things first: The Washington Nationals will win the World Series this year. If you get into town, let’s go see them play.

    CEOs of large corporations like Starbucks have huge responsibility and deserve to be well compensated if they do a good job. The definition of good job is for another discussion. The criticism from (not only) us liberals is that their compensation is totally out of whack with their average workers, and for the most part this is a US phenomenon. Last year the ratio of US CEO pay to average worker pay was 475:1. The ratio in Germany, Great Britain, Canada and most all other western nations is less than 25:1.

    And we all know that the average worker’s salary, in constant dollars, in the last 10 years has actually decreased, while CEO pay in the same period has increased 125 times that of their average employees. Gigantic problems here. The middle class in the US continues to slide backwards, accounting for the ever-weakening growth of our GDP. With Wall St.hedge and mutual funds owning most of the common stock, employees have become cannon fodder in favor of ever-rising stock prices which make the 1% richer each day!

    I’m personally angry that Obama only asked for a $9.00 minimum wage when it will take $10.25 to get them above the poverty level and to simply match the minimum wage in 1968. CEO pay is definitely too high so long as average employee salaries remain so immorally low. Felix and the other rich celebrities are not in this fight.

    Am I the only liberal who reads your blog, Mr. Peterson?

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